Review: Lok Bayania Aur Siasat

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Altaf Hussain Asad

Lok Bayania Aur Siasat is a book that you’ll find hard to put down once you start reading it. The reason is that one usually doesn’t find such a narrative which not only informs you but broadens your vision and makes you realise about the prejudices inherent in our society.

Rana Mehboob Akhtar, the author, is a well-read man whose reading areas are diverse: history, world literature, post modernism and post colonialism, linguistics, and so on. After serving in the civil service for more than seventeen years, he quit and joined politics. Though he lost the election with a miniscule margin, he’s still working for the uplift of the underdeveloped Muzzafargarh.

He feels elated to be resident of a town which was named after Mahmood Gujjar who died fighting Ranjit Singh. Mehboob Akhtar pays him the utmost tribute for standing up against the invasion of Ranjit Singh. But he also laments about the plight of his ‘wasaib’ (his homeland) which is not only underdeveloped but also in the clutches of the feudal.

Akhtar challenges the established norms and half-baked truths and declares that Pathanay Khan, Hussain Bakhsh Dhadhi, Suraiya Multanikar are our real heroes. He takes solace in the eternal love poetry of Khawaja Ghulam Farid. Here we find a classical poet who makes the woes of the women of his times his central theme.altaf

The author rightly terms his poetry a solid voice in support of women’s emancipation. That shows that like all other great artistes, Khawaja Ghulam Farid was much ahead of his times. In his three articles on Khawaja Farid, the author shares with the readers the feministic tilt in his poetry and thus paves the way for future researchers to dig out more facts about this phenomenon. In another article, the author explores the link between language and identity and makes a solid case for those people who are struggling for their linguistic rights. Respect every language and dialect and respect other people’s right to choose whatever language they like as their mother tongue is what the learned author has concluded at the end.

Deeply impressed by Benazir Bhutto, he pays a tribute to her great contribution to Sraiki areas. He says there are seven princesses in the poetry of Shah Latif; he adds the name of Benazir Bhutto to that list and declares her the 8th princess of Shah Latif. There are different articles in the book which the author had written for a newspaper and his friends advised him to compile them in a book form.

As you flip through more and more articles, you are amazed at the range of topics discussed. The constant strand is his emotional attachment for the Seraiki area and its rich culture. He takes to task those who are not ready to acknowledge a separate status not only to Seraiki but also Sindhi and Punjabi.

Like every liberal and open-minded scholar and writer, he dreams of a world which is classless, educated and developed like other great societies of the world. What he abhors are ignorance, feudalism, prejudices and all those ugly things which keep our society in a deep morass. He remains an idealist and dreamer despite all the ugly realities of life which we have to face. He hopes against hope that one day the real history of our native peoples will be written and due space will be accorded to the wretched of the earth.

Celebrated Seraiki poet Rifat Abbas has written an unusual introduction to the book. Rana Mehboob Akhtar has proved that articles and columns written for any newspaper can have a lasting readership. For this, the writer should have a deep study and vision.

Lok Bayania Aur Siasat
Author: Rana Mehboob Akhtar
Publisher: Sanjh publications,
Mozang Road Lahore
Pages: 163
Price: Rs400

Altaf Hussain Asad, “A new narrative,” in The News, April 19, 2015. Accessed on April 19, 2015, at:

The item above written by Altaf Hussain Asad and published in The News on April 19, 2015, is catalogued here in full by Faiz-e-Zabaan for non-profit educational purpose only. Faiz-e-Zabaan neither claims the ownership nor the authorship of this item. The link to the original source accessed on April 19, 2015, is available here. Faiz-e-Zabaan is not responsible for the content of the external websites.

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