Sindhi fiction writer Ali Baba remembered
KARACHI: Intellectuals and writers paid homage to Ali Baba, a leading fiction writer, at a programme held here on Wednesday. The writer’s novel Moenjodaro was considered his most celebrated work in Sindhi fiction.
Ali Mohammad Rind, better known as Ali Baba, had died in August 2016. He is regarded as a prolific and one of the few ‘original’ writers of Sindhi language, who wrote in almost all forms of fiction, attained fame but remained impecunious for most of his life.
“His troubles forced him to lead a Bohemian lifestyle, still he kept on searching for the secrets of life but shared only a few of them with us,” said Madad Ali Sindhi, also a renowned fiction writer, in his keynote speech at the event.
The programme was organised by the Friends of Sindhu Civilisation and the Indigenous Rights Alliance at the Arts Council of Pakistan, Karachi.
Ali Baba wrote short stories, TV plays and a novel Moenjodaro, a critically acclaimed piece of writing for its unique technique, unparalleled imagination and poetic diction.
Mr Sindhi said Moenjodaro was the most beautiful piece of fiction in Sindhi, which could compete with the modern world classics.
“Its beautiful language, its settings and storyline all produce a huge combined effect on the reader. The name of Sambara for the novel’s character of dancing girl was used for the first time in a story,” he said.
He asked why that novel could not attract the praise it deserved and replied himself: “Ali Baba was a man who could not manoeuvre to make money and attain fame.”
He said Ali Baba was a committed writer, a dreamer, who lived a life of his own choice. He dreamed of a prosperous and ideal Sindh, he said.
Singer and writer Bedil Masroor Badvi, formerly a PTV producer, spoke at length on Ali Baba’s contribution to TV drama.
He said the writer’s first input was a drama based on Naseem Kharal’s short story Kacho rang after which he wrote countless plays of his own of which Dungi-a manjh darya won a prize in a drama festival in Munich in 1981. The play was telecast in 1976.
Mr Badvi said Ali Baba also wrote dance-dramas in Urdu, which could not be produced because of his lifestyle that did not allow him to settle down.
Speakers said Ali Baba’s fiction featured Sindh’s history, marginalised communities and socio-economic conditions. His short story, Dharti dhikana (uprooted people) featured miseries
of the partition in 1947, while Karoonjhar jo qaidi (Prisoner of Karoonjhar) focused on Sindhi freedom fighter Rooplo Kolhi who fought against the British rule in Karoonjhar mountain in Thar.
Columnist Aijaz Mangi said Ali Baba had turned into a legend of Sindh who had left so much behind that no single researcher would be able to completely discover him over the decades to come.
Researcher Gul Hasan Kalmati said Ali Baba deserved appreciation, which he was denied when he was alive. It was time to celebrate his life and works with vigour and respect, he said.
Khadim Hussain Soomro, Younis Mahar, and Mumtaz Ridd also spoke.