Monday, August 11, 2014

Silicon Valley Pakistanis Celebrate Eid with Fashion, Food and Music

It was food for the body and soul and feast for the eyes at a Silicon Valley Pakistani-American event called The Stage is All Yours. Dozens of Pakistanis took to the stage to show off their talents at this open mic function inspired by Waldo Emerson's quote: "Every artist was first an amateur". There were aspiring singers, musicians, poets, comedians, fashion designers and models, all brought together by the event organizer Dr. Yasmeen Haq on August 3, 2014.


There were traditional Eid deserts like firni, gulab jaman and other desi sweets to savor. The menu also included halwa puri, chaat, chicken tikka, biryani, nihari, paya and nan. It was a real feast reminding participants of the taste of Pakistan in Silicon Valley.

Fashion Show:

Dozens of beautiful Pakistani-American models took the runway to show off fashion designer Aateka Sultana's women dresses and accessories for about 40 minutes. It was accompanied by popular tunes from India and Pakistan adding to the experience. It was music to the ears and feast for the eyes of the attendees.


About a dozen karaoke singers, poets, comedians and speakers presented their favorite songs and other items to keep the attendees entertained throughout the event. Their choices varied from sufi music and poetry to popular Lollywood, Bollywood and Hollywood hits. Some of the popular Pakistani hits presented at the event were: Alif Allah, Allah hi Allah kia karo, Bina Mahi, Akele na jana, and Dama dam mast qalandar.


Riaz Haq talked about Urdu poets' fixation with alcohol as expressed in their work. He read out interesting lines from Akbar Ilahabadi, Mirza Ghalib, Allama Iqbal and Ahmad Faraz on alcohol, including both approving and disapproving expressions. Here are a few lines:

Akbar Ilahabadi: Hungama hai kiyon barpa thodi si jo pee lee hai/ Daka to nahin dala chori to nahi ki hai

Mirza Ghalib: Zahid sharab peene de masjid mein beth kar/Yah aisi jaga bata jahaan khuda nahin

Allama Iqbal: Masjid khuda ka ghar hai peene ki jaga nahin/ Kafir ke dil mein jahan wahan khuda nahin

Ahmad Faraz: Kafir ke dil se aya hoon yeh dekh kar/ Khuda majood hai wahan per use pata nahin

Video link for Riaz Haq's presentation:

Mobeen Khalil presented his poem on the current crises facing Pakistan. Here's a sample:

Ay meri qaum tujhay hua kia hai/ aakhir is behisi ki wajah kia hai

Tum to soyai aur zamir bhi soya/ Baqi ab sharm o haya kia hai

Kheltay kyon ho aghiar ke hathon mei/sonay chandi ka aisa bhi nasha kia hai

Mulk hai to hum hai aur pehchan bhi hai/ Phir yeh khoon kharabay ki wajah kia hai

Watan se door hum be watno sai poochho/ Yeh sabz hilali parcham ka saya kia hai

Poochhti hai yeh watan ki matti humsay/ Izzat e madar bhi koi bechta kia hai

Dha rahey kiyon apanay hi hathon apnay ghar ko/ Sochte reh jao gay paya kia tha khoya kia hay

Ay meri qaum tyjhay hua kia hai 

Video link for Mobeen Khalil's prsentation:

Haq Family


The Stage is All Yours is a unique platform helping Silicon Valley Pakistani-Americans groom their talents and stay connected with their culture and heritage.  It served this purpose well with the Eid celebration organized on August 3, 2014 in Silicon Valley.

Here are a few video clips of the event:

Riaz Haq on Akbar Ghalib Iqbal and Faraz by riaz-haq

Fashion Show by Aateka at The Stage is All Yours by riaz-haq

Sara Shaikh Singing A Thousand Miles by riaz-haq

Dr. Naureen Khan Singing Allah Hi Allah at The... by riaz-haq

Amber Haq Dixon Singing Alif Allah at The Stage... by riaz-haq
Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Tweet and Pray for Gaza on Eid

Silicon Valley Pakistani-Americans Enable 2nd Machine Age

Pakistani Diaspora World's 7th Largest

Pakistani-American Population Second Fastest Growing Among Asian-Americans

Organization of Pakistani-American Entrepreneurs

Karachi-born Triple Oscar Winning Graphics Artist

Pakistani-American Ashar Aziz's Fire-eye Goes Public

Two Pakistani-American Silicon Valley Techs Among Top 5 VC Deals

Pakistani-American's Game-Changing Vision 

Minorities Are Majority in Silicon Valley 

US Promoting Venture Capital & Private Equity in Pakistan

Pakistani-American Population Growth Second Fastest Among Asian-Americans

Edible Arrangements: Pakistani-American's Success Story

Riaz Haq's Dailymotion Channel

Riaz Haq's Youtube Channel 


Khalid B. said...

The Muslim Eid is a celebration of the completion of the training in Taqwa offered by Ramadan: Worship, patience, chastity, self discipline, and staying away from lusts and desires.

What goes on today in the Muslim world in the name of Eid celebrations is a total negation of these. If we took the medicine prescribed by Allah during Ramadan then we vomit it all out on the Eid day.

What makes it worse is that this vomiting out makes us feel good and proud.

What makes this year's Eid celebrations of this nature even worse is that they took place even as our brothers and sisters and children and elders were the target of such crimes in Gaza and elsewhere that even non-Muslims broke down narrating them.

Yet we the Muslims, who are supposed to be like one body ("If any part of the body suffers the entire body feels the pain," goes a famous but mostly ignored hadith), behaved as nothing had happened. It is callousness and insensitivity to the nth degree. The hadith said, "Whoever is not concerned about the affairs of this ummah is not one of them."

Who cares about Gaza? Who cares about Burma? Who cares about Syria? Iraq? Afghanistan? Pakistan?

We have an ear for music. So we are deaf to the cries of the babies and the women who are being persecuted.

Let us have fun.

And if anyone points out any wrong with what we are doing, the ferocity of our response will show that our love for fun knows no bounds.

Rashid Y. said...

In the good old days of 1971 - when there was no internet - everything was fine.
We did not even know what was going on a thousand miles away.
What happened to the callousness and insensitivity in those days?
Is it not hypocrisy to talk of callousness and insensitivity in 2014?

The only difference is the internet. Now we know in a fraction of a second.

Suddenly - just because we have knowledge - it is callous and insensitive to live our lives normally???

Despite his other flaws, Tariq Alamgir does not allow us to forget how callous and insensitive we can really be. Just a thousand miles away!!!

1971 was my year of shame. All of that was happening in my name - but I was living my life normally. I got my degree. I got a job. I got admission abroad etc. etc.

My callousness and insensitivity has become deeper than the deepest ocean and taller than the tallest mountain in my 60s. It was just a puddle in 1971. Just a small molehill.

Riaz Haq said...

Rashid: " Is it not hypocrisy to talk of callousness and insensitivity in 2014?"

Your question "Is it not hypocrisy to talk of callousness and insensitivity in 2014?" is spot on.

I'd also add the following question: Is it not intellectually dishonest to object to music and fashion because of Gaza when in fact they believe it is haram under all circumstances?

Khalid B. said...

The question of intellectual dishonesty is caused by an inability to understand the significance of time and space and an urge to blame the person who points out our wrongs.

A bad act becomes worse if performed at a special place (say a masjid) or at a special time (say during Ramadan or hajj). This is elementary stuff.

Same with times of calamities.

You may hold a concert a week after your family was massacred and if someone points out the heinous nature of your act you can blame them of being intellectually dishonest for mentioning the massacre because they are against concerts to begin with.

I do not think anyone on this list will take shelter behind such logic so life can continue its "normal course."

The matter is simple. It is our dishonesty that is seeking intellectual arguments for covering it up.

Riaz Haq said...

Please watch the following to see distortion of morality among the "pious":

Rashid Y. said...

This is my Eureka moment! Each calamity is really an opportunity to condemn another wrong!

Islam zinda hota hai har Karbala kay b'ad

The more Karbala moments we have - the more Islam will be Zinda.
Is this not elementary also.........? No?

Actually what is being debated here is the parading of a litany of wrongs..... especially upon perceiving someone to be out of line.

A fashion show triggered a gut reaction. And suddenly the timing is wrong...the place is wrong.... the action is wrong etc etc. The sky is falling....

At the age of 63 I am already past the ideal age. I have learnt to tolerate everything - except point scoring. If the fashion show is wrong after Eid - then it is wrong before Eid or whenever. Muslims will suffer in Gaza and Burma and wherever. It may be now or in the future or the past. But such suffering should not be the brought out to score points.

The "Slippery Stone" book stands on its own. It does not need a fashion show as a launching pad. The only way this criticism of a fashion show will make sense is if this a preface of a book in the works right now. Who knows for sure - but there are more than enough human activities that contravene some divine command or the other. Enough material for more books.

Moin said...

Time has changed us all. From 1974 (our year of Graduation at NED) to now Riaz and Rashid have moved towards liberal Islam whereas Khalid has moved towards conservative Islam. Even though we all live in USA we as immigrant Pakistani Americans reflect what is going on currently in Pakistan where the conservative base has become huge and the liberal base has become equally huge. And hence the reason for religious polarization and intolerance. And callousness and insensitivity.

I would like to note that even the Prophet (SAW) was not opposed to the music of the instrument called duff and to the dancing and singing by girls during wedding celebrations. When the Prophet (SAW) did Hijrat and entered Medina young girls and women greeted his arrival with a song. The Prophet did not issue any edict against these events because the timing for such events was appropriate and the events were done not to offend any one.

Najam said...

There is no such thing as liberal Islam and conservative Islam.

Islam has been completed in it's purest from,as on the day of Hajjatul Widah. Al youma Akmaltu lakum Denakum.

Riaz and Rashid represent forces of Evil.Hizbush Shaitan.

A lot can be written on the issue of Islam and music,but you have attributed one false statement towards Holy Prophet in that he has allowed singing and dancing on weddings.As per his teachings ,if somestatement is attributed towards him ,which he has not ,than that person should make his abode in hell.Very serious indeed

Riaz Haq said...

The biggest FITNA in Islam today is represented by Najam's "Shaikh" Usma Bin Laden and Najam's allies in Al Qaeda, ISIS and the Taliban. They are responsible for killing more innocent Muslims in recent history than what Najam calls "forces of Evil.Hizbush Shaitan".

Riaz Haq said...

Hasan Nisar's speech at #APPNA2014 convention in Maryland #USA #Pakistan #Islam #Muslims

Riaz Haq said...

South Asian-#American Men Balance Tradition and Modernity to Find a Bride #India #Pakistan

The Urdu phrase “bus bohot hogiya hay” sends chills down Umair Khan’s spine.

Roughly translated as “enough already,” it’s something Mr. Khan, 34, a Manhattan lawyer, has heard uttered by his mother, his aunt and their Pakistani-American friends on several occasions, lately with increasing exasperation. The frustration stems from Mr. Khan’s inability to find a suitable mate.

Like many second-generation South Asian-Americans, Mr. Khan finds himself walking a fine line between paying respect to traditional matchmaking practices extolled by an older generation and embracing more contemporary methods of finding an appropriate life partner.

His search has involved, among other things, being fixed up by professional “Rishta aunties” hired by his mother, meeting women at networking events and suggestions he try online dating.

“It’s exhausting,” said Mr. Khan, deputy counsel for litigation in the New York Public Advocate’s office. “When you’re set up, there’s another dimension to that meeting. You’ve got to give a report when it’s over. That’s the tricky part. How do you tell the referring authority you’re not interested without offending them?”

Within many immigrant communities, more attention seems to focus on marrying off daughters, but it is often the sons who bear the weight of family expectations when it comes to picking a mate.

Overt pressure may be lessening, and outright arranged marriages are the exception rather than the rule, but the love lives of those whose families are from India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh may nevertheless be subject to a good deal of scrutiny and occasional intervention. And the men themselves are becoming more demanding.

“When it comes to men, whether they have good looks or a good degree, they all want a beautiful girl with an M.D. degree in hand,” said Afshan Qadir, who was born in Pakistan and is now a professional matchmaker in Newark, Del., who specializes in matches for South Asian Muslims living in the United States. “Then the parents weigh in, and they say, ‘We want a daughter-in-law who can make very good food for us.’ But she doesn’t have time to learn to cook if she’s getting her professional degree.”

Ms. Qadir blames the South Asian culture for these unrealistic expectations. “Men have more power,” she said. Problems also arise when the expectations of the parents don’t match the preferences of their sons, according to Ms. Qadir, who said that more than half her client base is made up of the parents rather than the offspring.

The degree of parental involvement depends on how closely a family holds to tradition.


As with many demographic subsets, there are numerous online mating sites geared to the South Asian and Muslim communities, including, and the India-based, which calls itself “the world’s largest matrimonial service” and claims 3.2 million successful pairings.

While embracing contemporary technology, these sites also pay homage to traditional customs. On, in addition to a vast database of participants’ profiles and photos, there is advice, with recommendations like: “Praise your wife when she pleases you and show gratitude for all she does for you.”

Though it’s been suggested by many friends, Mr. Khan has yet to turn to online dating. If he were to create a profile, he said, his headline would read something close to this: “Part Tandoori Chicken, Part Apple Pie.”

“It’s not an easy space to be in,” Mr. Khan said, “when you’re trying to bring in culture, and faith. To find someone with strong beliefs and good values, but also someone who gets it, and is smart. Maybe the checklist is too long.”

Riaz Haq said...

BBC News - #Pakistan fashion enters #London spotlight with new #EidCollection

Dozens of Pakistani designers have been showcasing their latest trends in a Pakistan Fashion Week event in London.
Hundreds attended the two day event, spending thousands of pounds on the latest trends ahead of the Muslim festival of Eid next month.