// Raza Kazim

Raza Raza’s journey of rejecting ugliness and pursuing human happiness, healing which got him involved with society, nurse politics and the questions of his time, began in 1942, at the age of 12, when he became a part of the Indian Congress movement. After 1945 he moved away from the Congress movement and got involved with the Muslim League movement working for an independent Pakistan.

In 1948, after disillusionment with the Pakistan movement he became a whole-time member of the Pakistan Communist Party. During the period he was engaged with Marxism he also became the General Secretary of Pakistan Trade Union Federation and the President of the Democratic Students Federation.

After doing his LLB in 1953 he began his law practice and from 1959 onwards became Advocate Supreme Court of Pakistan. By 1965 he began to have serious doubts about the validity of the Marxist ideology but he persevered with it till 1970. In between, in 1962, he also designed the world’s first shrimp factory ship which was  made by a team of Norwegian naval architects and engineers.

After 1970 he began his quest of discovering a post-Marxist theory of social change, yet another attempt to address the issue of human happiness, in the light of the explosive progress in science and technology and developments in Brain Sciences, Astrophysics & Particle Physics.

raza-2In 1995, he set up ‘Sanjan Nagar Institute of Philosophy and Arts’ (SIPA), as a laboratory for developing and testing this emerging theory, which he calls ‘Evolutionary Mentology’, and has been funding it from his Law practice ever since. In the same year he also started a parallel organization called Sanjan Nagar Public Education Trust (SNPET) which runs a free school for girls in a working class area of Lahore.

Evolutionary Mentology is a product of Raza’s thirty seven year long quest to discover, understand and operationalise the process of change and evolution within an individual’s mind and consequently in society. His work in Music and photography is an off shoot of the work in Mentology. The ideas and concepts generated, chiseled and developed in Mentology are being concretely applied in Music and photography.

In 2001, he entered into a ten year private public partnership with NCA for establishing and running a four year Musicology Degree program. This institutional affiliation provided him with an opportunity to set new standards for the theory and practice of music.

To address the issues of musicality and effective communication in music, Raza also got involved with the phenomenon of sound reproduction and started philosophizing and developing new concepts and testing them experimentally for designing and constructing, what he calls ‘Bhulley’ High-End Audio Amplifiers and Speakers.

The designing and making of ‘Sagar Veena’, the first non-fretted stringed instrument for Indian Classical music with a completely original design and structure is another achievement of Raza. Since 1976 he has also been doing Audio recordings of various Pakistani and Indian artists and has also developed some important techniques of recording.

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Raza has been doing photography since his childhood but not as a profession. He has mainly been doing symbolic photography. In the Institute, he and his wife Rashida have been training a group of young local girls (having no previous training) in both black & white and colour film developing and processing.

So far two exhibitions of Raza’s photographs have taken place; in 1988, his photographs were exhibited at the commonwealth gallery in London and then in May 2003, at the National College of Arts, Lahore, Pakistan. Two of his photographs were chosen for ‘Another Asia’ Noorderlicht Photofestival 2006, held every year in Holland.

Whether it was Marxism in the past or his existing works in Mentology, Musicology, recording of music, designing of High End Audio Amplifiers and Speakers, the Sagar Veena or the making of symbolic Photographs, they have all been a means or tools for Raza to concretize his emotional and intellectual commitment towards changing life.