The spark lives on: a tribute to Abdullah Hussein

August 23, 2015

Mehr Afshan Farooqi — BAGH was his favorite novel. He asked me to translate it into English. Like most people who read Urdu literature, I had read Udas Naslain but not Bagh. I should have read it while he was alive, discussed it with him in our chats on messenger, and asked the questions that are bubbling in my head now that I have read it. Perhaps it was meant to be this way. I had no peace till I finished Bagh. The novel has a force, an energy that is tightly coiled, densely textured, but disguised in the slow-moving action of its first quarter. It gains momentum as the love story unfolds in unconventional, tantalising snatches leaving a lot to the imagination of the ۔۔۔

Makateeb-i-Zindan by Hakeem Amritsari

August 23, 2015

Muhammad Ali Siddiqi — MAULANA Abul Ala Maudoodi’s controversial edict about jihad in the late 1940s during the Kashmir war is still relevant, given the plethora of self-proclaimed jihadi organisations active in Pakistan. The book under review, Makateeb-i-Zindan, is the third edition, published earlier in 1952 and 1983. The book consists of letters written in jail by Maulana Maudoodi and other Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) leaders arrested in October 1948 under the Punjab Public Safety Act. The compiler of the book, Hakeem Muhammad Sharif, explains the background against which the arrests were ۔۔۔

A new face of the ghazal

August 23, 2015

Intizar Husain — I RECENTLY received a research journal, Taqeeqi Zawiay, from the Urdu Department of Al-Khair University — a university hitherto unknown to me — in Bhimber. A casual look at the contents of this journal made me curious and a few titles immediately attracted my attention including ‘Sher Afzal Jafri, Punjabi Siqafat ka Akkas’ written by Mohammad Arif Mughal, a research ۔۔۔

“English will stay as the language of power”

August 23, 2015

Mazhar Khan Jadoon — The choice between English and Urdu has left our society divided and governments confused on the linguistic front, often triggering public debates and some cosmetic measures too by successive governments. Though the 1973 Constitution declares that the national language of Pakistan is Urdu, and arrangements shall be made for its being used for official and other purposes within fifteen years, our rulers and policy makers find it hard to implement. Why? Is it the state which is doing nothing to introduce Urdu as the official language in power corridors, or is it our ruling elite that is guarding English against all odds? Class inequality and social conflicts are the ultimate outcomes of different education systems — English medium for the elite, Urdu medium for the middle and lower middle classes and Madaris with Arabic for the left-out segments of society. Why has the state failed to stem this class inequality? And then there is a struggle by smaller groups to keep their ethnic and regional identities and languages alive. The News on Sunday sat with renowned linguist and intellectual Dr Tariq Rahman last week to seek his help in understanding the underlying factors keeping this lingual ۔۔۔

Over to ‘Urdish’

August 21, 2015

Zubeida Mustafa — LANGUAGE continues to be an enigma in Pakistan. For the umpteenth time education is being ‘reformed’ in this country. Federal Minister of Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal has now announced that ‘Urdish’ will be used as the medium of education in the ۔۔۔

Iqbalian style

August 21, 2015

Intizar Husain — THE word imitation when used in the context of arts and literature is taken as a derogatory term and its Urdu translation naqli is also a derogatory term. But in Urdu there is another word taqleed which we often use when required. This term has a different connotation from that of imitation but when Iqbal says “Taqleed” he is treating this word as a derogatory one, equal in meaning to ۔۔۔

Siddiq Salik: a humorist in uniform on martial law and other ‘medicines’

August 17, 2015

Rauf Parekh — THE general perception about the armed forces all over the world is that they are a humourless lot. Nothing could be farther from the truth. In fact, humour is a weapon armed forces use when it comes to relaxing and making the tough and disciplined life bearable. The jokes and anecdotes published in ‘Humour in uniform’, a popular feature that Reader’s Digest ran for ages, are a testimony to the ۔۔۔

Rococo and Other Worlds

August 16, 2015

Ilona Yusuf — Witness to two wars in his early twenties — first the 1971 war in which the former East Pakistan became Bangladesh, and then the Lebanese Civil War, as a student at the American University in Beirut — Afzal Ahmed Syed’s experience of war, brutality and injustice colour his poetry. His work reflects the Sisyphean condition of humankind, most emphatically the circumstances of those born with neither freedom nor wealth, nor the comforts and facilities which citizens of settled nations ۔۔۔

The voice of the forgotten

August 9, 2015

Intizar Husain — I WAS required to write this column with reference to Aug 14, our independence day. In search of some relevant book I turned to my bookshelf and from the row of books pertaining to Partition literature I picked out, at random, a book running in two volumes under the title India Partitioned: The other Face of Freedom which is a collection of selected pieces from Partition ۔۔۔