Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Ghare Hira mai aik Raat

Mustansar Husain Tarar is a name synonymous with excellence, when he write everything else becomes secondary. He started as a travelogue writer than established himself as a finest novelist of Pakistan. The book under review is his travelogue, in which he spent a night in Ghare Hira, and the account of that has been narrated in the most captivating and spiritually enthralling manner which grips the reader and the reader feels to be present in the same time and space in which the author is present.

In this book when the narrative peaks and the author speaks about his experience, his feeling and his physical, mental and spiritual state in the blissful and empowering environment of Ghare Hira, when all of a sudden he stands witness to the gone centuries leading to the times of Prophet he is just mesmerized with the effect of those, where past comes to present, where present just becomes immaterial. At this point of time I was personally so absorbed that I thought I was transmigrated to that era, but one thing never left my mind during those moments was poem MASJID E QURTABA by IQBAL. I thought I was experiencing that greatest Urdu poem in prose of Mustansar Husain Tarar.

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Manchalay ka Sauda

Manchalay ka Suda was written by Ashfaq Ahmed and it was televised as serial from Pakistan Television, later due to its astounding substance and rich insightful material it was published as a book.

Ashfaq Ahmed says about this amazing work that the birth of this drama serial is connected to two positive and negative wires out of that one is hooked to tasawaf and Gnosticisms and other to science, specially physics and more so in physics to the Quantum Theory.

This is a book of marvel, mystery and questions, questions that each character is asking in the each sentence that this book displays. This book is about knowing an known, about knowing what is known but not reflected and understood as it must be, pondering and stopping a while on obvious which is not considered as worthwhile.

This is the story of a man who was in search of meaning in his life and a path that would lead him to the destiny that he was created for. The meaning and the path he discovers not through philosophers, intellectuals or learned academicians but through four ordinary mortals, a shepherd, a cobbler, a sweeper and a postman.

One glorious line of this book is worth noting and remembering, the lead character Arshad says:"Religion has no fear of science, it does not tremble before discussion but before ignorance yes."

Tuesday, 1 March 2011


Insaan is a long poem in the genre of epic by Jamiluddin Aali, the poet of jeevay jeevay Pakistan and aye watan ke sajeelay jawano. This poem is compiled of 10000 lines but only 7800 has been published rest has been withheld on the request of the poet that those must be published after his death!

This gigantic work started in 1955 and was first published in 2007. The book has 32 parts and starts with Iqbal's poem Insaan,

This is a very unusual book of poetry where the poet is continuously asking and posing question and he knows there is no definite answer for them only more and more remorse and new set of unanswered questions is the only outcome, but then one must keep on questioning, you never know which one succeeds in being answered.

Saturday, 19 February 2011


Barg e Ney is the first book of Ghazals of Nasir Kazmi (1925-1972) which was first published in 1952. Critics consider this to be one of the finest collection of Ghazals. Nasir Kazmi through the conventional vocabulary of Urdu ghazals has made new imagery that is endowed with a musical lyricism and that creates a mood that is extremely sensitive and evocative.

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Nadar Loog

Published first in 1996 this novel by Abdullah Hussain is considered as a sequel to his famous Udaas Naslain. The story of this novel takes place during 1897 to 1974. This is the story of a generation that has no urge to protect and fight for its rights, people who have accepted everything as fate and have left themselves to the flow of time. The story really gets a takeoff after 1947 when Pakistan gets independence and the people who fought for certain ideals are pushed to wall by those who happen to be in corridors of power. The novel describes those years of indifference, difficulties and turbulence which first germinate the seeds of undemocratic governments and then it leads to secession of the country in 1971. The novel suggests that this was the period where if truth was upheld the history and the geography of Pakistan would have been different but since people kept silence which tantamount to a sin, so they have to reap the wages of this in shape of disintegrating the federation and losing their brothers. Nadar Loog is the story of a people who had great ideals but were found wanting in action when it mattered to stand and assert. This is the story about poverty of action and deeds that leads a nation and people to a state of flux.

Saturday, 29 January 2011

Chand Chehra Sitara Aankhen

First published in 1974 this fabulous book of poetry from Obaidullah Aleem(1939-1997) was an instant success with young people because of its very lucid vocabulary and the emotional tenderness. Obaidullah Aleem was comfortable with genres of Ghazals and Nazms both, and he so effortlessly has written the most passionate and profound emotions which almost create an awe in the readers and one is so blissfully fascinated while reading this majestic work. And what a beauty is the title poem, always remembered, always admired and always loved.

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Aakhri Adami

Aakhri Adami is a short story by Intezar Husain. This is a story of people who because of their wrong doings start turning into monkeys. AlYusaf is the last person who goes through this agony.

Reflection solely a human prerogative instills sense of guilt in AlYusaf who unlike his fellow beings had the privilege of witnessing them been transformed into apes. AlYusaf fights with his fears but knows the universal principle of cause and effect and fears his guilt that has sworn the seed would have bearings. But he resists. Finally against all his wishes like Picture of Dorian Gray he sees his tarnish image in the water and is devastated.

The story revolves around the biblical and Quran’s story of people of Sabbath. As in all myths since Gilgamesh 'sins' have no hope and one has to pay for it. Our material world of cause and effect also has same manifestations as all actions have reaction.

This is the simple message of this story but I would not take it as this is too simple to be realistic. When we take a wrong turn and reach a dead end it doesn’t mean that it’s the end of journey. We turn back and find other routes that takes us ahead, trying and finding new destinations and courses is the destiny that human beings have evoked for themselves and are not condemned towards that and they cherish this novelty.

Once AlYusaf finds that due to his wrong doing he is likely to descent to a lower form he resists and wants not only to hold to his present status but also transcend it as he rejects some very human emotions of fear, hate and animosity. This is where; there is hope and ascent in the story. The end of the story which seems frightening is not so as an end of a story is never an end, its end of one stream of thought which ebb and then flow into another. In end AlYusaf falls on all four but the germination of his thought process where he renounce his shortcomings has taken him ahead of his fellow beings and so he can still rise and stand tall.

Thursday, 30 December 2010

Dasht -e- Sos

Historical Novel writing is not an easy job, one must have grip on facts and a style that makes an interesting readings. Naseem Hijazi was one such writer and when Jamila Hashmi wrote Dasht e Sos she also claimed that distinction.

Dasht e Sos is a novel about story of Hussain bin Mansur Hallaj. This novel was first published 27 years ago in 1983. The story of Hallaj is both fascinating and sad. Hallaj an anxious and curious spirit had questions unanswered, he was seeking some answers and wanted to get those like Hazrat Musa(Moses) got at Kohe Tur (Mount of Sanai). He wanted to reach to God like where there is no Hijab (veil) left, so he indulge himself into such prayers and meditation that were tough and beyond the capacity of normal human beings and they bring to him such awareness which he could not muster and in mystification said something that took him to the woods and was crucified. But that was not the only reason for his crucifixion, there is lot in between, a relations of hate and love. Love not only with the immortal and pristine but also with a mortal and beautiful princess. Which Love finally takes him to gallows is an interesting tale narrated in this novel.

Saturday, 27 November 2010

Khas O Khashak Zamany

Mustansar Hussain Tarar is a master craftsman, when he writes, the words he uses speak themselves what they stand for, the usual meaning takes a different stance look glossier, lively, deep and sensuous.

KHAS O KHASHAK ZAMANAY his latest novel published this year is another feather in his illustrious career as novelist. The story is so skillfully told using all new and old techniques- fantasy, stream of consciousness, magical realism just to say literary techniques, otherwise the craftsmanship used is also of a master architect, a master painter and a master sculptor. One is gripped all time, one cannot miss a single sentence, and you cannot afford to miss a single line when Tarar writes.

The story runs in a wide landscape of time and space. Past, present and future work as three dimensions of time in the story, past is never past and future is never future, past is always running parallel with future and future parallel with past in the whole story, whereas the reader is always aware that he is present in the story, in the NOW.

The very first page inspires the reader where following dedication appears:


The story starts in a village in pre -partition Punjab, and then spreads and develops after independence in Lahore, taking note of all important political and social events, like martial laws, 1965 war, 1971 war and fall of Dacca. The story takes a new high after 9/11 when Afghanistan and Iraq are devastated.
The final chapters of the story are classic example of how an artist can use his historic heritage and rise to glorifying heights. Tarar uses Attar’s metaphor of thirty birds in search of a king where the birds eventually find themselves. Here Tarar’s character in search of truth finds a new Adam…

Book published by Sang e meel Publications.
Pages 740
Year of Publication 2010

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Aur Insaan Zinda Hai

AUR INSAAN ZINDA HAI is a novel by Obaidullah Baig. This novel was first published in 1961 and the second edition was published in 1991 by Times Press (Pvt) Limited. The title of this novel is such tantalizing that it just raises consciousness to a different level of wonderment.

AUR INSAAN ZINDA HAI is a story of man and his struggle in the face of adversity. A man that has his feet on ground but his eyes on the horizon where is writ large his ideals, dreams and a world that is a blissful, purposeful and meaningful place if not a sort of Utopia. But all that collapses on a day of devastation of Basantpur, a village in pre-partitioned India. From a romantic idealist he becomes a savage, a killing machine that has only one program at hand - revenge. The main character of the story Narindra is a symbol of a human sensibility that basically nurtures on Love. He can take defamation, pain and even insult on his self but when confronted with a possibility of pain inflicted on his ideals, dreams and loved ones he throws all pathos, humility, love and utopian thoughts to fire and burn them to ashes and from that ashes rises a new man full of animosity, hatred, revenge and devastates whatever comes his way that justifies revenge rationale.

The story is based on a factual account but beautifully punctuated with necessary craftsmanship which makes this a most interesting and fabulous piece of writing. The language used is flowing like stream and the thoughts that writer inculcates to convey meaning of life are thought provoking and impending.