Karachi:The role of Pakistani writers has been lacking with regards to creating awareness related to the humanities such as literature, poetry, philosophy, linguistics, and history in present times, but the latest issue of the Urdu quarterly, Ijra, published by Beyond Time Publications Karachi has successfully raised important questions about knowledge as well as education in humanities in relation to the role of writers and civil society in this regard.
In his editorial note titled ‘Khayaban-e-Khial’, Ijra’s patron-in-chief Shaheen Niazi, commented on society’s elite and wrote that this social class was more focused on material gains compared to the humanities. Niazi regretted the fact that Pakistani authors played a weak role in spreading knowledge about the humanities in present times. Referring to ‘The Christmas Carroll’ by Charles Dickens, ‘Vanity Fair’ by W M Thachery as well as books by Mark Twain, he said that western authors better understood emerging issues of their times and through their writings they set out to educate people in this regard.
According to him, ‘Gone with the wind’ by American novelist Margrate Mitchell was not only exemplary in its portrayal of the United States’ Civil War in the 19th century, it also documented the changing trends of society which followed the industrial revolution. Niazi was of the opinion that writers and opinion makers in any civil society have an obligation to educate people in humanities and about humanism.
In Pakistan, however, the literary world has painted a very different picture. To some extent the authors’ treatment of the humanities in books such as ‘Nadar Log’ and ‘Bagh’ by Abdullah Hussain, ‘Khuda Ki Basti’ by Shaukat Siddiqui and ‘Moth Smoke’ by Mohsin Ahmed were noteworthy but not quite satisfactory, Niazi observed. He mentioned the recently published book, ‘Beyond the crises stake’, published under the editorship of Maleeha Lodhi and said that this underlined the issue of education as a solution to social crisis, but not much was written about the role of the humanities.
He emphasised on the need for the literary community, civil society as well as the government to take this issue more seriously. Niazi concluded that in the latest publication of Ijra, Editor Ahsan Saleem has taken up the issue of ‘literature for change’ which aimed to promote education in the humanities as a trigger great social change.
Saleem presented his Urdu poem, ‘Ik dia jalaaun ga’, as his editorial note as it took stock of the current situation and portrayed a desire to change society through the representation of the collective consciousness.
Ijra boasts a sound team of writers including honourary editors Mumtaz Rafique and Qudsia Nadeem Lali, members of the supervisory board Dr Anwar Sajjad, Shakeel A’adilzada, Taj Joyo and Sabir Zafar, and members of the advisory Syed Ayaz Mehmood, Waqar Anjum Rao, Naseem Syed, Yaseem Khalid, Amjad Javed Hashmi as well as Dr A’ashiq Hussain Al-badvi.
Ijra’s latest quarterly has also presented the fourth chapter of William James Durant’s ‘The Story of Civilization’ in Urdu. The translation has been provided by Shaheen Niazi who has previously translated other works by Durant and his translations stay true to the original text’s insight on history, sociology, politics, psychology and philosophy. Other writer’s have contributed to the quarterly with respect to literature for change, translations, and linguistics. These include Dr Anwar Sadeed, Rauf Niazi, Abbas Rizvi, Dr Aashiq Hussain Al-badvi and Nasir Shamsi.
The issue has also published noteworthy translations from English to Urdu by the likes of Samina Shaheen, Khursheed Rizvi, Asad Muhammad Khan, Abul Farah Himayun, Afzal Ahmed Syed and Tanveer Ahmed. Poetry also took its rightful place within the pages of Ijra through works like ‘Hamd’, ‘Na’at’,’Ghazal’, ‘Doha’, and ‘Geet’. The poets include Zafar Iqbal, Anwar Shaoor, Riaz Majeed, Attaur Rehman Qazi, Riaz Nadeem Niazi, Ilm Saba Navidi, Firasat Rizvi, Kirshan Kumar Taur, Zia Shabnami, Sabir Zafar, Aleemullah Hali, Saleem Kausar, Shahida Tabasum, Das Ahmed Umer Sharif, Dr Tahir Saeed Haroon, Ishtiaq Talib, Gulnar Afreen, Syed Zahid Haider, Syed Ayaz Mehmood, Danial Tareer and Hameed Anjum.
Literary works on fiction (novelette and short stories) were contributed by prominent writers such as Mansha Yaad, A Khayyam, Tahir Naqvi, Qadeer Ghausi, Saleem Agha Qazalbash, Muhammad Aminuddin, Shafique Anjum and Iqbal Khursheed. Other contributors included Parto Rohaila, Dr Mirza Hamid Beg, Dr Kausar Mehmood, Musharraf Alam Zoqi, Rehman Nishat, Syed Afzal Qadir and many others. Their articles contained crucial discussions that helped the reader better understand the world of Urdu literature.The news.