Sunday, 26 August 2012

IQBAL a biography by Khurram Ali Shafique

Nonfiction is considered boring and tedious reading but not when it is written by someone as gifted as Khurram Ali Shafique, who uses pen like flute and through that what flows is always relishing and mesmerizing.

I had read the first two volumes of Iqbal's biography and was keenly waiting for the next part and when I got this 3rd volume before the Eid holidays I knew that these Eid holidays would certainly be more than just holidays. All those who have read Khurram Ali Shafique know that he not only surprises readers with his profound insights and an unusual and remarkable way of looking at things but at the same time he crafts his lines so beautifully like a skilled curator that captures the readers’ attention till the last word is written and even after that point reader remains intoxicated for a long long time.

IQBAL: volume 3 , the middle period, is a voluminous undertaking, a book that spreads to 944 pages of immaculate research, beautiful narrative and ingenious insight. The book is divided into 9 chapters of unequal length and has been given a title which provides essence of the period that was under consideration. Each chapter is written point wise like the previous two volumes and each point is given a number and a point contains a complete event, a thought or a description. It is sometimes a lengthy paragraph and sometimes just a sentence but still it narrates a complete picture in itself. The complete book comprises of 1459 such eventful points.

The chapters have very interesting titles which corresponds to the basic current underling the period which they belong to, the list is:
1-Khudi ka nashamen (January 1914 to June 1915) خودی کا نشیمن
2-Ma ka mazar (July to August 1915) ماں کا مزار
3-Nizam uddin Auloia ki Basti September 1915 to August 1916 نظام الدین اولیا کی بستی
4-Milat ka Derbar September 1916 to June 1917 ملت کا دربار
5-Taqdeer ki Mahfil July 1917 to April 1918 تقدیر کی محفل
6-Goethe ki Dersga April 1918 to November 1920 گوئٹے کی درسگاہ
7-Abe Hayat ka Chashma November 1920 to April 1922. آب حیات کا چشمہ
8-Samrna April to September 1922 سمرنا
9-Hafiz ka Mekhana September to December 1922 حافظ کا میخانہ

Once 9 chapters end one wish that more was there to be read as the pleasure that the 807 pages provided and built a feeling of enormous interest in the life of a genius that Iqbal was, the Appendix appears. This is as interesting and useful as the preceding nine chapters were and the book thus culminates on a very satisfying note but with a promise that the best is still to come as the next book deals with the prime period of Iqbal and is titled Daur e Urooj and so very rightly promises that the best is still to come.

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

2017 The Battle for Marghdeen

Within nature there is a phenomenon that is called a cycle, these cycles appear in every known natural and social order, be it astronomy, climate, geology, economics or history. Khurram Ali Shafique, a historian, educationist, writer and an intellectual of great merit has come out with a hypothesis of extremely extra ordinary proportion about a cycle that he has witnessed, understood and now put forward about Pakistan, in a book now electronically published but soon will be available in print version. The book is titled: 2017 The Battle for Marghdeen. This is billed as a non fiction thriller, and mind you Khurram Ali Shafique is unique when it comes to writing about insights. Following is an excerpt from the book:

2017 The Battle for Marghdeen

We live under the shadow of a great contradiction. On one hand, much emphasis is being laid on discovering the unique voices of diverse cultures. On the other hand, there seems to be a non-negotiable condition that the very tools through which these voices are to be discovered, and the lenses through which societies should see their own selves, should bear the stamp of some academic authority. The ultimate source of all such authority turns out to be located, invariably, somewhere in the Western hemisphere.

A part of the price of this self-contradiction, perhaps being paid by the whole of humanity, is that a unique aspect of human potential that has manifested itself in Pakistan is going completely unnoticed. Every twentieth year, all segments in this society come to an agreement that a fresh decision is required for determining the course of the future:-

This kept happening for the entire Muslim community of British India from 1887 to 1946;- Following the birth of Pakistan in 1947, the pattern has continued at least in the country borne by that parent community(and it may still be happening in Bangladesh despite the
separation of that region from Pakistan in 1971, but that is outside the primary focus of this book).

On these occasions, which occur every twentieth year, even those who might be otherwise disinterested in public life suddenly find their hearts stirring with anticipation of a new poll. Hence, these may be called “peak moments”. A complete list follows.

1. 1887, the first year of the Mohammedan Educational Conference;

2. 1907, the first year of the All-India Muslim League;

3. 1927, the year which started with the inauguration of new legislative councils, ended in the wake of controversy over the forthcoming Simon Commission and was filled with allparties
conferences in between;

4. 1947, the year which witnessed the largest Muslim state of the times coming into being without any restriction on the imagination of its people except their own spiritual

5. 1967, the year when leading political elements from both wings attempted to discover common goals;

6. 1987, the year when general disturbances in law and order and the apparent inefficacy of the government elected under the military rule led to a widespread dissatisfaction with the
political innovations of General Zia and even the ordinary citizens did not remain disinterested anymore;

7. 2007, the year when the displacement of the chief justice of Pakistan by the military ruler President Pervez Musharraf evoked widespread reaction. By this estimate, a peak moment may come again in 2027. The implications, however, can be more than mathematical.
“Government, whatever its form, is one of the determining forces of a people’s character,”

Dr. Muhammad Iqbal (later Sir), who is supposed to have conceived the idea of Pakistan as well as a master plan for universal social reconstruction, jotted down in his private notebook in 1910, while pondering over the role of his nation in the economy of nature. “I am almost a fatalist in regard to the various forces thatultimately decide the destinies of nations. As a political force we are perhaps no longer required; but we are, I believe, still indispensable to the world as the only testimony to the absolute Unity of God – Our valueamong nations, then, is purely evidential.