‘Jon hona koi mazaq nahin’
Karachi: book on Jon Elia’s life authored by his niece launched Friday evening was a treat for fans of Jon Elia, one of the most celebrated Urdu poets of the present era, as a much-awaited book by his niece Shahana Raees Elia, “Chicha Jon”, was launched at the Arts Council, Karachi. “The people of Amroha are intriguing in many ways…except themselves [people living in Amroha], they think of the 7.15 billion people on Earth as outsiders,” said noted writer and author, Mubashir Ali Zaidi, in a lighter vein while commenting on the culture and traditions of Amroha – the birthplace of Jon Elia.Highlighting a unique point of the biography, he said the writer had authored the book in a way as if she was talking to her uncle, which was contrary to the popular style of biography writing, in which authors tend to prefer narrating memories and stories for the readers.
Zaidi, who also hails from Amroha, added that the unique style of the biography had made it possible to directly interact with Jon Elia. He said that reading the book was an opportunity at a glimpse into who Jon Elia was in everyday life. He, however, lamented the fact that speakers at book launches usually didn’t read the book, and there were even cases where they didn’t even bother to skim through the pages.
This, said Zaidi, resulted in tedious speeches at such events which end with no substance being delivered, let alone actual constructive critique of the book, for which the events are really arranged.Renowned painter Shahid Rassam discussed his memories with Jon Elia, who he remembered fondly as “a master and guru”.“He was a genuine poet. He used to wake up in the middle of the night to pen down a stanza, and would then sleep again till late in the morning,” said the artist, who has also sketched several portraits of the poet.
Speaking on the occasion, poet Aqeel Abbas Jafari, recalling his memories of Jon, said the great poet had explained philosophical problems through his works, that too with diction that was comprehensible for all readers.Following Jafari’s talk, the host of the programme, Qaiser Munawwar while appearing on the stage lamented that the speakers did not bring the book into their accounts – an observation that Mubahsir Ali Zaidi had earlier made in his talk.
The vice president of the Karachi Arts Council, Professor Sahar Ansari, however, highlighted the importance and different aspects of the book. He said the book would help the younger generations discover the personality of Jon Elia, since the poet was very popular among the youth and they want to know about his life. He, however, expressed displeasure over the fact that Jon Elia was being reduced to a poet of the youth only. “The philosophical and intellectual sides of Jon are yet to be discussed and understood. Quoting only his famous couplets, which are more popular in public, depicts a misleading picture of Jon.” Congratulating the author of the biography, Ansari requested her to pen down another book on Jon Elia so that those memories and stories could also be made public which were left unwritten. Presiding over the ceremony, noted poet and scholar Pirzada Qasim also congratulated the author and said termed the biography well-crafted and beautifully written.
He said poets like Jon Elia were produced once in a blue moon and he had been through many ups and downs in life.
Shahana Raees Elia said her uncle was a different kind of a person among his family members and he had left his own signature in every aspect of life. She thanked her family members and relatives who had urged and helped her to write the biography. “My uncle made me vow to write his biography. It was an uphill task for me, but my family members and relatives helped me a lot to complete it.” It was heart-warming to see that a number of people attended the ceremony, so much that the organisers had to bring more chairs during the programme in the Manzar Akbar Hall of the Karachi Arts Council.