Seven writers honoured with literary awards
The Jang Group and United Bank Limited (UBL) gave awards to seven writers in both Urdu and English in different categories at an impressive ceremony held at a hotel here on Thursday.
Those who got the ‘UBL-Jang Literary Excellence Awards 2012’ included Prof Sehar Ansari for Urdu poetry for his book ‘Khuda Sey Baat Kertey Hein’, Najm-ul-Hassan Rizvi for Urdu fiction ‘Marvi Aur Marjeena’, Tauseef Tabassum for Urdu non-fiction ‘Band Gali Mein Shaam’, Baqar Naqvi for Urdu translation ‘Nobel Amn Kay Sau Baras’, Faheem Alam for a children’s book in Urdu ‘Sunnat Kahani’, Yasmeen Hameed on best English book ‘Pakistani Urdu verse’, and Dr Hameeda Khuhro on best children’s book in English ‘Children’s history of Sindh’.
Eminent columnist Ghazi Salahuddin talked about the importance of books and writers in society.
He said this year is Saadat Hassan Manto’s year as his centenary is being observed while last year was Faiz Ahmed Faiz’s. He said fortunate was the society where Manto was born but it was unfortunate that he was not widely read and recognised.
In a way, Salahuddin said, the greatness of the writer was demonstrated when more and more people read their books. “Books are life and the books can change society,” Ghazi said, adding that there was a list of books that brought changes and revolutions.
“The people should read books to do justice with the writers,” suggested the former editor of The News.
He cited three recent examples, highlighting the importance of writers and books in shaping societies. Quoting an interview of Iranian writer Mehmood Daulatabadi, whose new novel was published in Britain recently, Ghazi said the great Iranian writer was arrested during the era of the Shah of Iran when a momentum was developing for the Iranian revolution of 1979. Once Mehmood asked about his crime, and dreaded intelligence agency officials informed him that he was detained because wherever they raided homes of radicals, his books were found there.
Citing another example of the importance of books, Salahuddin said the Library of Congress in the US was holding exhibitions of ‘Books that shaped America’, where original books that prompted the Americans to seek freedom from the British yoke and other books like John Steinbeck’s novel ‘The grapes of wrath’ have been put on display. This novel was based on injustices to the farmers that prompted the Congress to pass legislation.
He said that in the recent presidential polls in France, candidates recited excerpts from books of famous French writer Victor Hugo as part of their election campaigns.
The senior journalist also read out excerpts from short stories of Manto pertaining to the Partition violence etc on this occasion.
Sarmad Ali of the Jang Group said the Jang media group has joined the efforts to promote books and recognise writers to bring the new generation back to books as youths were excessively involved in the Internet and TV. He said books helped to make one a good human being.
The media’s primary role was to disseminate information but the Jang Group was also playing its social responsibility and its one way was to give awards to Pakistani writers.
Sarmad Ali said the Jang media group had prepared a CD, which contained Zia Mohyeddin’s rendition of Saadat Hassan Manto on his centenary year. He noted that the Jang Group also planned to prepare such a CD about Meeraji.
The president and CEO of UBL, Atif R Bokhari, said the bank had been playing its role in promoting social and cultural activities since its very beginning in 1960s. Its founder late Agha Hassan Abidi had laid the foundation for such activities and he (Abidi) even donated one ward to the SIUT. These activities were stopped during the nationalisation of banks, he said, adding that nationalisation was a “disaster” for the country economically.
Manto’s daughter Nuzhat Arshad, who arrived from Lahore to grace the occasion, in her brief remarks thanked the organisers for “honouring” her.
The Jang-UBL also distributed mementos to writer Fatima Suriya Bajia, Nuzhat Arshad, Romana Hussain, Ameena Syed and Zubaida Tariq for their contribution to Pakistani culture.
Najeeb Agrawalla and Anita Mirza of UBL and Raheem Khan of the Jang Group also spoke. They said the last year, they got around 68 entries for different categories while this year they received over 200 entries.
The panel of judges included Dr Noman-ul-Haq, Syed Mazhar Jamil, Anwer Mooraj and Muneeza Shamsi.