Monday, November 28, 2022

Ammi and Mumun: Son’s befitting tribute to super mom Bano Qudsia on 94th anniversary

By Aneeq Ahmed
(Exclusive to Pakistan News & Features Services)

Ammi and mumun (my grandmother Zakira Chatha) were pillars of our home, Dastan Serai. Ammi held the physical and exoteric encumbrances with my father and mumun the spiritual and esoteric loads of the Serai. 

The relationship between the two was over 70 years old with so many things in common that it would be next to impossible to recount them all in one go. One thing that became beneficial to me in my school and college life was their love for mathematics. 

Mumun had Bachelor of Teaching (BT) degree and Ammi had completed her bachelors with double math from Kinnaird College, Lahore. 

In my early school years mumun taught arithmetic, and Ammi taught me (and my brothers) mathematics, geometry, calculus and trigonometry all the way for from secondary school to college years. I must confess here that I faced a great deal of difficulty with all these subjects. 

To learn math, as I understand it today, one needs to have clarity of mind, and love for simplifying constructs and integrating them back to their original forms, merging them with other constructs to form complexes that render never ending ‘aha’ experiences of awe and joy. 

I could not understand that in my school and college years. Dastan Serai was a colossal complex, with abundant incoming traffic of people; which translated into flooding of their pressing problems, their lost or about-to-be lost hopes, their achievements and their desires to be acknowledged for what they had done. 

Every cataclysm of this complex, each day was decomposed by Ammi (and mumun in the background) to its granular form and solved with steps simplified as in algebraic equations; were knowns and unknowns are separated for clarity and goal-directed solutions. 

Some problems were solved immediately using analogies from previous solutions, others were divided into parts were each part was solved over time, and still others were solved with possible solutions with many solution options much like quadratic equations and left for people to decide which way to proceed. 
Among all this human anarchy, tutoring mathematics was never missed. I would dillydally with excuses empathizing with Ammi that you have too much load today, many people need your attention and help; may be we could work tomorrow on these theorems and figure out their solutions at a better time, she would gracefully acknowledge my concern but open up the next page of the text and start solving the problem going over the steps for its solution. 

I could not learn mathematics the way Ammi desired but I started to like the subject and these days I do stop to look at a YouTube video that solves a simple and easy algebraic equation for old memories’ sake. 

I completely understand and agree with her admirers that she was a great thinker, a creative genius and a seasoned writer, but she is just Ammi to me, I miss her, I miss her whiff, her presence and her quizzical expressions that would warn me not to embark on paths that would go nowhere. I really do miss her a lot. May Allah grant her the highest Heaven where she is close to His love. Ameen.

Jumbo Publishing’s tribute to Bano Qudsia the great on her 94th birth anniversary

By Syed Khalid Mahmood
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

Just a handful of greats have impacted the literature canvas of Pakistan as much as the legendary Bano Qudsia whose 94th birth anniversary is being celebrated on November 28, 2022. She is talked about with awe even today and her writings are revered as much as they were in the yesteryears. 

She was novelist, playwright and spiritualist of the highest pedigree and her contribution to Urdu literature remained overwhelming to say the least. She distinguished herself by writing novels, short stories, dramas and plays which are still relevant and famous. 

She had found a perfect companion in Ashfaq Ahmed, who had immortalized himself with scholastic deeds of his own. It was rare to find such a high-profile couple living and supporting each other all the way. Their partnership was broken only when the husband breathed his last in 2004 and his partner for all occasions followed him in the Heavens about 13 years later. 

The couple was blessed with three sons, one of whom, Aneeq Ahmed, followed in the footsteps of his illustrious parents to become a renowned writer before moving on to the profession of research. 

The plays of Bano Qudsia and Ashfaq Ahmed had not only enlivened the literary scene of the country but they also turned out to be lifeline for the newly established Pakistan Television (PTV) which used to be the sole provider of entertainment on air for the masses. It was many decades later when the satellite arena boomed and people got hold of the remote to switch on from one television channel to another. 

Bano Qudsia thrived at a time when the quality of content was the sole criterion for a playwright to be judged or assessed. She did have a few critics around but the vast majority of the audience stayed glued to their television sets whenever her drama or play was telecast. 

Adhi Baat, Tamasil, Hawa Kay Naam, Seharay and Khaleej were among the most famous plays written by her. Her novel Raja Gidh has been acclaimed as modern Urdu classic while Aatish-e-Zer-e-Paa, Aik Din, Asay Pasay, Chahar Chaman, Chhotaa Sheher Baray Log, Footpath Ki Ghaas and Haasil Ghaat were other popular books authored by her. 
Ashfaq Ahmed's autobiography Baba Saheba was incomplete at the time of his death and Qudsia completed the biography whose second part was published as Rah-i-Rawaan. The contrast in the narrative styles of the couple was evident in these two books as the first half was considered provoking, lucid and utterly spellbinding by critics and the second half reflected the feeling of sorrow. 

Bano Qudsia, born on November 28, 1928, at Firozpur, died in Lahore on February 4, 2017. She had migrated to Lahore with her family after the partition of India and had begun writing short stories while studying in primary classes. She graduated from the Kinnaird College in Lahore and then joined the Government College University (GCU) in Lahore to earn her master's degree in Urdu literature completed in 1951. 

She was awarded the Sitara-e-Imtiaz and Hilal-e-Imtiaz by the Government of Pakistan in 1983 and 2010 respectively while she received PTV’s Best Writer Award in 1986. The Pakistan Academy of Letters (PAL) decorated her with the Kamal-e-Fun Award while the GCU's Old Ravians Union (GCU-ORU) conferred on her a lifetime achievement award.

Friday, October 21, 2022

Enlightening session with author Raees Fatima

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

Eminent literary figure and educationist, Professor Raees Fatima, has distinguished herself by writing columns, stories and novels in an illustrious career spanning quite a few decades. She has authored as many as 16 books in Urdu and she has the willingness to continue writing with the same passion which has been her trademark. 

In an enlightening session with Syed Khalid Mahmood, Chairman, Jumbo Publishing, who is also the Advisor of the National Library Association (NLA), and Farheen Mahmood, a college principal and Vice President, NLA, the celebrated author expressed the desire to have her writing works read by a larger pool of people. 

“As all the 17 titles of mine have become out of stock and the record copies are also shrinking fast, I am open to the idea of these books getting reprinted while I aim to work on a couple of new books as well. I am also interested in having the contents of my book digitalized so that they could be preserved for posterity,” she shared.

“Naturally it’s the dream of every writer or author to have his or her writing work reach a wider audience. I consider myself really fortunate that my books have remained in demand and they were sold out at many of the famous outlets much more quickly than anticipated,” Raees Fatima revealed. 

Talking about her books, she recalled her two travelogues of India in particular which were very warmly received by a large number of her fans and followers. Initially her columns about both the trips were published in Daily Express, one of the leading Urdu newspapers of Pakistan, before their publication in book form on public demand.

Both her travelogues indeed are very crisply written and Raees Fatima has narrated the tales of the historic Indian cities like Delhi, Agra and Ahmedabad which keep the readers captivated. She has described the events in an objective manner, pleading for peace between the two neighbouring countries.

Tuesday, October 11, 2022

Financial Daily flashes Chinese recognition for Mayar-e-Zindagi

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi 
(Pakistan News & Features Services
The Financial Daily, one of the top daily newspapers of the country, published from Karachi, has prominently carried the news of Jumbo Publishing’s book Mayar-e-Zindagi, authored by Asma Hassan, earning praise from a Chinese banker. 

It may be recalled that the President of the National Library Association (NLA), Syed Muzaffar Ali Shah, had recently presented a copy of Mayar-e-Zindagi to Peter Zhang Hongpeng, Deputy CEO and Deputy General of the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) in Karachi. 

Besides admiring the NLA's gesture of book presentation, the Chinese banker, when explained about the motivational contents of Mayar-e-Zindagi, had nodded in its appreciation.

Wednesday, September 14, 2022

Mayar-e-Zindagi presented at Balochistan University

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

The President of the National Library Association (NLA), Syed Muzaffar Ali Shah, presented a copy of Jumbo Publishing’s marquee book Mayar-e-Zindagi, authored by promising motivational writer Asma Hassan, to Shahzadi Rahmatullah, working as lecturer at University of Balochistan’s Library & Information Science Department. 

The presentation took place at the university campus in Quetta on September 14 when the NLA President called on the seasoned lecturer, who has herself authored as many as seven books on the subject of Library & Information Science. 

Shahzadi Rahmatullah welcomed the publication of motivational books which, she reckoned, help in guiding the youngsters in particular. She praised the content of Mayar-e-Zindagi which comprise of Asma Hassan’s articles on various facets of life. 

Commending the initiatives of the NLA for the cause of the librarians all over the country, she assured her support to the Association in achieving their mutual goals of promoting library science.

Tuesday, September 13, 2022

Chinese accolades for Mayar-e-Zindagi

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi 
Pakistan News & Features Services)

After having earned recognition and praise from stalwarts of various fields in the country, Jumbo Publishing’s popular book Mayar-e-Zindagi, authored by emerging writer Asma Hassan, has now also been lauded by foreigners. 

The President of the National Library Association (NLA), Syed Muzaffar Ali Shah, presented a copy of Mayar-e-Zindagi to Peter Zhang Hongpeng, Deputy CEO and Deputy General of the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) in Karachi. 

Besides appreciating NLA's gesture of book presentation, the Chinese banker, when explained also commended the contents of Mayar-e-Zindagi.

The NLA President expressed his desire to have Mayar-e-Zindagi translated in Chinese language to let the nation of more than a billion people be enlightened by the meaningful articles of the book, aimed at improving life.

Friday, September 9, 2022

Poet’s tribute to Mayar-e-Zindagi

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

Raheel Ahmed Narejo, working as Assistant Director at State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), who is also a poet, has praised Jumbo Publishing’s trendy book Mayar-e-Zindagi, authored by Asma Hassan, an emerging writer from Lahore. 

Posted at Currency Management Hub, South, of the central bank, the literary minded Raheel Narejo was presented a copy of Mayar-e-Zindagi by Syed Muzaffar Ali Shah, President of the National Library Association (NLA), who has also been serving the SBP with distinction for the last many years. 

Raheel Narejo, besides appreciating the contents of Mayar-e-Zindagi, also commended the NLA for having launched the initiated the move of gifting books to individuals and institutions in an effort to revive the reading culture in the society. 

While wishing his best to the NLA, the SBP Assistant Director expressed the hope that the Association will be extended the desired supported by the various stakeholders to achieve the mutual objective of bringing about positive changes in the society.