The Dawn: June 28, 2006

Primacy of research

Shafqat Tanvir Mirza 

LAIKH: Editor Dr Nasir Rana; pp152; Price Rs250; Published by Pakistan Punjabi Fikri Saanjh, 18-N, New Market, Samanabad, Lahore.

THIS is the second issue of the bi-annual magazine commit ted to promoting research and criticism in Punjabi. We have another magazine with the same objects, Khoj, which is published by the department of Punjabi language and literature at the Punjab University. Khoj’s contribution to research and criticism is tremendous but, unfortunately, it could not be properly used for projecting the commonalities that exist in different dialects of the language spoken not only in Punjab, but also in other provinces of Pakistan. Khoj was founded during Gen Zia’s time who deliberately created a wedge not only among the different languages but also among the dialects spoken in the same province.That was contrary to the Islamic principles of unity, but it suited his political designs. He had ousted ZA Bhutto who had immense political support and following in Punjab and in his home province Sindh, the Urdu-speaking and the Sindhispeaking people were put on a collision course. In Punjab, Zia knew that Bhutto could not penetrate the southern and western feudal belts in 1970 elections. The political leadership of this area was against the middle and lower-middle classes emerging leadership from central and northern Punjab. The Zia regime for the first time recognized a dialect of the feudal belt as an independent language. Therefore, Khoj was not supposed to go against Zia’s linguistic and political lines. Zia himself belonged to the linguistic belt which made no solid contribution to classical Punjabi literature in the last eight centuries. It produced only two prominent poets — Hamid Shah Abbasi, a contemporary of Waris Shahh’s, and Maulvi Ghulam Rasool, a junior contemporary of Mian Mohammad Bakhsh and Khwaja Farid’s. The rest of the Punjabi magazines like Punjabi Adab, Lehran, Likhari, etc. never catered to Zia’s policies and did their best to keep the single-language Punjab province intact. Now Laikh has joined them and in its second issue is included a 20page article on Punjabi-Seraiki kafis of Mir Ali Khan Talpur, the former Nawab of the Khairpur state. The article has been contributed by Maj Shakir Kundan, who himself belongs to Sargodha which falls in the Lehnda belt. The Baloch of Sindh are bi-lingual. Their language is Seraiki/Punjabi while the social and official language they use is Sindhi and like Sachal Sarmast and many other poets from Sindh, Ali Nawaz had written poetry in both the languages. Born at Kot Diji in 1884, Ali Nawaz was educated at the Aitchison College, Lahore, and then at Dehra Doon where he was commissioned in the British army. During his stay in Lahore, he developed an affair with Iqbal Begum alias Bali, whom he married and constructed a palace for her. Ali Nawaz wrote under the influence of Shah Husain and Khwaja Farid his senior contemporary. The second article is about Gojri folk songs by Prof Mohammad Ayub in which the commonalities between the dialects are quite visible. The late Dr Javed Ghanjera, a young and deeply committed researcher of Punjabi, died before he was awarded a doctorate on his thesis about the commonalties of different dialects of Punjab, with special reference to work of Hafiz Barkhurdar Ranjha. His thesis was completed and submitted to the university, but a degree was posthumously awarded to him.The magazine includes one chapter of his thesis. The other contributors include Dr Qasim Jalal, Dr Aftab Ahmad Naqvi, Dr Anwar Ahmad Ejaz, Dr Mohammad Riaz Shahid, Farkhanda Lodhi, Mohammad Shafi Baloch, Mansha Yaad and Mian Zafar Maqbool. Dr Nasir Rana’s effort is praiseworthy.


SOACH UDAARI by Asim Bukhari; pp160; Price Rs125; Published by Izhar Sons, 19 Urdu Bazaar, Lahore.

SIM Bukhari is a renowned A actor who has performed in more than 200 plays for TV alone. He also lends his voice to radio plays and now, according to a radio producer, he also writes plays for radio. But poetry was not his cup of tea. For more than 50 years, he had nothing to do with poetry, particularly Punjabi poetry. But that seems to have been embedded in his artistic nature. At the age of 52, poetry took him over and his first collection of verses, Dohrian Shaklan was published in the very first year of the 21st century. Now comes another collection of poems (no ghazals) in which he appears as a reformist who is out to condemn social, economic, intolerant and moral ills prevalent in our society. About the sectarian differences among Muslims he, in his poem, Bahatar Da Hindsa, says: (If god claps inside a church/If in a temple god plays his tune/If god makes a home in every heart/Then why count the 72 sects?) His three poems are about a girl name Amtoo, who was raped by a group of well-to-do men and murdered. This is a story in threepieces. But this is only one aspect of Asim’s poetry; the other is his keen interest in mystic poetry and traditions. Like our great sufi poets and Iqbal, Asim is against the mullah who plays havoc with Muslim society. Asim’s dramatic poem is Fard-iJurm and that, too, is about a mullah.— STM

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