Book on musical instrument ‘chang’ launched
KARACHI: A book about a centuries-old indigenous musical instrument from the Indus valley titled Chang by the late journalist and writer Shaikh Aziz was launched at the Karachi Press Club (KPC) on Saturday evening.
Alauddin Khanzada was the first speaker. He said with the passage of time Shaikh sahib’s many talents are coming to the fore. He was a journalist who treated his contemporaries and juniors with affection. He was a regular visitor to the Karachi Press Club (KPC) and would invariably be found in the upper portion of the club’s building (baala khana). Not only was he a journalist but was also a fine writer. He also knew a great deal about music and could play different musical instruments. He wrote a book on an instrument, chang, that not many people know about, particularly the general public.
The author’s son, Tariq Shaikh, said the process for publishing the book had begun in 2017 with the help of Sindh’s culture department. He added that his father thought of the KPC as his second home.
Ali Mohammad then played the chang in order to acquaint the media and the author’s admirers how the instrument sounds and what kind of effort goes into its playing.
Akhtar Dargahi drew attention towards those rare individuals who have done research on a single instrument. He said chang had to do with soz (grief).
The writer’s daughter Moniza Shaikh Aziz said her father was many things to many people: guru, mentor, murshid etc. To her, he was a hero who taught her and her siblings two things. One: select a field and excel in it. Two: honesty. She told the audience that she grew up in an environment in which she was surrounded by a library of books and cassettes.
The marked feature of the launch was the speech by renowned classical singer and musicologist Dr Zulfiqar Ali Qureshi who first talked about his association with Shaikh sahib and then masterfully demonstrated notes of a few ragas to illustrate how music has evolved in the region over the years. He also sang alongside Ali Mohammad who played the chang to highlight the rhythmic flow of the instrument. He urged the authorities concerned to introduce music as a subject in colleges and universities.
Madad Ali Sindhi said three years ago it was decided that Shaikh sahib’s book would be published. Then the writer passed away. While returning from his funeral it seemed to him as if the late author was asking him about what’s going to be done about the book? He thanked Sindh’s culture minister Syed Sardar Ali Shah for lending a helping hand in publishing the book, claiming that without his support it wouldn’t have been possible to publish the research work.
He said Shaikh sahib gave 50 years of his life to journalism. Today journalism has assumed a different shape as the institution of editor in Sindhi journalism doesn’t exist anymore.
Yousuf Shaheen said Shaikh sahib was his friend and his death was a great loss.
Mehtab Akbar Rashdi said the launch was arranged with a lot of love and affection. She pointed out that when Shaikh sahib went into journalism, he was totally committed to it, which was why he had command of three languages — Sindhi, English and Urdu. “You could see his internal strength. Music was his passion and the book is indicative of that passion.” She also talked about the changing times saying “we are very close but not close”.
Yasir Qazi moderated the event.