Sunday, August 31, 2014

A00042 - Hashim Khan, Patriarch of a Squash Dynasty

Hashim Khan (Urdu: ہاشم خان‎; c. 1910 to 1914 – August 18, 2014) was a squash player from Pakistan. He won the British Open Squash Championships (the then de facto world championship) a total of seven times, from 1951 to 1956, and then again in 1958.

Hashim Khan was born in Nawakille, a small village near Peshawar in modern-day Pakistan, to an ethnically Pashtun family, between 1910 and 1914. The exact birthdate is unknown. According to his family members, he turned 100 on July 1, 2014 (the family celebrated his birthday on July 1). Khan's father, Abdullah Khan was chief steward at a British officer's club in Peshawar. He brought Hashim when he was 8 to the squash courts which were used by military men to relax, when not performing duties. Khan's father died in a car accident when he was 11, and he left school to become a ball boy and cleaner of the courts. 

Khan's father, Abdullah Khan, was the Head Steward at a club in Peshawar where British army officers stationed in the area played squash. As a youngster, Khan served as an unpaid ball boy at the club, retrieving balls that were hit out of court by the officers. When the officers had finished playing, Khan and the other ball boys would take over the courts. In 1942, Khan became a squash coach at a British Air Force officers' mess. In 1944, he won the first All-of-India squash championship in Bombay, and successfully defended this title for the next two years.  When Pakistan became an independent state, he was appointed a squash professional for the Pakistan Air Force, and won the first Pakistani squash championship in 1949.

In 1950, Abdul Bari, a distant relative of Khan's who had chosen to remain in Bombay after the Partition of India in 1947, and who Hashim had beaten in several tournaments in India before partition, was sponsored by the Indian Government to play at the British Open where he finished runner-up to the Egyptian player Mahmoud Karim.  This spurred Khan to seek backing to compete in the British Open the following year. In 1951, when Khan was in his 30s, the government of Pakistan — particularly the Pakistan Air Force — sponsored him for the British Squash Championship. It marked the first time Mr. Khan wore shoes on the court.  Khan travelled to the United Kingdom to play in the British Open, and won the title beating Karim in the final 9–5, 9–0, 9–0. He again beat Karim in the final in 1952 9–5, 9–7, 9–0. He won again for the next four consecutive years, beating R.B.R. Wilson of England in the 1953 final; his younger brother Azam Khan in two tight five-set finals in 1954 and 1955; and Roshan Khan in the final of 1956. Hashim Khan was runner-up to Roshan Khan in 1957, and won his seventh and final British Open title in 1958, when he beat Azam in the final. Khan also won five British Professional Championship titles, three United States Open titles, and three Canadian Open titles.
Khan settled in Denver, Colorado, and continued to appear in veterans' matches at the British Open. The Denver Athletic Club continues to hold a Hashim Khan squash tournament in his honor every year.

Khan had a total of 12 children. His eldest son Sharif Khan became a player on the North American hardball squash circuit in the 1970s, winning a record 12 North American Open titles. Six other sons – Aziz, Gulmast, Liaqat Ali ("Charlie"), Salim ("Sam"), Shaukat, and Mo – also became hardball squash players.

Khan settled in the USA in the 1960s, after being invited to teach squash at the Uptown Athletic Club in Detroit.  On 18 August 18, 2014, he died in his home in Aurora, Colorado due to congestive heart failure. He was widely believed to be 100 years old.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

A00041 - Simin Behbahani, The Lioness of Iran

Behbahani, Simin
Simin Behbahāni (Persian: سیمین بهبهانی‎‎) (June 20, 1927 – August 19, 2014) was a prominent Iranian poet, activist and translator. She was Iran's national poet and an icon of the modern Persian poetry, Iranian intelligentsia and literati who affectionately refer to her as the lioness of Iran.  She was nominated twice for the Nobel Prize in literature, and received many literary accolades from around the world.

Simin Behbahani, whose real name was Simin Khalili (Persian: سیمین خلیلی‎) (سيمين خليلی), was the daughter of Abbās Khalili (عباس خلیلی), poet, writer and editor of the Eghdām (Action) newspaper, and Fakhr-e Ozmā Arghun (فخرعظمی ارغون), poet and teacher of the French language. Abbās Khalili (1893–1971) wrote poetry in both Persian and Arabic and translated some 1100 verses of Ferdowsi's Shahnameh into Arabic. Fakhr-e Ozmā Arghun (1898–1966) was one of the progressive women of her time and a member of Kānun-e Nesvān-e Vatan'khāh (Association of Patriotic Women) between 1925 and 1929. In addition to her membership in Hezb-e Democrāt (Democratic Party) and Kānun-e Zanān (Women's Association), she was, for a time (1932), editor of the Āyandeh-ye Iran (Future of Iran) newspaper. She taught French at the secondary schools Nāmus, Dār ol-Mo'allemāt and No'bāvegān in Tehran.

Simin Behbahani started writing poetry at twelve and published her first poem at the age of fourteen. She used the "Char Pareh" style of Nima Yooshij and subsequently turned to ghazal.  Behbahani contributed to a historic development by adding theatrical subjects and daily events and conversations to poetry using the ghazal style of poetry. She expanded the range of the traditional Persian verse forms and produced some of the most significant works of the Persian literature in the 20th century.

Behbahani was President of The Iranian Writers' Association and was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1999 and 2002.

In early March 2010, Behbahani prohibited from leaving the country due to official prohibitions. As she was about to board a plane to Paris, police detained her and interrogated her "all night long". She was released but without her passport. 

Behbahani was hospitalized in Tehran on August 6, 2014. She remained in a coma from August 6 until her death August 19, 2014. She died in Tehran's Pars Hospital. Her funeral was held on August 22 in Vahdat Hall and her body was buried at Behesht-e Zahra. 

The literary works of Simin Behbahani includes the following:
  • The Broken Lute [Seh-tar-e Shekasteh, 1951]
  • Footprint [Ja-ye Pa, 1954]
  • Chandelier [Chelcheragh, 1955]
  • Marble [Marmar 1961]
  • Resurrection [Rastakhiz, 1971]
  • A Line of Speed and Fire [Khatti ze Sor'at va Atash, 1980]
  • Arzhan Plain [Dasht-e Arzhan, 1983]
  • Paper Dress [Kaghazin Jameh, 1992]
  • A Window of Freedom [Yek Daricheh Azadi, 1995]
  • Collected Poems [Tehran 2003]
  • Maybe It's the Messiah [Shayad ke Masihast, Tehran 2003] Selected Poems, translated by Ismail Salami
  • A Cup of Sin, Selected poems, translated by Farzaneh Milani and Kaveh Safa

Friday, August 15, 2014

A00040 - Ibn al-Nadim, Author of Kitab al-Fihrist (The Index)

Ibn al-Nadim
Ibn al-Nadim (Abu'l-Faraj Muhammad bin Is'hāq al-Nadim) (c. 936 - September 17, 995).  Shi‘a of Baghdad and the author of an Index of Arabic books.   The work, which exists in a shorter recension (a shorter critical revision), is intended to be an index of all books written in Arabic either by Arabs or non-Arabs.

Abu'l-Faraj Muhammad bin Is'hāq al-Nadim, whose father was known as al-Warrāq, was a Shi'ite Muslim scholar and bibliographer. Some scholars regard him as a Persian but this is not certain. He is famous as the author of the Kitāb al-Fihrist (The Index). His choice of the rather rare Persian word pehrest (fehrestfehres/fahrasat) for the title of a handbook on Islamic literature is noteworthy in this regard.

Very little is actually known about his life. He was a bookseller, a calligrapher who copied manuscripts for sale, as his father was before him. He lived in Baghdad and sometimes he mentions a sojourn in Mosul. Of his teachers, he mentions al-Sirafi (died 978-9), 'Ali bin Harun bin al-Munazhzhim (died 963) and the philosopher Abu Sulayman al-Mantiqi. He belonged to the circle of a son of 'Ali bin 'Isa, the "Good Vizier" of the Banu al-Jarrah, whom he praises for his profound knowledge of logic and the sciences of the Greeks, Persians and Indians. Ibn al-Nadim also met in his house the Christian philosopher Ibn al-Khammar. With these men, none of whom was an orthodox Sunni, he shared an admiration for philosophy and especially for Aristotle, and the Greek and Hindu sciences of antiquity (before Islam). He admired their breadth of outlook and their air of toleration.

It did not escape his biographers that he was a Shi'ite (Ibn Hajar, l.c.); he uses khassi instead of Shi'ite, 'ammi instead of Sunnite, al-hashwiyya for the Sunnis, Ahl al-Hadith ("People of the Hadith") instead of Ahl al-Sunna ("People of the Tradition"). He inserts the eulogy for prophets (consisting of the words alaihi al-salam, "peace be with him") after the names of the Shi'i Imams and the Ahl al-Bayt (the descendants of Muhammad). He calls the Imam al-Rida mawlana. He asserts that al-Waqidi was a Shi'ite but concealed this fact by taqiyya. He claims most of the (orthodox) 'traditionists' for the Zaydiyya. He speaks of the Mu'tazila as Ahl al-'Adl ("People of the justice"), calls the Ash'arites al-mujbira. That he belonged to the Twelver Shi'a is shown by his distaste for the doctrines of the Sab'iyya and by his criticisms in dealing with their history. He remarks that a certain Shafi'i scholar was secretly a Twelver Shi'ite. He mentions Shi'as among his acquaintances, e.g., Ibn al-Mu'allim, the da'i Ibn Hamdan and the author Khushkunanadh. To the same circle belonged the Jacobite Yahya ibn 'Adi (d. 973) who instructed 'Isa bin 'Ali in philosophy and who was, like Ibn al-Nadim, a copyist and bookseller.

His great book, the Fehrest or Fihrist, gives ample testimony to the knowledge of pre-Islamic Persia and its literature in classical Islamic civilization, but unfortunately only a minute sample of the numerous Persian books listed by Ebn al-Nadīm is extant. According to the Fehrest's brief preface, it is meant to be an index of all books written in Arabic, whether by Persians, Arabs or others. There existed already books (tabaqat) dealing with the biographies of poets. The Fehrest was published in 938.  It exists in two manuscript traditions, or "editions": the more complete edition contains ten "discourses" (maqalat). The first six of them are detailed bibliographies of books on Islamic subjects:

1. the Holy Scriptures of Muslims, Jews, and Christians, with emphasis on the Qur'an and hadith;

2. works on grammar and philology;

3. history, biography, genealogy and the like;

4. poetry;

5. dialectical theology (kalam);

6. law (fiqh) and hadith.

The last four discourses deal with secular subjects:

7. philosophy and the 'secular sciences';

8. legends, fables, magic, conjuring, etc.;

9. the doctrines (maqalat) of the non-monotheistic creeds (Manicheans, Hindus, Buddhists and Chinese);

10. alchemy.

Ibn al-Nadim gives the titles only of those books which he had seen himself or whose existence was vouchsafed by a trustworthy person.

The shorter edition contains (besides the preface and the first section of the first discourse on the scripts and the different alphabets) only the last four discourses, in other words, the Arabic translations from Greek, Syriac and other languages, together with Arabic books composed on the model of these translations.

Ibn al-Nadim often mentions the size of a book and the number of pages, so that buyers would not be cheated by copyists passing off shorter versions. Compare the Stichometry of Nicephorus. He refers often to copies written by famous calligraphers, to bibliophiles and libraries, and speaks of a book auction and of the trade in books. In the opening section he deals with the alphabets of 14 peoples and their manner of writing and also with the writing-pen, paper and its different varieties. His discourses contain sections on the origins of philosophy, on the lives of Plato and Aristotle, the origin of The Book of One Thousand and One Nights, thoughts on the pyramids, his opinions on magic, sorcery, superstition, and alchemy etc. The chapter devoted to what the author rather dismissively calls "bed-time stories" and "fables" contains a large amount of Persian material. In the chapter on anonymous works of assorted content there is a section on "Persian, Indian, Byzantine, and Arab books on sexual intercourse in the form of titillating stories", but the Persian works are not separated from the others. The list includes a "Book of Bahrām-doḵt on intercourse." This is followed by books of Persians, Indians, etc. on fortune telling, books of "all nations" on horsemanship and the arts of war, then on horse doctoring and on falconry, some of them specifically attributed to the Persians. Then we have books of wisdom and admonition by the Persians and others, including many examples of Persian andarz literature, e.g. various books attributed to Persian emperors such as Khosrau I and Ardashir I.

As a bookseller, Ibn al-Nadim became known for his celebrated bookshop.  The bookshop was said to be on an upper story of a large building where buyers came to examine manuscripts, enjoy refreshments and exchange ideas.  

The Fihrist is the greatest work of Ibn al-Nadim.  Fihrist literally means "a table of contents" or "an index". The Fihrist is an index of all books written in Arabic by Arabs or non-Arabs.  Ibn al-Nadim began to make this catalogue of authors and the names of their compositions for use in his father's bookstore.  As he grew older, he became interested in the many subjects he read about in books, or which he learned about from friends and chance acquaintances.  So, instead of being merely the catalogue for a book shop, Ibn al-Nadim's Fihrist became an encyclopedia of medieval Islamic culture. 

The Fihrist of Ibn al-Nadim listed more than sixty thousand titles on an unlimited range of subjects.  The first section of the first chapter of the Fihrist was devoted to various styles of writing, including Chinese, qualities of paper, and "excellencies of penmanship" and "excellencies of the book". After this was a whole range of topics including language and calligraphy; Christian and Jewish scriptures; the Qu'ran and commentaries; linguistic works; histories and genealogies; official government works; court accounts; pre-Islamic and Islamic poetry; works by various schools of Muslim thought; biographies of numerous men of learning; Greek and Islamic philosophy; mathematics; astronomy; Greek and Islamic medicine; literature; popular fiction; travel (India, China and Indochina); magic, and miscellaneous subjects and fables.

Abu'l-Faraj Muhammad bin Is'hāq al-Nadim  see Ibn al-Nadim

A00039 - Hassan Rouhani, Seventh President of Iran

Rouhani, Hassan
Hassan Rouhani (Persian:  حسن روحانی‎), born November 12, 1948, became the 7th President of Iran in 2013. He is also a former lawmaker, academic and diplomat. Beginning in 1999, Rouhani became a member of Iran's Assembly of Experts.  He was also a member of the Expediency Council since 1991, a member of the Supreme National Security Council since 1989, and head of the Center for Strategic Research since 1992.

Rouhani was deputy speaker of the 4th and 5th terms of the Parliament of Iran (Majlis) and Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council from 1989 to 2005. In the latter capacity, Rouhani was the country's top negotiator with the EU three,  the United Kingdom, France, and Germany, on nuclear technology in Iran, and has also served as a Shi'ite ijtihadi cleric, and economic trade negotiator. He expressed official support for upholding the rights of ethnic and religious minorities. In 2013, he appointed former miner and Isfahani legislator Eshaq Jahangiri as his vice-president.

On May 7, 2013, Rouhani registered for the presidential election that was held on June 14, 2013. He said that, if elected, he would prepare a "civil rights charter", restore the economy and improve rocky relations with Western nations.  Rouhani was viewed as politically moderate. As early vote counts began coming in, he took a large lead. He was elected as President of Iran on June 15, defeating Tehran mayor Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf and four other candidates. He took office on August 3, 2013. In 2013, TIME magazine named him 9th of the Most Influential People in the World.  In domestic policy, he encouraged personal freedom and free access to information, improved women's rights by appointing female foreign ministry spokespersons, and was described as a centrist and reformist who improved Iran's diplomatic relations with other countries through exchanging conciliatory letters.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

A00038 - Maryam Mirzakhani, First Woman to Receive Fields Medal

Maryam Mirzakhani (Persian: مریم میرزاخانی‎; born May 1977) is an Iranian mathematician, and a full professor of mathematics (since 1 September 2008) at Stanford University. 
Her research interests include Teichmuller theory, hyperbolic geometry, ergodic theory, and symplectic geometry.   In 2014, Mirzakhani became the first woman, as well as the first Iranian and the second person from the Middle East (after Elon Lindenstrauss), to be awarded the Fields Medal. 

Mirzakhani found international recognition as a brilliant teenager after receiving gold medals at both the 1994 International Mathematical Olympiad (Hong Kong) and the 1995 International Mathematical Olympiad (Toronto), where she was the first Iranian student to finish with a perfect score.

Maryam Mirzakhani was born in 1977 in Tehran, Iran. She went to high school in the city at the Farzanegan School, a school for gifted girls that is administered by the National Organization for Development of Exceptional Talents (NODET). Mirzakhani competed and was recognized internationally for her math skills, receiving gold medals at both the 1994 International Mathematical Olympiad (Hong Kong) and the 1995 International Mathematical Olympiad (Toronto), where she was the first Iranian student to finish with a perfect score.

Mirzakhani obtained her BSc in mathematics (1999) from Sharif University of Technology in Tehran. She went to the United States for graduate work, earning a PhD from Harvard University (2004), where she worked under the supervision of the Fields Medalist Curtis McMullen. She was also a 2004 research fellow of the Clay Mathematics Institute and a professor at Princeton University. 

Mirzakhani has made several contributions to the theory of moduli spaces of Riemann surfaces.  In her early work, Maryam Mirzakhani discovered a formula expressing the volume of a moduli space with a given genus as a polynomial in the number of boundary components. This led her to obtain a new proof for the formula discovered by Edward Witten and Maxim Kontsevich on the intersection numbers of tautology classes on moduli space, as well as an asymptotic formula for the growth of the number of simple closed geodesics on a compact hyperbolic surface. Her subsequent work has focused on Teichmüller dynamics of moduli space. In particular, she was able to prove the long-standing conjecture that William Thurston's earthquake flow onTeichmuller space is ergodic.

Mirzakhani was awarded the Fields Medal in 2014 for "her outstanding contributions to the dynamics and geometry of Riemann surfaces and their moduli spaces". She was congratulated for her win by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.

She married Jan Vondrak, a theoretical computer scientist.  They had a daughter named Anahita.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

A00037 - Idris Muhammad, Multi-Genre Drummer

Idris Muhammad (Arabic: إدريس محمد‎; born Leo Morris; November 13, 1939 – July 29, 2014) was an American jazz drummer who recorded extensively with many musicians, including Ahmad Jamal, Lou Donaldson, and Pharoah Sanders, among many others.

At 16 years old, one of Muhammad's earliest recorded sessions as a drummer was on Fats Domino's 1956 hit "Blueberry Hill".   He changed his name in the 1960s upon his conversion to Islam. In 1966, he married Dolores "LaLa" Brooks, former member of the singing group known as the Crystals.  Brooks converted to Islam with Muhammad and went for a time under the name Sakinah Muhammad. They separated in 1999. Together, they had two sons and two daughters, and Muhammad had one daughter from a previous marriage to Gracie Lee Edwards-Morris. Pharoah Sanders's son Idris is named after Idris Muhammad

Muhammad was an endorser of Istanbul Agop Cymbals. 

In 2012, Xlibris released the book Inside The Music: The Life of Idris Muhammad, which Muhammad wrote with his friend Britt Alexander.

He died on July 29, 2014.

The principal discography of Idris Muhammad reads as follows:
  • 1970: Black Rhythm Revolution! (Prestige)
  • 1971: Peace and Rhythm (Prestige)
  • 1974: Power of Soul (Kudu)
  • 1976: House of the Rising Sun (Kudu)
  • 1977: Turn This Mutha Out (Kudu)
  • 1977: Could Heaven Ever Be Like This
  • 1978: Boogie to the Top
  • 1978: You Ain't No Friend of Mine
  • 1979: Fox Huntin'
  • 1980: Kabsha (Theresa Records)
  • 1980: Make It Count
  • 1992: My Turn
  • 1998: Right Now

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

A00036 - Harun Farocki, Filmmaker of Modern Life

Farocki, Harun
Harun Farocki (January 9, 1944 – July 30, 2014) was a German filmmaker.
Farocki was born as Harun El Usman Faroqhi in Neutitschein, Sudetenland.  His father, Abdul Qudus Faroqhi, had immigrated to Germany from India in the 1920s; his German mother had been evacuated from Berlin due to the Allied bombing of Germany.  Farockii simplified the spelling of his surname as a young man. After World War II, Farocki grew up in India and Indonesia before resettling in West Germany.
Farocki, who was deeply influenced by Bertolt Brecht and Jean-Luc Godard,  studied at the German Film and Television Academy in West Berlin. He began making films — from the very beginning, they were non-narrative essays on the politics of imagery — in the mid-1960s.
From 1993 to 1999, Farocki taught at the University of California, Berkeley.  He later was a professor at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna. 
Farocki made over 90 films, the vast majority of them short experimental documentaries.  Farocki attended the Deutsche Film-und Fernsehakademie Berlin from 1966 to 1968.
Farocki's work was included in the 2004-05 Carnegie International at the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 
The filmography of Harun Farocki includes the following:
(D = Director, E = Editor, S = Screenplay, P = Production)
  • 1969: Die Worte des Vorsitzenden (The Words of The Chairman)
  • 1969: Nicht löschbares Feuer  (Inextinguishable Fire) (D)
  • 1970: Die Teilung aller Tage (The Division of All Days) (D, E, S)
  • 1971: Eine Sache, die sich versteht (D, S, P)
  • 1975: Auf Biegen oder Brechen (S)
  • 1978: Zwischen zwei Kriegen (Between Two Wars) (D, E, S, P)
  • 1981: Etwas wird sichtbar (Before Your Eyes Vietnam) (D, S, P)
  • 1983: Ein Bild (An Image)
  • 1983: Jean-Marie Straub and Daniele Huillet at work on Franz Kafka's "Amerika"
  • 1985: Betrogen (Betrayed) (D, S)
  • 1986: Wie man sieht (As You See) (D, S, P)
  • 1987: Bilderkrieg (D)
  • 1987: Die Schulung
  • 1989: Bilder der Welt und Inschrift des Krieges (Images of the World and the Inscription of War) (D, S, P)
  • 1990: Leben: BRD (How to live in the Federal Republic of Germany) (D, S, P)
  • 1991: Videogramme einer Revolution (Videograms of a Revolution) (D, S, P)
  • 1993: Was ist los? (What's up?) (D, S)
  • 1994: Die Umschulung
  • 1995: Arbeiter verlassen die Fabrik (Workers Leaving the Factory)
  • 1995: Schnittstelle
  • 1996: Die Bewerbung (The Interview) (TV) (D, S)
  • 1996: Der Auftritt (The Appearance)
  • 1997: Stilleben (Still Life) (D, S)
  • 1997: Nach dem Spiel (P)
  • 1998: Worte und Spiele
  • 2000: Die innere Sicherheit
  • 2000: Gefängnisbilder (Prison Images) (D, S)
  • 2001: Auge/Maschine
  • 2001: Die Schöpfer der Einkaufswelten (The Creators of the Shopping Worlds) (D, S)
  • 2003: Erkennen und Verfolgen (D, S, P)
  • 2004: Nicht ohne Risiko (D, S, P)
  • 2005: Die Hochzeitsfabrik (P)
  • 2005: Ghosts (S)
  • 2006: Am Rand der Städte (P)
  • 2007: Aufschub
  • 2007: Respite - first episode of Memories (Jeonju Digital Project 2007)
  • 2009: Zum Vergleich (D, S)
  • 2009/2010: Serious Games I-IV, Video series
  • 2012 Barbara (S)
  • 2014: Phoenix (S)

Farocki's first wife, Ursula Lefkes, whom he married in 1966, died in 1996.  His survivors included his second wife, Antje Ehmann, whom he married in 2001; his twin daughters from his first marriage, Annabel Lee and Larissa Lu; and eight grandchildren.