Qaumi Zaban’s Jamiluddin Aali edition published
KARACHI: Urdu literary magazine Qaumi Zaban’s edition dedicated to the late poet and scholar Jamiluddin Aali was launched at the Anjuman Taraqqi-i-Urdu office on Saturday. Speaking on the occasion, Dr Fatema Hassan said the edition was not just a copy of a magazine but a document about the Anjuman because Aali had been associated with the organisation for a long time. She said on the literary front his services were of no less value. Though his songs acquired a great deal of popularity, his epic poem ‘Insaan’, for which a special section is given in the edition, had no parallels. She said the editors received so many essays and articles on him that it became difficult for them to decide what to publish, which was why they had to stop at 360 pages. She claimed they still had so much material that another magazine of similar thickness could be printed.
Writer Zahida Hina said when she started reading the magazine the first piece that she went through was Fatema Hassan’s editorial. She appreciated the fact that Dr Hassan had mentioned other national languages in it which meant that the Anjuman was not just meant for the Urdu language and its readers. Ms Hina said Aali was a poet who travelled all over the globe but always kept thinking about his own people. She said his care for his own people made him write prose. She said in his writings he often referred to Greek and Roman philosophers so that his readers could become familiar with their ideas. She said his poem ‘Insaan’ was extremely important. She said since Aali had a jagirdar background there was a streak of male chauvinism in him, but in ‘Insaan’, alongside the question of as to when would human stop going to war, he had also touched upon the issue of women getting their due in society. She said Aali’s dream may not come true in her lifetime, but was not impossible.
Prof Sahar Ansari said the edition was a compilation of essays that the editors of the monthly collected in the last six months (Aali died on Nov 23, 2015). He said to come up with a magazine focusing on a single subject was a difficult task. He agreed with Dr Hassan that a journal of similar size too could be published. He said Aali had many facets to his personality and work and all those facets had been covered in the magazine. Prof Ansari said Aali had developed his own way of writing the doha. He said the poet used to say that he was the Amir Khusrau of Urdu when it came to the doha. He said he dabbled in other forms of poetry as well and quoted a couple of his verses, the first of which was: Aali ka kia zikr karo ho, kavi to woh kahlaey, Jo nakhun se parbat kaatey aur parbat kat jaaey, [Don’t talk about Aali, the one who writes poetry Cuts mountains with his fingernails] Prof Ansari said Aali’s greatest achievement was the poem ‘Insaan’ which took him more than 50 years to complete. Editor of Qaumi Zaban Dr Mumtaz Ahmed Khan said problems were faced during the publication of such a hefty edition. That’s the reason, he said, there could be a feeling that something had gone amiss. He said in the November edition of this year, the Anjuman would publish some more material on Aali.
Retired Justice Haziqul Khairi, who presided over the event, said he had known Aali from pre-partition days when the poet was studying in the Anglo Arabic College in Delhi and he (Khairi) was in Anglo Arabic School. He said Aali was deputy editor of the college’s magazine and Khairi’s elder brother was its editor. He said Aali used to come to his home with people such as Akhtarul Iman and Majaz. After partition, he said, he started going to India Coffee House in Karachi where writers and poets gathered and discussed all kind of issues and there, too, he interacted with Aali. He said once he began to practise law, he got membership of the Writers’ Guild of which Aali was an important part. Justice Khairi said Aali was instrumental in having the Copyright Law passed. He narrated a few anecdotes involving Aali which the audience enjoyed. Hinting at the importance of Aali’s work, he said during his visit to Turkey, a man asked Khairi where was he from. When he replied he was from Pakistan, the man shouted, “Jeevey Jeevey Pakistan.”