Pirzada Qasim is an Urdu poet and the vice chancellor of Ziauddin University. He previously served as the vice chancellor of the University of Karachi
What are you reading these days?
I had briefly gone through Pakistan: A Hard Country by Anatol Lieven. But now I have started on a more careful reading of the book and feel that it is based on good analysis of the ground realities of Pakistan’s religious, social and geo-political scenario. The book could help the West, and particularly the US, develop a deeper knowledge about Pakistan.
Which books are on your bedside table?
The collected poems of Ted Hughes. They cover over five decades in a single volume of more than a 1,000 pages. His beautiful and powerful poetry affirms that he was the top ranked poet of England, indeed the Poet Laureate in the 1980’s.
Also, Raza Ali Abidi’s latest book, Kitabayn Apne Aba Ki that discusses the treasure of valuable books preserved by the India Office Library at the British Library. Mr Abidi has chosen 100 books to review. It is indeed an excellent effort.
Which titles are on your bucket list of books?
Definitely some titles on current affairs and poetry. I would like to read more poetry of Satyapal Anand and Gulzar. I have gone through Mustaqbil: Aa Mujh Se Mil by Satyapal Anand and Raat Pashminay Ki by Gulzar and found them to contain remarkable poetry.
What is the one book/author you feel everyone must read?
I feel that Mushtaq Ahmed Yusufi could be the one author because his work is well received by a very large readership in Urdu.
He can inculcate in his readers great sense of responsibility and the value of our lives.
He writes satire but the ultimate of his deliberations is a serious view of our society.
What are you planning to reread?
I am planning to reread Ghubar-i-Khatir by Maulana Abdul Kalam Azad. This will be the eighth time I will reread the book. I would also like to reread Tazkara Tul Aulia.
What is the one book you read because you thought it would make you appear smarter?
I do not deliberately read books to make myself appear smarter. Books make you smart with new knowledge and concepts.
There are many books which made me richer conceptually and I would like to read more of such books. For example, Evidence of Purpose by Templeton.
What is the one book you started reading but could not finish?
There are many books which I abandoned midway because I could not feel involved in the text or found that the same has already been narrated by somebody else in a better way.
What is your favourite childhood book or story?
In my childhood pertinent books for children were not very many. However, my favourites were magazines like Khilona, Taleem-o-Tarbiyat and Nonehal and, of course, comics in English. Some newspapers at that time also started publishing pages for young people and those were quite popular.