A literary treasure

Karachi:The latest issue of Urdu quarterly titled ‘Ijra’ is worth reading and has very good content covering a lot of subjects and focusing many questions in regard to the promotion of literature and literary values.
Shaheen Niazi, who is patron-in-chief of the quarterly and also a well-known intellectual, writer and critic, has done a great job by translating the famous work titled ‘The Story of Civilisation’ by William James Durant. The quarterly has published the third part of translated work by Niazi and it is fantastic in terms of usage of diction, language and communication of issues of ‘Civilisations’.

The translation is good in that a general reader can get the undercurrents of the translated works in terms of the context of history, sociology, psychology and philosophical viewpoints and conceptions about the division of work and living styles of men, women, family and other developments. Will Durant had seen life and question of existence of state, state actors, nations, communities, laws, likings, biases, desires and demands of different societies, governments, people and groups of people in this world.
Durant (born on November 5, 1885 and died on November 7, 1981) was a Prolific American philosopher and historian and his work “The Story of Civilisation’ had gained fame across the globe. The work compiled in 11 volumes was published between 1935 and 1975. His wife Ariel Durant had assisted him in writing and compiling these volumes and both were highly acclaimed for this great work.

Shaheen Niazi in his editorial note titled ‘Guftagu’ has examined the question of modernity in literature while underlining different past movements on literature and contemporary trends as well and rejected the idea to give up efforts of creation and creativity on the grounds that the poets were repeating past poetry or portraying outdated thoughts and feelings in Urdu literature. Niazi has stressed upon the examination of the social fabric and overall living systems before the rejection of the ideas and thoughts being produced by the writers in Urdu.

Another editorial note by Editor of ‘Ijra’, Ahsan Saleem, has highlighted the fact that the need of the hour was to rethink and reconsider the liabilities and it was duty of contemporary writers to realise their obligations towards society. The editorial notes that knowledge was imperative for practice, but true and positive knowledge, if it was applied in practice, could bring about positive changes. He is of the view that literature could bring about the actual changes on the role of people in the advancement of the society. In other words, he pleads the cause of ‘literature for change’ and to achieve this goal he has urged the writers to put their heads together and think on the promotion of the reading habit and such a literature that could motive people to play a role in changing the society in the true sense in terms of progress and advancement.

Two other articles on the question of influence of literature in changing prevalent plight have been written by Nasir Shamsi and Shahida Tabassum. They have examined different aspects of the matter of literature, writers and their performance towards the social set-up.

The issue also presents valuable translated works by Samina Shaheen, Ahmed Sagheer Siddiqui, Saleem Siddiqui, Dr Shaheen Mufti, Abul Farah Humayun, Afzal Ahmed Syed and many other writers and translators have either translated Rabindranath Tagore, O. Henry, Somerset Maugham, and other pieces from English literature, German literature, Bengali literature, Korean literature and other pieces from different languages and no doubt these are wonderful efforts.
The section of poetry presents works by Anwar Sha’oor, Sarshar Siddiqui, Zafar Iqbal, Sarmad Sehbai, Jameel Yousuf, Zia Shabnami, Shahab Safdar, Akhtar Raza Saleemi, Mohsin Asrar, Safdar Siddiq Razi and many other poets and poetesses. Besides a very good collection of short stories by several prominent writers including Mansha Yaad, Rasheed Amjad, Iqbal Fareedi, Saira Ghulam Nabi, Iqbal Nazar, Abbas Rizvi and Iqbal Khursheed have been included, whereas more creative and mind-blowing ‘dohe’ and ‘geet’ (lyrics), have been presented by Das Ahmed Omar Shareef, Ishtiaq Talib, Tahir Saeed Haroon, Syed Zahid Haider and pen-sketches by Musharaf Alam Zoqi, Saleem Kausar and A’amir Sohail included in the latest quarterly produced a very good impact. Moreover Dr Saleem Akhtar, Dr Anwar Sajjad, Dr Shakeelur Rehamn, Dr Irtiza Kareem, Dr Nasir Hussain Nayyar, Dr Ziaul Hasan, Asrar Hussain, M. Khalid Fayyaz, Akhar Hamid Khan, Firasat Rizvi, Syed Ayaz Mehmood, Anwar Farhad, Zaheer Khan, Dr. S.M. Moin Qureshi, Shaukat Jamal and others have contributed by writing on aesthetic, topics in Urdu poetry, personalities (like Artist Iqbal Hussain and writers, Prof Ali Haider Malick, Anwar Masood and Nasim Anjum) and also other analytical pieces on current literary issues. Dr Anwar Sadeed, Dr Muhammad Ameen, Karamat Bukhari, Falak Sher Cheema, Faheem Shanas Kazimi, Syed Kashif Raza, Sa’adia Naseer, Naina A’adil, Jalil A’ali and many other have also made very good contribution in terms of writing prose and poetry.The news