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| Dr. Afzal Mirza | Nadir Ali | Ishtiaq Ahmed  | Shafqat Tanvir Mirza |Tariq Rehman|

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| Harjap Singh Aujla |  Safir Rammah |

Nadir Ali




A literary treasure of epic import   Book Review by Nadir Ali 
The residents of the city say there are only three places worth visiting in Amritsar:  the Sikh Golden Temple, Jallianwalla Bagh where the British Brigadier  Dyer in 1919 massacred unarmed Indians ---and the Wagah border. Indeed the flag-lowering ceremony at the end of each day on the India-Pakistan border at Wagah in Punjab has over the years become a tourist destination, attracting predominantly Indians and Pakistanis on the respective sides of the border, with a sprinkling of foreigners. 

A major addition   Nadir Ali 
Shah Hussain stands tall among the all time greats of the Punjabi poetry. Although not a definitive list, they were Baba Farid, Guru Nanak Damodhar, Shah Hussain, Hafiz Barkhudar, Sultan Baahu, Bulhe Shah, Waris Shah, Sachal Sarmast, Main Mohammad Baksh, Khawaja Farid, Najm Hosain Syed, Bhai Gur Da, Qadir Yar and Najabat.

Vignette of Punjabi movement   Nadir Ali 
At the time of independence, Punjabi reading and publishing were thriving in West Punjab. Based in Lahore, it consisted of qissas and cheap prints of Punjabi classics printed in hundreds of thousands. Urdu nevertheless ruled supreme, in newspapers, magazines and prestigious publishers, radio and TV. The only 'patrons' of Punjabi at the time were a couple of bureaucrats and that too on account of their tussle with Urdu speaking bureaucrats, e.g. Mumtaz Hassan and N.M. Khan etc.

A reader's guide to Bulleh Shah   Nadir Ali
Muzaffar Ghaffar is a remarkable person. For the last 15 years, under the Lahore Art Forum, he has been bringing together writers, poets, scientists, musicians and painters to speak, perform and demonstrate. The forum, almost a one-man show, is culturally very active, may be because Muzaffar Ghaffar has diverse interests in life. Literature may be his first love -- he is a published poet in English -- but his interests range far and wide, from physical sciences, business and administrative sciences to Punjabi poetry and Sufi and Zen practices.

About Shah Husayn and Madho   Nadir Ali
In book reviews we are long on accolades, but short on credibility. I would like the reader to take a careful look at this review. The twenty seven volumes, of which two on Bulleh Shah were reviewed on these pages in September 2005, and three are under review, are an epoch-making work. It indeed is the publishing event of the year. I can only fall short of compliments. It represents 15 years of meticulous hard work with the best scholars of Punjabi literature studied and consulted.

Two hundred years later   Nadir Ali
Waris Shah is much misquoted and misunderstood as a poet but the scholarship needed to separate chaff from his poetic grain may not be in the offing at all Most of the people, who thronged to the annual urs of Waris Shah last week at Jandiala Sher Khan in Sheikhupura, haven't read his Heer. Nor they can recall any passage from the book. This was unthinkable 50 years ago, when in every village in Punjab and in other Punjabi speaking areas, listening to live Heer singing was the most popular form of entertainment. When someone asked, "Can you read the book?," the book always meant Heer Waris Shah.

Victim of ignorance    Nadir Ali
Sheikh Muhammad Sharif Sabir is, perhaps, the best living scholar of Punjabi language in Pakistan. He has edited at least half a dozen of Punjabi classics ranging from Puran Bhagat in 1972 to Heer Waris Shah in 1986. The latter work took ten years of rigorous hard work before getting published and is valued throughout the Punjabi reading world. Had there been no editors like Sheikh Abdul Aziz, barrister-at-law, and Sharif Sabir, the future scholars of Heer would not have known the real Waris Shah from the spurious one.

Elegies of nature and mother tongue   Nadir Ali
I consider Najam Hussain Syed's writings on literary criticism to be his greatest contribution to Punjabi literature though his literary work, comprising 22 books, covers other subjects like poetry and drama as well. But I am writing this article on his poetry rather than on his critical writings. This may be because poetry is usually thought to be more representative and personal of a writer's work. Even in its transcendental and universalised forms, poetry remains a deeply personal expression.

She without an S    Nadir Ali
Characterisation of 'woman' in Punjabi literature is unique in more than one ways. For instance, she is portrayed as the lover rather than the beloved -- the ma'shooq of Persian ghazal; she is described as a member of the female collective -- trinjan or aatan; she is shown in the dialectics of mother-daughter relationship and finally the poet entirely or frequently assumes the voice of a woman. Shah Hussain sings entirely in a woman's voice; Bulleh Shah, Sachal Sarmast and Khwaja Farid frequently do this;  Guru Nanak, Sultan Bahu and countless others resort to it occasionally.

A class view of poetry   Nadir Ali
There is some of Najm Hosain Syed's work, where you can tell the earlier writings from his later ones, at least in his poetry, but not in his prose, criticism or drama. This book is a collection of newspaper articles written by him in his mid 20s. But it is as mature and authoritative as his later work in the last forty years. It is a measure of the classic quality of his work, right from the outset. The book under review is the only one in English, all the rest of his 23 books are in Punjabi.

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