Lahore’s turn in Punjabi history
LAHORE DI VAAR by Mudassar Bashir; pp 276; Price Rs300 (pb); Publishers, Suchet Kitab Ghar, Ganga Ram Hospital Chowk, 11 Sharaf Mansion, Book Street No 1, Lahore. E-mail: email@example.com
Though some of the classical books on Lahore have been written under the influence of the British, it seems that among its residents some did not like the periods ruled by the opposing religious groups.
Four religions have ruled the Lahore: the first were Budhas followed by the Hindus overpowered by Muslims and controlled by the Sikhs. The British removed both the Muslims and the Sikhs. Some groups ruled Lahore for a short period getting no attention of historians.
It was the British period in which historical information was collected for state purposes. Hence Lahore also got histories by Noor Ahmad Chishti, Latif and Kanhaya Lal. Another scholar Bootey Shah was engaged in history writing by the British before they occupied Lahore in the mid 19th century. It is Punjab history which unfortunately has not been reproduced.
Mudassar Bashir’s father settled in Lahore and Mudassar was educated in the city living in the once outskirts like Sanda. He developed a great interest in visiting old settlements, monuments and old buildings. His friends and guides helped him learn not only about archaeological sites but also about those celebrities who brought fame for Lahore or Punjab such as wrestlers, Punjabi poets, musicians and theatre and film artists.
There are five sections of articles in the book: the first is about 22 tombs of royalty, 17 mausoleums of Muslim saints, nine wrestlers, 16 writers and poets and 16 artists plus a calligrapher.
The author has been contributing these articles to English, Urdu and Punjabi dailies of Lahore. Some of them have also appeared in Saudi Gazette in English. The author has also contributed three collections of fiction and poetry and edited poetry of senior poets Maulvi Siraj Din and Qazi Alladin Kashah…one of the last Mughal Qazis.
Mudassar Bashir is very enthusiastic about all the subjects about which sizeable material is available in the print media but he needs more research so that whatever he proudly contributes to Punjabi may also be received proudly by the readers.
There is need for good quality research material in Punjabi and very valuable material about the Punjab is found in the Arabic and Persian manuscripts preserved in the Punjab University Library and the Punjab Public Library. The first step to unearth the hidden treasures is that index of all manuscripts should be prepared by students involved in early or primary research work. Moreover the material prepared for publication should be properly scrutinised by research scholars.
In this publication almost every chapter starts with a verse. Chapter on Pir Dhal starts with the following verse:
This has been attributed to Saeen Maula Shah which is wrong. This is one of those verses of Waris Shah which have become proverbs for centuries. Punjabi writers specially researchers need more care so as to meet the quality appreciation.
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NIKKI DUNYA…poetry for children by Dr Muhammad Riaz Shahid; pp 52; price Rs300 (hb…colour printing on art paper); Publishers, Punjabi Markaz, 7/A, Street 6, Koocha Muhammadi, Sultanpura, Lahore.E-mail: Punjabimarkaz@yahoo.com
Riaz Shahid is a senior teacher of Punjabi, did his doctorate on Bulleh Shah, has contributed many research articles to Punjabi. He is also a poet and concerned about the future generations of Punjabis which still have been deprived of the right of early education in their mother-tongue Punjabi.
He is one of those Punjabi writers who rightly think that successive Punjab governments have sacrificed the oldest literature of the Indus Valley at the altar of national rather official language of the country. Riaz Shahid has created and produced this colourful book for his grandchildren for who he has with one illustrated poem on every page. He says about mother tongue:
He wants to convey his message to the younger generations that they must give due attention to their mother tongue otherwise they will be dishonoured in the world communities.
The last portion of the book is about Thhaal genre … a folk genre for little girls.
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SUNEHA…literary organ of Punjabi Adabi Sangat; editors Shehzad Framosh, Snawar Chaddharr, Zulfikar Ali Sindhu; pp 64; Price Rs25 (pb); Published from 5 Khyber Park, Outfall Road, Sant Nagar, Lahore.
This is the 57th issue of the magazine of the Sangat, the only literary organization of Lahore having a regular monthly organ of its own. In the editorial, Snawar has lamented the highhandedness of the Punjabi political leaders and rulers for not giving Punjabi its due role in educational system like Sindhi and Pashto.
This issue contains an exhaustive article “Scientific Thinking in Punjabi Sufi poetry by Ghulam Rasool Asif”. It is the fifth installment. Perhaps that much longer articles may not be accommodated and instead literary news and views on current literary subjects would be welcomed more. — STM