Featured post

An Old Sarangi from Rawalpindi

Thanks to my friend Ali Zafar, the old sarangi from Rawalpindi has been fully restored with skin, strings and missing pegs in Lahore. Lovely sound!

Click images for larger view. Photos by Taimur Khan

Sarangi nut

I increased the gut-string height by raising the nut with two PVC card strips.

Sarangi bridge

Adjusted the bass string height with a piece of PVC card.

Sarangi refurbished

Here she is – my birthday sarangi. :)

Featured post

Poland–Pakistan: Sounds from two continents

Left to right: Muhammad Ajmal (tabla), Taimur Khan (sarangi), Muhammad Azam (vocals), Marta Sołek (suka), Maria Pomianowska (suka)

Left to right: Muhammad Ajmal (tabla), Taimur Khan (sarangi), Muhammad Azam (vocals), Marta Sołek (suka), Maria Pomianowska (suka) | Photo credit: Omer K.’s Photography

Update – 11 March 2013: Full music CD “Poland-Pakistan: Sounds from two Continents” is available for free download.

I would like to share two tracks from our pleasant collaboration with two Polish musicians/friends in November 2012. It was a great experience in very limited time: less than five days for rehearsals, concerts, recordings. The following titles can be right-clicked and saved.

Happy New Year!

Sarangi–Suka Duet – improvisation in D minor & D harmonic minor

Lipa – Polish folk song

Maria Pomianowska: suka and vocals
Marta Sołek: bass/cello
Taimur Khan: sarangi
Muhammad Azam: vocals
Muhammad Ajmal: tabla
James Stephens: recording and production
Umair Jaffar: all arrangements in collaboration with the Polish Embassy, Islamabad.

Featured post

Sama & Other Poems

Wazir Khan Mosque, January 2009. Photo by Taimur Khan

Starting today, I will share a poem on this blog every Friday, 12:00 pm PKT for the next nine months or so, from a set I wrote in recent years.

These future posts and other poems can be accessed under the “Poetry” label in the header menu. I hope you will revisit, and enjoy reading some of them too.

This summer air…

This summer air is not a state of matter. It is the space
beside knowledge of fractals and scales that music
makes its own. There are likenesses and likelihoods asleep

in the small patches of flowers on the wayside, and the wayside
is a doorway to the dispossession of noon. The crackle and
smoke of hermel seeds may not avert evil but in their antiquating

sound and smell, another world resides; a shadow of some
traveling self that often finds itself saying and hearing things
with the imprecision of words exiled to the latency of years.

If nothing in the world is new, we owe it to an abiding recollection
of what it is to love and be loved. If Plato was not right about
our memory of Forms, he was right about the form of our minds.

We could populate a page with flowers, birds and insects whose names
we know and that most resemble nature in its imperfections, like
a forest densely quivering by day with cicadas fed on the moon’s milky sap.

You must have seen how in quieter, calmer monumental spaces,
the drift of your hair, the warmth of your face, your palms
and eyes have often taken wing as little songs and settled in the groves.

I don’t encourage the illusion that your body is distinct from your voice
that I wear like a shroud of sleep, or that the pools of your eyes are
not harbors where the broadest thoughts could anchor and regard the sea.

Knowing red as red is not the same as remembering it as flowers,
and the certainty of childhood too is not enough. Tell me,
my muse, what you remember of time; of the sweet and sore eidolons

of memory and desire, so we may arrange them in a picture book,
on strings of verses which don’t rhyme or rave in measures.
They’ll be replete with rounds of reason, loosely hung as ribbons

over features of absences and returns of ambivalence,
taking shape along the frames and margins of the hottest days
melting into rain… inimitable like love, salubrious like you.

Taimur Khan


Rothko's Gravestone

Based on my own and my patients’ experiences, I now like to say that the story of loss has three “chapters.” Chapter 1 has to do with attachment: the strength of the bond with the person who has been lost. Understanding the relationship between degree of attachment and intensity of grief brings great relief for most patients. I often tell them that the size of their grief corresponds to the depth of their love.

Chapter 2 is the death event itself. This is often the moment when the person experiencing the loss begins to question his sanity, particularly when the death is premature and traumatic. Mary had prided herself on her ability to stay in control in difficult times. The profound emotional chaos of her baby’s death made her feel crazy. As soon as she was able, she resisted the craziness and shut down the natural pain and suffering.

Chapter 3 is the long road that begins after the last casserole dish is picked up — when the outside world stops grieving with you. Mary wanted to reassure her family, friends and herself that she was on the fast track to closure. This was exhausting. What she really needed was to let herself sink into her sadness, accept it.

“All sorrows can be borne if you put them in a story or tell a story about them,” said the writer Isak Dinesen. When loss is a story, there is no right or wrong way to grieve. There is no pressure to move on. There is no shame in intensity or duration. Sadness, regret, confusion, yearning and all the experiences of grief become part of the narrative of love for the one who died.

Getting Grief Right >>

sarangi turns ten

Brown Dipper by Ustad Mansur; Mughal era, c. 1620; metmuseum.org | Click image for larger view.

Brown Dipper by Ustad Mansur; Mughal era, c. 1620; metmuseum.org | Click image for larger view.


دامِ ہر موج میں ہے حلقۂ صد کامِ نہنگ
دیکھیں کیا گزرے ہے قطرے پہ گہر ہوتے تک

दाम-ए हर मौज में है हलक़ह-ए सद काम-ए निहनग
देखें कया गुज़रे है क़तरे पह गुहर होते तक

daam-e har mauj meN hai halqah-e sad kaam-e nihang
dekheN kyaa guzre hai qatre pah guhar hote tak

in the net/snare of every wave is a circle of a hundred crocodile-mouths
let’s see what happens to the drop, until [its] becoming a pearl

Here is a music collection compiled by Aftab Datta for sarangi.info‘s tenth birthday. We hope you like listening to it as much as we do.

“Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana”.

Afzal Khan – Kafi (Ghulam Farid)
Amir Khan -_Puriya (Live in Indore)
Arnab Chakraborty -_Kedar
Bade Ghulam Ali Khan – Todi (Radio Pakistan; Farhat Said Khan’s Collection)
Barin Majumder – Nat Bihag
Barkat Ali Khan – Dadra Khamaj (Dadra)
Bashir Khan -_Gujri Todi
Begum Akhtar – Kaushik Dhuni (Calcutta Music Circle 1974, Farhat Said Khan’s Collection
Bhimsen Joshi – Suha (Live)
Ejaz Husaain Hazarvi -_Khirad Mandon Se Kya Poochhon (Ghazal)
Faiyaz Khan – Bheem
Fayyaz Khan & Sharafat Hussain Khan – Darbari (Farhat Said Khan’s Collection)
Gajananrao Joshi_Basant (Violin)
Ghulam Shabbir & Jaffer Khan – Bairagi Todi
Gopal Mishra – Miyan ki Malhar
Govind Prasad Jaipurwale – Megh
Habib Ali – Bhairavi
Hafiz Ali Khan – Aimen
Hamid Hussain – Thumri
Hanif Khan – Shudh Sarang
Hirabai Barodekar – Multani
Ilyas Hussain Khan – Chandini Kedar
Imrat Khan & Vilayat Khan – Jog
Jagannathbuwa Purohit – Hindol
Khadim Hussain – Miyan Ki Malhar (Dhrupad)
Kumar Mukerjee – Miyan Ki Malhar (Farhat Said Khan’s Collection)
Latafat Hussain Khan – Lalit (Mehfil)
Majid Khan – Puriya Dhaneshree (Nazir Khan’s Collection)
Malabika Kanan – Gaud Sarang (Farhat Said Khan’s Collection)
Malini Rajurkar – Sohni (Tarana)
Mallikarjun Mansur – Shudh Sarang
Mehdi Hassan – Bihag (Chautaranag)
Moinuddin & Aminuddin Dagar – Lalit
Mukhtar Begum – Pilu (Thumri)
Mumtaz Sabzal -_Malkauns (Benjo)
Mushtaq Ali Khan – Bhopali
Natai Basu – Dhani
Nazakat Ali & Salamat Ali Khan – Hamir Kalyan
Nazakat Ali & Salamat Ali Khan – Bilaskhani Barwa
Nazakat Ali Khan – Lalit
Nazar Hussain – Jaijaivanti
Nirmal Guha Thakurata – Lalit
Nisar Hussain – Bhairavi (Tarana)
Pushparaj Koshti – Bageshree
Qadir Ali Faridi – Lankadhan Sarang
Rais Khan – Kaunsi Kanada (1968; Farhat Said Khan’s Collection)
Rasoolanbai – Piya Milan Hum Jayibo (Chaiti)
Ravi Kichlu & V.G. Jog – Barwa (Farhat Said Khan’s Collection)
Roshanara Begum – Shudh Sarang (78rpm)
Sadiq Ali Beenkar – Shankara
Saeen Ditta – Tilang
Safdar Hussain Khan – Khamaj (Thumri)
Ghulam Hassan Shaggan – Purvi (version 2.0)
Shahbaz Hussain – Teentaal (Lehra: Zohaib Hassan)
Shahida Parveen -_Nindiya Lagi (Thumri)
Sharafat Ali Khan – Shiraz
Sharafat Hussain Khan – Shudh Sarang
Wahid Hussain – Sarang
Yeshwant Rai Purohit – Malkauns (More Ghar Aailo Balama)


Parallel Telomere Quadruple

Skeptic’s Guide to Debunking Claims about Telomeres in the Scientific and Pseudoscientific Literature >>

  • Widely-accepted claims about telomeres predicting mortality are contradicted by some quality meta-analyses and large-scale population-based studies.
  • Predictions of future onset of chronic illnesses from telomere length have not been reproducible in meta-analyses and large-scale population-based studies.
  • Even when found, the associations in large scale, quality studies between telomere length and outcomes like disease onset and mortality are quite modest.
  • Associations claimed between exposure to stress and telomere length have not been reproducible in large scale studies.
  • Cross-sectional associations of telomere length are often not borne out in prospective longitudinal studies.
  • Telomere length is reliably associated with age, sex, and race. The association between telomere length and clinical variables is reduced or disappears when age is statistically controlled for in large scale studies. Older people have shorter telomeres than younger people, and males have shorter telomeres than females. This corresponds to life expectancy. But wait, whites have shorter telomeres than nonwhites. So, they die earlier? No, of course not, and this robust association needs to be ignored if anyone wants to claim consistency of findings about telomere length and aging.

Life as we know it >>

Lichtenbrg Figures

Lichtenberg Figures:  A. R. von Hippel, 1951 by Gyorgy Kepes (U.S.A., b. Hungary 1906-2001) Photographic enlargement on particleboard Lent by Department of Special Collections, Stanford University Libraries Click image for larger view.

Lichtenberg Figures: A. R. von Hippel, 1951 by Gyorgy Kepes (U.S.A., b. Hungary 1906-2001)
Photographic enlargement on particleboard
Lent by Department of Special Collections, Stanford University Libraries
Click image for larger view.

More at NYRB Classics

Georg Christoph Lichtenberg 1742-1799

“(Lion) fell in love in his tenth year with a boy named Schmidt (best pupil in the school), the son of a tailor, liked to hear him talked about and got all the boys to converse with him, never spoke to him himself but it gave him great pleasure to hear that the boy had spoken of him. Climbed up on a wall after school to see him go out of school. Now he still remembers his physiognomy very clearly, and he was far from handsome, a turned-up nose and red cheeks. But he was first in school. I should be sorry if by this free confession I should increase the world’s mistrust, but I was a human being and if happiness is ever to be attained in this world it must not be sought through concealment, not at all, nothing firm can come about in that way. Lasting happiness is to be found only in uprightness and sincerity…” From The Waste Books, translated by R. J. Hollingdale

“Lion” is one of the names Lichtenberg adopted when he wrote about himself in the third person, i.e. objectively.

Graphing The History of Ideas

Some people do really nice work sometime. Got these graphs from here and here. Visit the aforementioned pages for details and closeups, and click the following images to download larger views.

Influential Thinkers

Influential Thinkers

A History of Philosophy

A History of Philosophy

Also take a look at The History of Western Philosophy.