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Punjabi Themes

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Shafqat Tanvir Mirza





A great loss to Punjabi Movement

Shafqat Tanvir Mirza

Punjabics.com

The last phase of the cold season has taken the life of the five writers closely associated with Punjabi language movement. They include a bureaucrat, two editors, one college teacher and poet who in these times retold the story of Heer-Ranjha in verse. Rahat Naseem Malik was the first editor of Punjab Adabi Sangat, Lahore’s fortnightly bulletin….first of literary bulletin of any of Punjabi literary organisation. Rahat died on Feb 20 at Islamabad.

It was in good old days when Dr Nazeer was the principal of the government college where Punjabi Majlis had attracted most of the brilliant students interested in local language and culture. Apart from Rahat, Naseer Malik, S.M. Anwar, Qurban, Riaz Chaudhry were very active. The students had won over patronage of all the top writers of Punjabi including Ahmad Rahi, Muneer Niazi, Ustad Daman, Hakeem Nasir and Ashfaq Ahmad. Among the college teachers favouring Punjabi included Dr.Ajmal and Asghar Saleem. On the other side on the city literary scene, Punjabi Adabi Sangat, Majlis Shah Husain and drama group Lok Rahs were very active. Majli Shah Husain, under Shahzad Ahmad, held a three-day Mela Shah Husain with the help of students of Government College. It was participated by Bengali, Sindhi, Pushto, Urdu, Balochi and Kashmiri writers and artists. These were unprecedented melas as no such cultural function was held in Lahore or any part of Punjab. Rahat has been writing poetry in Punjabi also. He also contributed TV plays to PTV.

Azhar Javed born in a learned family in 1938 and at the earlier stage of his educational career joined the mufasil journalism in Sargodha city. Those were the days when poet Altaf Mash’hadi….Shaer-i-Shabab next to Akhtar Sheerani was in Sargodha.
Among his contemporaries Feroz Kanwal was very close to him. Azhar founded a monthly literary magazine, Takhleeq in 1969 in Lahore, the last issue of the paper was published two weeks before his sudden death. Azhar was basically a poet and he had many collections of Urdu poetry. He served many prestigious Urdu dailies including defunct Imroze as literary editor/columnist. He introduced a section in his takhleeq Punjabi literature permanently. He himself appeared as short story writer in Punjabi world. He visited many countries including UK, USA, UAE and India in connection with literature and was a popular figure in the literary circles of Lahore.
Dr Muhammad Abbas Najmi also expired in the third week of February. Born in 1953 in Dharowal (Wazirabad) he joined education department as lecturer in Punjabi and ultimately landed in Government College Lahore. He did his doctorate on Hamd in Punjabi. He wrote poetry both in Punjabi and Urdu. He also appeared as a successful compere. He conducted many Punjabi shows. He was also a literary activist and founded a publishing house with a view to publishing Punjabi books. The publications included translation of Holy Quran in Punjabi free verse by legendry figure the late Shareef Kunjahi. He joined Punjab Institute of Language, Art and Culture as director after Shaista Nuzhat was thrown out on flimsy grounds. Here Najmi always remained in tension because of the anti-Punjabi attitude of the high-ups. He could not serve the cause of Punjabi according to his objective. Meanwhile he also served a private TV channel as a reviewer of daily newspapers. After his removal from PILAC he suffered paralysis stroke which proved fatal thus depriving Punjabi of a scholar, good TV anchor and an activist.

Afzal Shahid started his literary career as an Urdu poet. He joined journalism and served many news organisations. He also served as anchor person of programmes related to news and views. He also started writing poetry in Punjabi in which his wife Munazza Shahid is also doing well. His more close relationship with Punjabi developed when he came under the influence of Fakhar Zaman’s World Punjabi Conference and became one of its office-bearers. He was given the office of secretary general after the death of Mushtaq Kanwal...a whole time Punjabi worker and writer. Afzaal Shahid also used to edit a magazine of which he brought out a special issue on renowned Punjabi poet Amrita Preetam.

Iqbal Rahat who died a week earlier, was a traditional Punjabi poet and was popular among the literary circles of Sheikhupura and Lahore. Being a traditionalist he accepted the challenge of writing the story of Heer-Ranjha in verse and did well. His work was much appreciated by the modern as well as traditional schools of Punjabi literature.
The death of so many sympathisers and creative writers of Punjabi is a great loss to Punjabi movement not being given due attention by the Punjab government and Urdu writers and educationists of Punjab.

Curtsy.DAWN.COM .PUBLISHED MAR 11, 2012

Another daily in Punjabi
Shafqat Tanvir Mirza

After the closure of daily Imroze during Nawaz Sharif's first tenure, Punjabi journalism came to a standstill. Also, the golden period of progressive dissemination of knowledge in Punjab came to an end after the closure of the Progressive Papers Limited (including The Pakistan Times). In the elections of 1970, the major contribution to the success of lower and middle class unknown political workers was of these papers. Therefore the inheritors of the feudal and emerging traders and investors did not like the existence of these papers and the institution. Even the so-called progressive politicians associated with the Pakistan People's Party were not happy with the institution, which provided them the ground to emerge as a leading force in the centre. Even Sindh enjoyed power in the centre for the first time. Daily Imroze was closed by Nawaz Sharif and The Pakistan Times was vandalised by Benazir Bhutto. Both papers were representative of the real thinking and wishes of the people of Punjab who were deadly against the feudal and capital politics. With the end of Imroze, its 40 years old weekly Punjabi literary page also came to an end. The terminated workers of Imroze were not compensated properly by Nawaz Sharif and the pensioners started knocking doors of courts from 1991 and many years after winning their pension rights ultimately got pension dues last year … 19 years after their termination. Incidentally, it was Rahat Zafar, a former staff reporter of Imroze and now serving as chairman of the National Press Trust, who committed to a Multan court for the payment of the dues and internally it was decided that all those deprived of their rights may be from Multan or Lahore be compensated. But it took another year and Lahore pensioner got a favourable decision from a Lahore labour court that is being honoured by the chairman. NPT authorities have issued letters to workers that they will be paid their pension according to PPL pension rules. This is one aspect of daily Imroze. The other is that before the closure of Imroze, Punjabi writers and journalists under their senior colleague Husain Naqi brought out daily Sajjan in Punjabi, the first ever after the partition. It was widely welcomed and patronised by progressive and nationalist people. It was said that it was a sort of experiment. Perhaps it was started much earlier without probing the possibility of producing a real newspaper…equal in status and standard to other contemporary Urdu dailies. Another ground reality was that it was outright against the Punjab government headed by Nawaz Sharif and favoured Benazir's central government. Nawaz Sharif refused to release official advertisements to the paper and Benazir's government doled out very limited funds. Ultimately it had to come to halt, leaving the impression that there was no space for a Punjabi daily in Punjab or Pakistan.

The Punjabi literary supplement of daily Imroze continued till its forced closure in 1991. For a very long time there was no regular Punjabi weekly or daily. In the middle of nineties, Mudasser Iqbal Butt brought out a weekly, Bhulekha, in Punjabi. It was just a routine paper and had nothing special about Punjabi cause and movement. Professionally, it was much weaker than Sajjan or Imroze. Later, this six-page weekly was converted into a daily and is being brought out regularly. After some 17 years, four-page daily Lokaai appeared that was mainly looked after by educationist, writer and journalist Jameel Ahmad Paul.

Some four years back, the then government of the Punjab was a little bit sympathetic to Punjabi language and culture therefore it decided to extend at least five per cent of government publicity to Punjabi papers, including Jhok from Multan and monthlies of Punjabi. But that was a short-lived privilege and the successive government culturally more puritan turned its back to Punjabi. Publicity was stopped to a large extent and dailies starved. The situation has not yet changed. In Bhulekha, one can see an advertisement from the central government after a month or two. Lokaai has not been entertained yet. A major newspapers group of Lahore, Liberty by name, also took an initiative and came out with a four-page morning daily Khabran. It was comparatively better produced but the first and the last condition was not fulfilled and it was not a full-fledged daily having at least eight pages. Newspaper in any language is read by subscriber for the sake of news and not for Punjabi, Urdu or English. Language is a secondary thing but Punjabi dailies tried to depend on slogan “love Punjabi”. The chief editor of Khabrain, Khabran etc was suggested that four-page papers would not properly take off. Only a full-fledged daily with much more exclusive news items can make a good space for a Punjabi daily. This basic guideline has not been followed by any of the managers of the Punjabi papers. The issue of Punjabi journalism is also associated with the language in which Punjabi children are being taught. Had there been Punjabi the medium of instruction as Sindhi is, the situation of Punjabi journalism had been totally different. But unfortunately neither the aspirations of Punjabi people are being honoured nor their mother tongue is being given due status in education and government affairs. Where even the statement of a dying person cannot be recorded in his words what else one should expect?

The Bhulekha group has suddenly taken another bold step and brought out the first ever eveninger in Punjabi with the name of Punjabi Zuban. The size is half of the dailies. This is six-page better printed and presented than Bulekha or Lokaai. It was launched on 24th May that included an interview of Zia Shahid, who published four-page Khabran and later withdrew it. The new venture is welcomed but Punjabi managers need hard work to improve their products, which are not being properly marketed. Such is the state of affairs of the Punjabi journalism.

Curtsy:DAWN.COM PUBLISHED MAY 28,



Education at what cost?
Shafqat Tanvir Mirza

Education has been totally provincialised and with that the Federal Minister Sardar Assef Ahmad Ali, also a painter, has been dropped in recent reshuffling. The World Bank aid to an English medium school chain after Bhutto's exit created a much more confusion and the distance between the children of lower and middle and upper classes has been increased manifold. The government schools which gave people like Iqbal, Abdus Salam, Faiz, Dr Qadeer Khan, Hafeez Kardar, Pitras Bukhari and Sir Shahabuddin have been placed at the lowest step mainly by the people who came from early English medium schools like St. Anthony of Lahore and Lawrence College or Aitchison who are now our leaders and rulers.
All that has created a very critical situation and anybody who wants to give good education to his children is now in miserable situation. A teacher-cum-writer-cum-columnist, Ataul Haq Qasmi, has narrated the story of a junior writer who came to Lahore from Mandi Bahauddin for better education of his children.
In his very pathetic letter he says that his daughter wanted to have diploma in a particular subject for which fee was Rs700,000 in four installments and the pre-admission entrance test was to cost Rs1,500, which is his three-days earnings.
The letter further carries the lines that during the entrance test, the father was praying that his daughter should not pass the test because he had no way to bear the expenses.
Mr Qasmi started his carrier as a teacher and he is all praise for the Danish Schools being established by Shahbaz Sharif. He is critical of the new private and costly system but it looks that he has forgotten the utility of the older system which he himself experienced. That never created that much class hatred as all other new systems are creating.
ZA Bhutto was perhaps the first ruler who really wanted to provide as much benefits to the lower and particularly rural classes and he put some burden on private transporters. Bhutto provided students mobility so that they could travel for education. The facility was withdrawn by his successors.
There is another point which the governments and teachers from Punjab have forgotten that not only the best but the cheapest education can be imparted through the mother tongue of the children but Urduised Punjabi intelligentsia is continuously refusing to listen to the rational voice.
And now the present rulers of Punjab with whom Mr Qasmi is very close, have no sympathy with Punjabi and scientific and natural approach (they all are Punjabi speaking but their geographical caste Kashmiri is perhaps a big hurdle in accepting this universally accepted concept of early education. Anyhow they will politically be known as Punjabi in other areas of Pakistan and the world at large).
Actually traders are always in search of profits (may be by creating shortage in sugar, petrol, gas, vegetables, and private education), therefore traders would like that there should not be any control on prices of commodities and in education that control is missing and with choice.
Who was the man who arranged the World Bank funds for the private English medium school established again by a family member of the traders community. It was Sharifs' minister in the past and still a member of their think-tank (probably). H H H H H This year the World Mother Language Day was observed in Lahore with a protest demonstration against the language policies of the central and the provincial government which totally refuse the share of Punjabi language in the power which is judged from this point of view that how economic benefits are being given to speakers of any language.
So far the Punjabi language and all its other names like Seraiki etc. have almost no share in benefits. The reasons are; Punjabi has not been used as medium of instruction on any level, it is not being taught as compulsory subject at any level within the province, no official letter, appeal, application can be submitted to any government agency or the department because Punjabi has no official status.
Another factor responsible for the backwardness of Punjabis at large is that even in the Punjab Assembly a member cannot speak in Punjabi without the prior permission of the speaker.
Since 1920 not a single chief minister ever delivered his speech in Punjabi or Seraiki or Pothohari or any other dialect. Thus all Punjabis who know and speak Punjabi go unrepresented in state affairs. The successive Punjab governments have failed to do even paperwork to hear the voice of the people which they raise for their issues.
Such are the conditions in which the World Mother Language Day was observed in Lahore. A very small gathering was held under the banner of the local office of the Academy of Letters and another selected gathering at the Punjab Institute of Language, Art and Culture.
No such function was held at any of the three universities -- Punjab and Lahore College for Women and Government College, where Punjabi departments exist. Perhaps there was complete lull in all colleges where Punjabi is being taught as a subject.
All teachers at the school level who have earned degrees of Masters in Punjabi complain that they are being deprived of those material benefits which are being doled out to Masters in other subjects, but they do not want to assert their rights nor do they support those organizations and workers who are working for the promotion of Punjabi, though they have no personal economic interest in such benefits.
In such discouraging situation two dailies of Punjabi included special articles on their Feb 21 issues. The senior daily is Bhulehkha and the junior Lokaai which started its publication from Jan 1.
A newly-founded organization, Punjabi Language Movement, with Nazeer Kahut as its convener had with the cooperation of some other Lahore-based organizations held a demonstration in front of the Lahore Press Club on Feb 20 and the next day staged a 'dharna' in front of the Punjab Assembly for four hours.
Though the English press gave good coverage to the first function, there was almost no representation of Punjabi teachers and students. Mainly, it was the show of some writers. The only Punjabi teacher visible on the first day was Dr Saadat Ali Saqib.
The only encouraging aspect of another function was that the director-general of the Punjabi Institute presented a resolution through which the Punjab government was urged to introduce Punjabi as a compulsory subject in primary classes.
Demonstration in favour of Punjabi is not a new thing. In the late sixties, advocate Mushtaq Butt had arranged protest marches from Mochi Darwaza to Punjab Assembly which was largely attended by writers including many of those who now earn their livelihood and enjoy a good social status through Punjabi teaching.
It was again in the seventies of the last century when among the young writers, Ilyas Ghumman, had arranged a demonstration on The Mall. Now Kahut is in the field but having different vested interests (particularly the teachers and students under their influence) have no more any interest in agitating the demand for the promotion of Punjabi.
Curtsy:DAWN.COM: PUBLISHED MAR 05, 2011 10:08PM
Source Link: http://www.dawn.com/news/610993/education-at-what-cost



Farid – a victim of linguistic prejudices
Shafqat Tanvir Mirza

UDERSTANDING DIWAN-I-FARID; translation and explanation by Dr. Shahzad Qaiser; preface by Seyyed Hossein Nasr; pp 972; Price not mentioned; Publishers Suhail Academy, Chowk Urdu Bazaar, Lahore. Dr. Shahzad Qaiser is a typical representative of a Punjabi bureaucrat-cum-intellectual lot whose first and foremost quality is that he does not own his own mother tongue and its rich linguistic traditions, expansion and cultural depth. Either, he hates his language which was evaluated by many Punjabi and non-Punjabi scholars like Sheerani, who labeled this language as the undeveloped form of Urdu. This mantra worked well on Punjabis and they before and after independence refused to give Punjabi its due status in educational and administrative structures. Rather, all those who demanded that Punjabi should be introduced as medium of instruction at the primary level in Punjab were dubbed by the bureaucrats like the late Altaf Gohar as 'traitors' to be dealt with severely. Not only that they (Punjabi bureaucrats) were deadly against all other provincial languages. It were they who first strongly opposed Bengali as the second national language. It was not a principled stand. It was vested interest in the power or space of any language which it enjoyed in the ruling system. If Altaf Gohar stood for labelling Punjabi protagonists as 'traitor' his junior Dr. Shahzad, according to the tradition set by another senior CSP the late Qudratullah Shahab tried his best to reduce the status and importance of Punjabi language, about which Khwaja Farid himself had said that his language or the language of his area (Bahawalpur State) was Punjabi.
Farid never named his language as Multani or Seraiki but Shahzad has imposed Seraiki on Farid and this a grave linguistic dishonesty in which a retired CSP officer plus a self-claimed Sufi has been practicing for the last 30 years.
Dr. Mahr Abdul Haq was his guide for doctorate thesis he wrote for the Multan University and Mahr was so prejudiced against Punjabi that he declared in writing that Punjabi was not the language of Pakistan. Shahzad has not yet come out of the influence of Mahr Haq and he refused to accept the oneness of Punjabi language. He did his research on Farid and literature of Multan region but perhaps he was not introduced with the famous book, Maqabeesul Majalis, record of the day-to-day activities of the last eight years of the life of Farid which was vetted by Farid himself and the book was allowed to be published by Farid's son Muhammad Bukhsh. Scholar Shahzad in rest of his life never bothered to consult Maqabees for understanding Farid's Diwan of poetry, language and mystic traditions and the genre Kafi whose founding father is the poet of Lahore Shah Husain. Whether it could be called intellectual dishonesty that he usually avoided to mention the influences of Shah Husain, Bulleh Shah and Sultan Bahu on Farid and his philosophy? All that is one aspect of the matter and the other is that Shahzad had earlier produced a translation and explanation of Farid's poetry into English and published it while serving as private secretary to Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani who was then preparing ground for launching Seraiki for separating his area from the central Punjab which was also not finding favour with people like President Zardari. Gilani had already established an agency at the Multan University for the promotion of Seraiki. Thus Shahzad's venture must have earned some favour of the PM. That was published in 2009 spread over 700 pages under the title of “Message of Diwan-i-Farid” now followed by the book under review, Understanding Diwan-i-Farid. One wonders which should have come first understanding or message. The new edition being presented as independent publication appears when Shahzad has been appointed government-controlled vice-president of Iqbal Academy, Pakistan.
The difference between the two versions is that the latest book contains introduction by the author, one preface by Nasr, foreword by G.A Allana, prologue by N.A. Baloch and reflections by William C. Chittick. The first was dedicated to Dr. Qaiser, father of Shahzad while the second is to Shahzad's spiritual master Baba Sufi Muhammad Tufayal. The publisher is the same.
There are other misstatements including a reference to Maulvi Azizur Rahman – the officially appointed compiler of Farid's poetry. The statement attributed to Maulvi Aziz is: though Khwaja Farid had composed his Kafis mainly “in Seraiki language”. This is wrong because Aziz never used the word Seraiki at least in 1943, the year referred to in the book. And in the last sentence from the flap tribute: This work is the fruit of a remarkable synthesis between scholarly erudition and a fundamental orientation towards the spiritual import of Sufi teachings, engaging both the academic and the mystic, the scholar and the seeker.
* * * * * * DULLA….Quqnas Marda Naheen by S.N. Sevak; pp 64; Price Rs60 (pb); Publishers, Suchet Kitab Ghar, Chowk Ganga Ram Hospital, Lahore. Dullah Bhatti is a hero of folk stories who, according to the myth challenged the Mughal Raj in Punjab during the period of Akbar who had shifted his capital from Delhi to Lahore for more than a decade.
Dullah Bhatti was son of two Rajput chiefs Sandal and Farid who became the victim of the Mughal oppression. Sevak says three dramas have been written about Dullah by Najm Hosain Sayed, Maj. Ishaq Muhammad and Gursharan Singh – all in the perspective of Marx's philosophy which Sevak does not approve. He claims that he has written the drama having in background the Babar Wani, Baba Nanak's protest poem against the oppression of invader Babar. Does that have any relevance to folk versions found in Haryana, Jammu and the central Punjab? On the whole it is a good attempt. — STM
Curtsey:DAWN.COM — PUBLISHED SEP 28, 2011



Five great editors’ take on Punjabi
Shafqat Tanvir Mirza

The latest issue of the monthly Punjabi includes the November 1951 issue of the magazine which had carried Punjabi articles of three editors of national Urdu dailies i.e., Hameed Nizami (Nawa-i-Waqt), Maulana Abdul Majeed Salik and Maulana Akhtar Ali Khan (Zamindar). The 1951 issue also carried the article of two other writer-journalists -- Saqib Zeervi (editor weekly Lahore) and Abdul Majeed Bhatti (editor Himayat-i-Islam).
Akhtar Ali Khan was then president of Pakistan Newspapers Editors Conference. Hameed Nizami, editor of Nawa-i-Waqt, contributed an article titled “Punjab di Ibtadaee Ta’leem” which still demands support from his own publishing house being headed by his younger brother, Majeed Nizami, and from his son, Arif Nizami, now editor of daily Pakistan Today.
What Hameed Nizami wrote in 1951 still needs the attention of the Punjab government, particularly its education ministry. Mr Nizami was not alone but there were others also who demanded due place for Punjabi in educational system. Faiz Ahmad Faiz and Ahmad Nadeem Qasmi and octogenarian editor Maulana Zafar Ali Khan also contributed articles on Punjabi language issue in the Punjabi.
The most interesting and detailed article was contributed by Hameed Nizami, which has been reproduced in the latest issue of the magazine being edited by Junaid Akram.
Hameed said: “Though it is difficult to discuss the merit, importance and need of the Punjabi language in this small article, what I want to say is that no nation can progress without the development of its mother tongue.
“That does not mean that Urdu and Punjabi are rival languages. There is no enmity between them. In my house Urdu is spoken all day and night (chovi ghantey). My wife had studied 10-12 years at Aligarh. She is from Punjab but she speaks Urdu. My own job is in Urdu. We speak Urdu in our house. My friends and relatives also talk to their children in Urdu. But when I started testing my children on their spoken styles, I noted a novel thing that my child while speaking very fluent Urdu suddenly stops. The reason is that he knows the appropriate word (of Punjabi) but he does not know its equivalent in Urdu therefore he stops with the jerk.
“Whenever I talked to him in Punjabi he never fumbled and expressed himself very fluently. I was wonderstruck because we never talked to our children in Punjabi. We never spoke to them in Punjabi but from where they have learned Punjabi in which they are more fluent than Urdu. Now I stand convinced that Dr Baqir is right that small children should be imparted early education in their mother tongue.” In the same article, Hameed wrote: “Among the learned family of the Punjab about 90 per cent still speak Punjabi in their homes. It is just natural that we cannot live without this language and so far the education of children is concerned it must be in their mother tongue. The language other than mother tongue used as medium of instruction taxes the mind of the children. His growth stagnates.” Hameed wrote at least three articles in Punjabi and in one of them he critcised the dogmatic linguistic attitude of Urdu-speaking conformists. He advised them not to assert the version of Delhi and Lucknow accents but try to compromise with the version going to emerge in this new country. This he said in his article published in the issue of Punjabi of January 1952.
Hameed Nizami started his career not as a teacher but as a journalist. On the other hand, Faiz Ahmad Faiz was a teacher of a foreign language... English, having interest in writing poetry. He also wrote in Urdu which he studied up to matric. In those days Urdu was not compulsory at college level therefore he did his master’s in Arabic while at graduation level he studied Persian. Punjabi was out-of-bound for Punjabis. All doors of educational institutions were closed except for non-Muslims particularly for Sikhs who have their own script, Gurmukhi.
Faiz never wrote any thing for Punjabi monthly; perhaps he was not approached by Dr Faqir, then founder editor. Somehow most of the progressive writers were avoided for reasons not known. On the other hand, it were the progressive writers who principally supported the cause of regional languages which at that time were strongly opposed by the rightists. But Faiz supported teaching in mother tongue and while in Hyderabad Jail he in one of his letters to Alys asserted the importance of the people’s languages.
In 1970 the Punjabi Adabi Sangat sent a memorandum to President Yahya Khan and chairman of the Task Force Committee on education, Air Marshal Noor Khan in which it was pleaded that in the Punjab, Punjabi be introduced as medium of instruction. Faiz was among 200 prominent writers, journalists, writers, teachers, lawyers and intellectuals of the Punjab, who signed the memorandum.
The text of the memorandum and the name of the signatories were published by the monthly Punjabi Adab in its special issue on education. It also carried the articles in which writers like Altaf Gohar, then secretary information, and Dr Syed Abdullah, principal Oriental College, had dubbed the protagonists of Punjabi as anti-state, pro-India and pro-Russia.
Another editor, columnist, writer and poet Ahmad Nadeem Qasmi had outrightly supported the cause of the Punjabi language and literature. He also signed the memorandum mentioned above. But much before he had written many times in favour of Punjabi and demanded that it be introduced as medium of instruction at least at the primary level. At the fag end of his life he wrote a very emotional column in a national daily in which he urged the government to fulfill his last wish… teaching of Punjabi at primary level. But who cares for them?

Curtsey:DAWN.COM:— PUBLISHED JUL 28,



How bar people confronted invaders
Shafqat Tanvir Mirza


BAR KAHANI by Saeed Bhutta; pp250; Price Rs300 (hb); Publishers, Saanjh Publications, Book Street, 46/2 Mozang Road, Lahore…. E-Mail sanjhpk@yahoo.com.
The compiler of these stories from our bars (Sandal, Kirrana, Gondal, Neeli, and Ganji) situated in the heart of the Punjab from Khanewal-Multan to Sheikhupura-Gujranwala and Sargodha, has quoted a folklorist Robert A. George’s article titled “Towards understanding of storytelling”.
Furthermore, it is important to make an academic distinction between social functions and social uses, for which the former are always representatives of the viewpoint of investigations, the latter always reveal the viewpoints of the participants in the storytelling events. For this reason, the social uses are, in may ways, more important than the social functions, for they provided native or in-group insights into the meaning and significance of storytelling events that the non-native or out-group investigators might have no way of observing or discovering because of his own social conditioning and cultural biases.”
Now the first question is that all, these bars are part of so-called Serakistan but not a single Seraiki scholar or folklorist has so far collected the smallest part of these stories. Surprisingly, the language used by the storytellers of the bars is close to Seraiki dialects and far away from the deliberately Urduised Punjabi. It enriches the prose of southern dialect. It is more natural and spoken even in some parts of districts Sheikhupura, Faisalabad, Gujranwala, Mandi Bahauddin and Hafizabad of the central Punjab.
Actually, this is the common heritage but politically inspired by the feudal lords of the South, writers, journalists and intellectuals blindly deny the every commonality which exists between Punjabi and its dialect Seraiki. That is why they care a fig to Saeed Bhutta’s work in the field of stories of the Bars or the narrated events by the storytellers of the bar areas. Why the Seraiki writers feel shy of that? Another reason can be many of the main characters of the stories have names more common in the central Punjab like Cheema (Ghulam Muhammad), Chattha (Ghulam Rasool), Gondal (Mukhay Khan), Chadharr (Saleemey da), Sipra (Kunder da), Bharwana, Bhatti etc. Even Sakhi Khwas Khan associated with Sher Shah Suri belongs to the banks of the River Chenab.
Saeed Bhutta, a senior teacher at the Punjab University, has already contributed the text of the stories he heard from the prominent and much-wanted storytellers of his ancestral district Jhang-Chiniot and now this collection of 19 stories related to three bars. The points or the points of view in collecting these stories are: How the bar people faced the invaders from the West and the East and how the traditions of the bar areas have been preserved by different tribes, How the tribes fought among themselves but got united when the Pathan or Afghan invaders had tried to dishonor the women of the area. The Afghans were never respectful to the local women; that is why we have a folk laments which begins with:

The other aspect is how the Persian-oriented rulers of Delhi, Kabul, Peshawar, Lahore and Multan including the Arabs, Turks, Mughals, Afghans and in the last British were dealt by the Bar people. Only two stories relate to the British period while rest took birth in the early periods spread over some 800 years. There had always been a confrontation with the living traditions of the Bar people and all the rulers belonging to above invaders and how the Jangalis (being residents of jungle they have been called Jangali and not with hatred or taking them inferior) faced the most oppressive state powers. In that respect, popular examples are Dulla Bhatti in Mughals period and Ahmad Khan Kharel, a rebel against the British in 1857.
The Bar people have always been harshly oppressed because they were more loyal to their own set of values and economics and hated integration with the Arabic, Aryan, Afghans/Persian, Mughal and British traditions introduced through the bureaucracy of the respective ruler tribe. Bhutta claims and perhaps rightly that these stories are well embedded in the landscape and value system of the Bar areas and the powerful proof of the Punjabi prose in which almost all the dialects have been well-integrated. And the style is: MAIRI SHA’AERI by Haroon Adeem; pp 122; Price Rs200 (hb); Publishers, Fiction House, 18-Mozang Road, Lahore and Rabia Square, Chowk Garri Khata, Hyderabad.
Haroon Adeem emerged on the literary horizon of Punjabi as a short story writer and was deeply under the influence of the late journalist, poet and writer Athar Nadeem…both met in Kuwait during the period when Pakistan was being ruled by boots.
His collection of short stories was titled, ‘Kala Sach’ and first collection of critical book, ‘Waris Shah da Phalsapha-i-Ishq’. Then came his first collection of poetry “Maley Vich Gavachey Lok” and now the second book of poetry, “Nah Hoven vich Hoven” (something in nothingness… these both collections have been published in one volume. One thing more, he first started his literary career as an Urdu poet and contributed a collection titled Hairatain. In Punjabi his first jump was:
This piece is from his first collection of Punjabi verse. He has adopted the role of all the heroes like Dulla, Jagga, Jeevna, Mirza and Ranjhan and throws challenges to Khairas and Khiwas.
And one of the last poems of his second and the last collection carries the following lines:
The ideals, targets, heroes and heroines and love – all have changed. Heer is no more – Heer for whom Ranjha went to Tilla Jogian. She is now accomplice of all hose who were enemies of Ranjha.
They are judge, Qazi, Khairrey, Kaido… what else has left? These conditions prevail under the present times devoid of any big brilliant and future-making ideal but Haroon in this phenomenon of nothingness still lives…..and one wishes he should live long. — STM

Curtsey:DAWN.COM — PUBLISHED NOV 29, 2011



How class played its role in 1857 war?
Shafqat Tanvir Mirza


KHAYAL DUKKARR by Najm Hosain Sayed; pp 160; Price Rs40 (hb); Publishers; Suchet Kitab Ghar, 11-Sharaf Mansion, Chowk Ganga Ram Hospital, Lahore.
This is 32nd publication of Najm Hosain Sayed, whose contribution to poetry is 13, to drama 8 and to research and criticism 11 collections, including the one in English in which he evaluated the poetry of Bulleh Shah, Waris Shah, Baba Farid, Mian Muhammad Bukhsh and Khwaja Farid. That was his earlier work and later on whatever he wrote that was in Punjabi and in no other language. That is the height of his commitment with his mother tongue.
He translated two Bengali dramas into Punjabi one was by Saeed Ahmad based on Bengali folktale. It was titled “Jungle da Raakha” staged in Lahore during General Ayub's 'Development Decade'. His themes are Punjabi fighters like Dullah Bhatti, Ahmad Khan Kharal and prominent events and characters of historical struggle like Jallianwala Bagh, and the 1857 War…a Bengali drama by Utpil Datt. He translated both the plays from English. The book under review consists of two dramas one Bengali and the second in Punjabi. It again relates to Khilafat Movement but in different perspectives…it is about an intellectual who migrates to Ghazni (Afghanistan) and seeks help for the Movement. Ghazni and Mahmood Ghaznavi are two symbols intermingled with Firdausi, the poet, and with that reference when Khilafat fails, the intellectual with reference to Muzdak learns the philosophy of collectivism or socialism. Iqbal in one of his poems equated Muzdakiat with communism. Many of Khilafat volunteers came back with socialist views.
The translated Bengali drama is about the working class, ruling Mughal class, upper middle class and the British involved in the War of Independence of 1857 at Delhi. The drama starts from 1840 when Heera Singh later on a Sardar of British army sees his father and mother being humiliated by the British, Freezer by name. Bishan's father Bhudhan is a master weaver and produces such a fine cloth that even the British imported cloth cannot match with it. British government's problem is that to successfully market the British cloth, the finest cloth prepared by local workforce should be removed from the market. Bhudhan, the master weaver has been brought to court not to prepare the class cloth or either his thumb will be cut off or heavy duty will be imposed so that its marketing becomes impossible. Bhudhan, his son Bishan (later on named as Heera Singh) grandson of Bhudhan named Kalu (later on known as soldier Lachhman Singh) and Kalu's mother Kastoori….all were humiliated. On which extreme action order against Bishan was given by the British authority but Bishan immediately disappeared from the scene to reemerge as junior commissioned officer of the British force. Heera Singh creates an important space among the friends of Maulana Fazl-i-Haq Khairabadi and is among the freedom fighters from Meerut who marches on Delhi and makes Bahadur Shah Zafar the leader of the war. His son is Kalu. Heera Singh never again contacted his wife and boy Kalu who is now a grown-up soldier and had served General Nicholson….of Margalla fame.
The drama is enacted in the Palace or Lal Qilla of Delhi, Humayun Tomb and camps of the rebel Indians including Hindus…Brahmin and Dalat both…Muslims, and Sikhs.
From the establishment of the Mughal king prime minister Ahsan Ullah Khan, commander Bakht Khan, Rajab Ali, Prince Mirza and Seth Tulla Ram…all the characters with two rebel women Waziran and Kasturi. Waziran was the keep of General Nicholson and now plays anti-British in collaboration with Lachhman, son of Kasturi and Heera Singh. All the characters from the working classes are steadfast in their role as freedom fighters but the characters belonging to ruling feudal and traders class smell that working class fighters would hit them hard after the complete fall of the British….Here is the climax….Najm has used many dialects of Punjabi language…which sometime is not palatable because Punjabis came in after 1857.
******
MATAAN MIL PAVEY by Dilnoor Noorpuri; pp 208; Price Rs300 (hb); Publishers; Jhoke Publishers, Qasim Bagh Road, Outside Daulat Gate, Multan.
This is the second edition of Dilnoor, a senior and ailing poet suffering from serious liver disease and admitted in Bahawal Victoria Hospital, Bahawalpur. He almost devoted whole of his life for the promotion and popularisation of world Seraiki through poets of the area. He was allured by poetry before clearing his matriculation examination and first himself composed poetry but with a missionary zeal he left aside his own work and started publishing poetry of other Seraiki young poets in pamphlet form. Once this was a very popular marketing method for Punjabi pamphlets and romantic story books. It was quite popular in Lahore even after partition. Dilnoor was publisher as well as the vendor of the poetry… pamphlets of 500 poets. It looks that his domestic life was not very smooth. His family disliked the way Dilnoor was passing his time. His hunting places were fairs, Urs, folk sports competitions, social gathering where he used to appear with a heavy bag full of pamphlets, on his head and some popular and attractive lines from new publications on his lips.
Born in 1957, Dilnoor started his poetic business at the age of 19/20 and never published his own poetry till the first edition of the book under review in 2006. In the book, good impressions about his poetry by Asghar Nadeem Syed, Ahmad Khan Tariq, Dr Nasrullah Khan Nasir, Shakir Shujaabadi and Zahoor Ahmad Dhareeja have been included. The genre Dilnoor has used include Na'at, Dohrra, Qata, Ghazal, Kafi and Geet. A part of the book consists of his humorous poets which seem quite popular among the people. His approach is that of the mystics of the area:

Curtsy:DAWN.COM. PUBLISHED DEC 15, 2011



Is that a mean issue?
Shafqat Tanvir Mirza

FTER elections of district bar associations in Punjab, the Punjabi Adabi Board once again plans to approach the legal bodies on the much-trumpeted Seraiki province issue from linguistic point of view. The board had contacted the bars at the tehsil level in September with the plea that new provinces apart, the legal community should take notice of introduction of a new language called Seraiki, as spoken in south and west Punjab. ,

Till the creation of Writers Guild in Ayub's period under the pro-martial law group of writers like Qudratullah Shahab, Jameeluddin Aali and stalwarts like Baba-iUrdu Maulvi Abdul Haq, the leaders of this Karachi-based organisation consisting of official writers somehow thought that Multan region should be encouraged to claim an independent status for Multani, which has throughout history been taken as the dialect of Punjabi. Multan branch of the guild got an unusual importance from the Shahab group.
It was further strengthened by creating another body, Bazm-i-Sagafat, which was fi-nancially supported by central and provincial governments. Tariq Rahman in his book Language and Politics in Pakistan says: 'According to antagonists of Seraiki, a powerful bureaucrat in General Ayub's government, Qudratullah Shahab, patronised the writers of Seraiki, asking twenty of them to claim that their language was different from Punjabi.' (P 180) How Khawaja Farid was dishonestly represented as Serail(i poet? Tariq adds: 'Cultural activities began in earnest in 1960 when Riaz Anwar, a lawyer from Muzaffargarh, celebrated Jashn-i-Farid in Muzaffargarh.
As the saint was becoming a symbol of distinctive cultural identity of Seraiki people, this celebration helped create a sense of identity.

This was being done to honour the mission, Shahab had assigned to Multani writers, while the fact is that Farid named Punjabi his language as well as the language of the area. (Maqabeesul Majalis P621, 703, 866) Khawaja Farid's only assertion about his language was de-liberately never mentioned by any of the scholars of Farid, including CSP Shahzad Qaisar, who recently retired as secretary to Prime Minister Gilani and was appointed as secretary toMajlis-i-Iqbal.
With reference to Farid's saying, the bars were requested to consider the issue from linguistic and h i s t o ri c al point of view and stop political vested interested fromdividing Punjabi sufi literature and literary history.

The same request was made to 49 rights organisations working in Punjab with an emphasis that it's every child's fundamental right to have early education in his mother tongue. They advocate that right and demand from the government and other institutions to introduce Punjabi (may call it Seraiki) as medium of instruction at the primary level. The board has asserted that if Punjabi has been made medium of instruction, there will have been no question of linguistic bi-partism.Such a request was also made to Asma Jahangir of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan and former president of the Supreme Court Bar Association. Being rights acti-vist it is her moral duty to plead for the rights of Punjabi children.
The linguistic separation is such a delicate issue that governments should have app ointe dsome learned body or higher commission to inquire about the commonalities and differences among dialects of south, west, north and east. The board claims that it appealed to President Zardari, Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry, Lahore High Court chief justice and the Punjab chief minister, but none of them cared to acknowledge the request. Is Punjabi language such a mean issue?

****** TANVEER Zahoor had been once declared thebest Punjabi worker of the year.
Right from his college days, he has been serving the Punjabi cause and contributed many books in prose and verse to Punjabi. He remained associated with a national Urdu daily as a literary correspondent and in that capacity he paid more attention to Punjabi and introduced Punjabi writers through the Urdu daily. After retirement from the paper he continued his activities to promote Punjabi through the monthly Saanjhan and in the latest issue of the Punjabi-Urdu paper he has included an interview of Allama Iqbal published in the prestigious Punjabi monthly Saarang of Lahore in 1930, the year he delivered his address on which was based the Pakistan Movement.
Tanveer has reproduced this interview in view of the demand for a separate province by the feudal of the south Punjab and the rest of the country on the basis of a separate language called Seraiki.
Tanveer has already contributed an article to a Lahore daily, opposing the partition of the province on a dialect basis. The linguistic history of Punjab stands witness that never inthe past southern Punjabi (locally known as Multani, Riasti, Deri, Lehnda etc.) was counted as a separate language, not even by Khawaja Farid. Iqbal's interview is very important in the present context because Iqbal like Farid considered the dialects spoken in the south and the west parts of the province part of Punjabi and not independent languages... Iqbal told the editors of Saarang that Urdu was far behind Punjabi as far as mystic, patriotic and folk poetry was concerned.
The fact is that Punjabi is deeply rooted in people having history of million years.
Iqbal and the Punjabis of that period knew well the boundaries in which Punjabi was one recognised language. For instance, Iqbal did not learn Punjabi formally, but when he quoted a verse it was of a poet from Taunsa/Bahawalpur, Ahmad Yar, and it was in southern dialect

Curtsey: DAWN.COM — PUBLISHED JAN 19,



Kashmir in Punjabi poetry ever since its sell-out in 1846
Shafqat Tanvir Mirza

A number of All Parties Hurriyat Conference leaders visited Azad Kashmir and Pakistan last week and were entertained politically by the Pakistani rulers. They exchanged views on the future of 58-year old controversial issue of Jammu and Kashmir, which pushed both Pakistan and India into battlefields many a time. Each of them believed that one day it would be able to seal the fate of this most beautiful part of the world, which had been remembered by the classical Punjabi poets as a symbol of heavenly beauty. Waris Shah, while singing the beauty of Heer, says:

Not only Waris Shah but almost all major poets of Punjabi had referred to the valley of Kashmir in the same context. Another major poet of Punjabi, Mian Muhammad Bukhsh (Saiful Muluk fame), himself belonged to Jammu, part of the state in his times. He is now considered as the founding father of Potohari and Pahari poetry. That is one aspect of this paradise on earth, the other aspect i.e. the political and economic conditions of Kashmiris was seldom commented through poetry before the British sold it to the Dogra Gulab Singh in March, 1846, three years before the Punjab was annexed by the former. About that shameful sell-out, Shah Muhammad, a 19th century poet had said:

The agony of the people of Kashmir started in 1846 and for 99 years, the Dogras, with the support of the British colonialists, let loose hell on the helpless people of this region. During this period hundreds of thousands of families migrated to the adjoining areas of the Punjab, the Frontier and many other parts of the subcontinent, including far-off Bengal.

Before the Dogra Raj, the valley was invaded by the secular Mughal ruler Akbar the Great and this sovereign state was made part of Delhi kingdom. Thus the Kashmiris in their centuries-old history were first time deprived of their independence, language, culture and self-respect. No doubt, the Mughals later did their best to contribute to the cultural, economic and social life of the Kashmiris and the Delhi rulers themselves stayed there. They also married Kashmiri girls and prominent example is that of Raj Bibi or Bai of Rajauri, the wife of Aurangzeb and mother of Shah Alam, successor to Aurangzeb. Even in those good days of great poet of Kashmiri language like Laila Arifa and Nooruddin Rishi, the language was not recognised by the rulers. This happened even after the fall of the Mughals, the Pathans and the Sikhs; all were considered invaders by the Kashmiris, who still cherish the memories of their independent days when Budhan Shah and other Kashmiris were the master of their own land. The poetry of Habba Khatoon is not only remembered as that of a Kashmiri poetess but also coming from their own queen. Habba and Laila Arifa are still the symbols of their unfettered history.

In 1846, the colonialists sold the Kashmir to Dogras of Jammu, who had a different language, culture, religion and style of governance. They had no respect for the majority, who incidentally were the Muslims. The Dogras were given entry into the valley by the British, who also assured the traitor, Gulab Singh, that the rulers of the smaller states of the Punjabi Pahari-speaking areas would be subdued and some of them were withdrawn and granted jagirs in the areas of the Punjab and the Frontier. There are many war poems about the fights between the Dogras and the tribal chiefs of Poonch, Rajauri, Muzaffarabad, and Gilgit areas, who happened to be Muslims. The Dogras devastated these areas time and again to crush the persisting uprisings. Their oppressive rule was indirectly supported by the British government at Delhi. It were the Muslims politicians of the Punjab and the Frontier who initiated an agitation against the Dogra Raj in the thirties which was mainly manned and organised by the Majlis-i-Ahrar, a religious-cum-political party of the lower middle class.

Sialkot, Gujranwala, Gujrat, Jhelum, Amritsar, and Rawalpindi were the major centres of this anti-Dogra movement, which involved the intelligentsia of the Punjab, including Allama Iqbal, Maulana Zafar Ali Khan and Mazhar Ali Azhar. This movement was fully supported by many Punjabi poets including Ustad Karam Amritsari, Dr. Faqir Muhammad Faqir, Abdul Latif Afzal, Hayat Pasruri, Qamar Din Qamar, Ismail Zabeeh, Israel Mahjoor, Abdul Rahim Aajiz, etc.

Ustad Karam Amritsari, a very senior poet, urged the agitators:

When this agitation was taking a very serious turn, the British rulers came to the help of the Dogras and they offered their services for some sort of compromise. But the general feelings were that there should be no unholy compromise. A poet Abdul Latif said:

To ignite the fire one line ultimately becomes the 'banner slogan' -- like 'Pagri Sambhal Jatta' in peasant movement of the early 20th century. 'Muslim Hay to League Mein Aa', 'Sar Kataney Ki Tamanna Aaj Mairey Dill Mein Hay' in Baghat Singh episode. It were not only the poets from the central Punjab but also from the southern Punjab from where a poet named Muhammad Anwar Khichi says:

But the bitterest battle started after the 3rd June Plan of Independence after the Congress under Kashmiri Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru rejected the Cabinet Mission Plan. It gave a very vague option to the princely states to join the new states when Maharaja Hari Singh struck a standstill agreement with the Pakistan government and declared that he would remain independent or neutral. Unfortunately, the Muslim Conference under its second-in-command Chaudhry Hameed Ullah Khan supported the Maharaja Hari Singh. Another blunder was committed by Khan Qayyum and Liaquat Ali Khan when they had sent Pathans from the tribal areas in the state and according to some political analysts the Prime Minister rejected Patel's offer to strike a bargain on Kashmir and Hyderabad. Nehru backed Sheikh Abdullah, who came to terms with the Maharaja and in October 1947 the later declared his allegiance to India. It is believed that Nehru and Lord Mountbatten were also parties to that conspiracy against Pakistan. Consequently, a Punjabi poet from Rajauri, Nawab Din, said:

Sheikh Abdullah was also sent to Pakistan by the Indian Congress under the advice of Pandit Nehru and now the Congress Government has sent not only the Hurriyat Conference but also the opposition leader L. K. Advani, once a Hindu extremist, now an enlightened secularist. In the last, lines from the verses of late Altaf Qureshi, who belonged to Kashmir.

Courtesy:

Weekly Independent, June 16-22, 2005 ( By Shafqat Tanvir Mirza )



Khadim-i-Punjab’s ‘revolutionary targets’?
Shafqat Tanvir Mirza

A quarter-page prominent government advertisement in all important and favourite Urdu dailies of Lahore, on behalf of the Khadim-i-Punjab, heralds that every house of Punjab will be lighted with education, Har Ghar Mein Roshan Hongay Chiragh…not a single line in the mother tongue of the Punjabis like Ghar Ghar Ilm da Chaanan….brief and more pithy.

Not a single column advertisement in any of the two Punjabi dailies of Lahore. Perhaps the Khadim-i-Punjab does not think Punjabi worthwhile to be taught or be used as medium of instruction in early classes.

It looks that for the time being Punjabi is out of bound as far as Shahbaz Sharif’s government is concerned and comparatively more educated province of the country is totally ignoring the universally accepted fundamental right that children should be imparted education in their mother tongue.

None of the local or foreign funded NGO working in Pakistan worried about this violation of fundamental right. Perhaps they are not paid for that because even the funding countries and the World Bank outrightly encourage the adoption of English as medium of instruction in Pakistani schools.

The advertisement commits six “revolutionary targets”…..none of which is new. But what sort of system can achieve these targets? One is 100 per cent enrolment and 100 per cent retention…no dropouts. How under the present economic miserable conditions when two-meal now look quite difficult even for lower middle class. The next question is which school system?

Is that the traditional school system which has further been humbled by Danish schools being proudly patronized by the Khadim. What about the other systems previously named as social security schools, comprehensive schools, convents, junior and senior Cambridge, including BSS, LGS and public schools like Sadiq Public School, Bahawalpur, and on the top of that Aitchison School and Lawrence School. That is how education is being divided on class-basis creating sense of frustration and alienation in every category of the students of the above-mentioned school numbers of which can further be enhanced like Khoti school, Tot school, Poonjha school, Khul Khulaa schools. The unashamed and illegitimate exploitation of parents in education sector knows no bound and all that is with the convenience of the ruling classes including those new “classiay” who got their early education in Tat or Tahli schools.

The late Mian Tufail Muhammad, a senior leader of the Jamaat-i-Islami during Zia’s regime, openly accused Punjabi that it is the language of invectives and naked abuses only. His mentor general Ziaul Haq hit Punjabi language by officially adopting a southern dialect of Punjabi as an independent language and he after establishing MQM (Mohajir Qaumi Movement) encouraged some elements to organize SQM (Seraiki Qaumi Movement). And the present rulers of Punjab are also a gift from Ziaul Haq and the GHQ.
All the three or four Muslim Leagues were wholeheartedly with the armed forces against the government of Bhutto who had majority from Punjab, therefore, all the Muslim Leagues are partially or wholly in favour of dividing Punjab in many parts.
A splinter group stands for separate Bahawalpur province. The second so-called Q-League is outrightly for bifurcation of Punjab siding with the feudals, sardars, waderas of interiors Sindh, southern Punjab and Balochistan plus Dera Ismail Khan. The Pakistan People’s Party, first brought into power by the Punjab hell-bound to strengthen the feudal and wadera block of the adjoining areas to combat the commercial waves from the south and ghastly trade and industrial winds from its north-east. The MQM is in term of Punjabi always served as “Parro Piddas” but always played its cards very cleverly and knows how to take “bath in Ganga” after committing sins like May 12 of 2007. The MQM in its short history always accused Punjab being a land of “political traitors” forgetting that it was the Communal Award through which nawabs, taulakdars and chaudhris in UP and Bihar assembly were given 40 per cent more seats than their due share and thus the majority of the Muslims in Punjab and Bengal was reduced to minority and that according to Chaudhry Khaliquz Zaman paved the most painful way for the partition of the two provinces…the Punjab and Bengal.

The language issue was projected much more than its actual size before independence. After creation of Pakistan it was further given a very narrow rather myopic approach which ultimately disintegrated the country.

This was the area which during all the Muslim period could not get its due share in the power based in Delhi-Agra. It was not encouraged from cultural point of view. The languages spoken in these areas were not duly recognized by the regional and central governments. Their history was given no importance.

Their resources were fully exploited but no proper development policies were framed and implemented. This particularly the present KP, Punjab and Balochistan was considered border and unpredictable area. The Pathans got some hold because they were the rival of the Mughals who always used to pacify them, but not the Punjabis, Sindhis and Bengalis.

After the annexation of Punjab it was given no socio-political and linguistic and cultural rights as were given to other nationalities of India. Its civilian status was also not equal to other provinces across Jamuna. But the Punjab itself was such a progressive lot that Dr Leitner in his famous book “Indigenous Education” asserts that at the time of annexation the literacy rate in Punjab was about 80 per cent. What is the present literacy rate Mr Education Minister of Punjab or Khadim-i-Punjab?

The most unfortunate aspect of education is that the Pakistan People’s Party government could not maintain well the tradition left by its founder leader and even in Sindh the literacy rate is still very low. Only urban areas claim some respectable percentage but a majority of urbanites are not Sindhi by origin.

So if some Khadim in Punjab wants to illuminate every hutment of Punjab he must first own the mother tongue and encourage whatever is in that language.

Curtsy:DAWN.COM PUBLISHED APR 10, 2011



LAHORE: Countering opposition to the Punjabi institute
Shafqat Tanvir Mirza


LAHORE, June 6: Tactfully handling opposition within the official circles and the cabinet has been the major task for the government for realizing its dream of creating an institute for the promotion of Punjabi language and culture.
The name of the institute and the method to give it a legal cover has been changed twice mainly to address the opposition and to maintain its basic aspect of creating a unified Punjab and bringing Punjabi-speaking people all over the world into the body's fold. At present, the Punjab Assembly is dealing with a bill which would legalize the institute so dearly wanted by the chief minister. According to sources, the idea to establish the institute was launched by the chief minister early this year.
He wanted to announce its creation on the occasion of the Punjabi conference held in Lahore in January and attended among others by Indian Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Amrinder Singh.
But the idea was opposed by the official circles on the ground that creating the institute was like promoting chauvinism and it would itself create rift in different parts of the Punjab using different dialects of the language.
The chief minister then decided to bypass the opposition by directing the officials concerned to have the institute registered under the Societies Act. This was followed by the immediate sanctioning of Rs10 million for the institute. At that time the body was given the name of Institute of Punjabi Language and Culture
After a gap of few months, the chief minister expressed his desire to frame a law for the institute, sensing that the initial objection to it had been subsided.
But, when the bill was presented before the cabinet recently, the government faced opposition from certain ministers who said that it should have representation from all regions of the province to promote their respective languages like Seraiki, Potohari and Hindko. But the demand by the ministers to give representation to the Seraikis and Potoharis on the board of governors of the institute was again handled tactfully. They were satisfied by saying that the representation would be given without specifically mentioning it in the law.
Another major objection was raised on the nomenclature of the institute, with some ministers suggesting the title of Institute of Punjabi Languages and Culture instead of the Punjabi Language and Culture. After some deliberations, the tag of Punjab Institute of Languages, Art and Culture was agreed upon.
Sources said the new name of the institute had addressed the issue of also promoting Seraiki and Potohari languages but they did not mention as to which would be its official language.
They said the changes had been brought about to achieve the institute's main objective of giving the sense of a unified Punjab and attracting Punjabi speaking people all over the world. "The government envisions it to become the biggest representative of a unified Punjab," they claimed.
They said the government was paying extra attention to the institute and was spending huge funds for the construction of its building and related paraphernalia. "It is putting in so much money for the design of the building which would exclusively reflect culture of the province," they added.
They said foreign collaboration would be sought for advancing the aims and objectives of the institute which would also upgrade and renovate cultural places pertaining to the history of Punjab.
Its aims included introduction of Punjabi teachings in schools and colleges and publication of Punjabi textbooks. "We would use research on the language conducted in the East Punjab without adopting Gurmukhi," they said.
Meanwhile, the provincial government has selected a private place in Gulberg for initially establishing the offices of the institute. At present, its director general, Dr Shehzad Qaiser, a senior DMG officer, is operating from his official residence. A seven-kanal plot located near the Qadhafi Stadium has also been acquired for constructing the headquarters of the institute.
Curtsey:DAWN.COM. — PUBLISHED JUN 07, 2004



Mother tongue: Punjabi language on the edge
Shafqat Tanvir Mirza


Punjabi is a tongue of revered souls like Sultan Bahu, Waris Shah, Bulleh Shah, Shah Hussain, Khwaja Farid, Mian Mohammad Bakhsh, Baba Farid and not to forget the poet of love and peace the great Baba Guru Nanak. A few months ago, a group of concerned Punjabis staged a protest rally in Lahore and marched to the Punjab Assembly to present a memorandum to the mighty rulers of the province. Chief minister, governor, speaker of the Punjab Assembly and the provincial minister for education were requested to act. Act for Punjabi.

They were assured of urgent steps but nothing happened. One of the banners carried by the avid lovers of Punjabi language had the slogan ‘Maa’n boli parhao/ An’parhta mukao’ (teach in mother tongue and eradicate illiteracy). The simple slogan in Punjabi was offering nothing but reality, a stark reality which the ruling elite of the country’s largest province (by population) feel reluctant to accept. Unesco, since 1953, has been trying to make the world realise that 100 per cent literacy rate can only could be attained when a child is imparted education in his/her mother tongue but it has failed to move the rulers in Pakistan on this.

Since Punjab succumbed to the British, its language also had to bear the brunt of colonisation. The same fate was faced by the languages of the other provinces but Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa have managed to recompose themselves somewhat though very late. Two large provinces Punjab and Balochistan, the former is largest by population and latter largest by area are still dithering over granting the status of official language to their respective mother tongues.

Seventy five pc population of Punjab speaks Punjabi. Punjabi is also the largest spoken language in Pakistan, and yet it is deprived of its official status in the country even in Punjab. “The plight of Punjabi is in disorder for a long period. It was miserable in the 20th century and it is still pathetic in the 21st century,” says Mushtaq Soofi, an eminent scholar, poet and columnist, the current chairman of Punjabi Adbi Board.

“The people of Punjab feel disillusioned thanks to the rulers and bureaucrats as they are told that Urdu is important for the existence of the country.” He recalls the decision taken at the time of Partition and nullifies it as, “How can Pakistan’s own languages be a danger to its sovereignty?”

He adds that even Urdu could not get justice after attaining the status of the national language. “As people have rights, so do the languages and 100pc literacy could only be achieved when the medium of instruction is in the mother tongue,” he elucidates. The Constitution of Pakistan gives a right to the provinces to adopt their respective languages as official ones. “Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa have taken some practical steps in this direction but Punjab and Balochistan remain unmoved still,” continues Mushtaq Soofi.
“The rulers and bureaucrats in Punjab are not aware of the importance of the mother tongue because they are mentally incompetent,” he bemoans. “It is saddening and unfortunate to see what we in Pakistan have reduced the Punjabi language to. What more can be said if the people consider it an insult to speak the language their mothers or grandmothers spoke,” says Sohail Abid, who has the credit of put ting the entire Punjabi work in the fields of music, literature, film and even Punjabi proverbs and riddles on the web (www.folkpunjab.com).

Referring to Punjab’s self chosen role of the sole saviour of the state, he elaborates, “Punjab took the lead and abandoned its own language in the pursuit of leading the nation.”

“The Punjab government should immediately act to make Punjabi a compulsory subject in primary classes,” stresses Jamil Ahmad Pal. “The two newspapers and some magazines being published in Punjabi here are due to the love and dedication which their editors have for their mother tongue. Otherwise publishing anything in Punjabi is not seen as a profitable job,” he says and appeals to keep Punjabi publications in the libraries of educational institutions. “The Punjab government is even not backing the Punjabi press as we do not get a single advertisement from the government,” he complains.

Mudassar Iqbal Butt, the editor of leading Punjabi daily Bhulekha strongly advocates that Punjabi must be made compulsory from primary classes as a subject at least. Jamil Ahmad Pal the editor of another famous Punjabi daily Lokaai also finds this as the sole solution to achieve 100pc literacy and to restore the due status of Punjabi language by only teaching students of the province in Punjabi.
Advocating the idea further, Mushtaq Soofi explains, “Punjabi as a subject if not the medium should be started from the primary level but here it is found at Master’s level.”

“There are about 20,000 students who have done their Master’s in Punjabi but they are jobless despite having a Master’s degree,” regrets Amjad Saleem Minhas, a staunch advocate of the Punjabi language and the owner of Saanjh Publications, Lahore, which publishes Punjabi books.

However, despite the fact that the Punjabi language is in a state of distress all is not lost yet as there are some encouraging signs hovering on the horizon. According to Amjad Saleem, poetry created in the Punjabi language is witnessing a boom. “We have published 13 new books in 2012 and most of them are of poetry with a few fiction books, too. However, Punjabi fiction is yet to thrive,” he says.
“Punjabi as an oral tradition will continue to exist. The wealth of literature, especially in poetry, is not going away anywhere. One can see that from all the music that is produced in Pakistan. It is often the Punjabi tracks — folk or Sufi — which touches people’s souls. You cannot remove that aspect,” predicts an optimist Sohail Abid.

“The language will live,” guarantees Mushtaq Soofi.
The need of the hour is that the people of Punjab realise that one owes a huge debt to one’s own mother tongue and poet Dr Azam Samore has the following to say in this regard:
“Gungi maa’n day puttar bolan Wann pawanni boli, Main oh bolaa’n jo main sikhia, Apnri maa’n dee jholi” (The sons of a dumb mother speak different languages, I would speak that which I have learnt in the lap of my mother).

Curtsey: DAWN.COM Published 2013-07-14



No full poetic justice for 1947-Punjab
Shafqat Tanvir Mirza

AZADI MAGRON PUNJABI NAZM editor Zahid Hasan; pp 632; Price Rs600 (hb); Publishers Pakistan Punjabi Adabi Board, 14-Illaco Mansion, Patiala Ground, Lahore.

Many years ago, the late Muhammad Asaf Khan, secretary of the Punjabi Adabi Board, first arranged a seminar on the after-partition Punjabi literature. The scholars presented comprehensive evaluation about the genre they were assigned. During seminar the audience was invited to critically assess the presentations. It was a very lengthy session but very fruitful. The papers presented in the seminar were revisited by the authors and finally Asaf Khan himself corrected or added whatever was missing. After that, the articles were presented in a book form. Perhaps the board management has forgotten the worthy traditions set by its pioneers.

The genre poem (Nazm) after the independence has special significance for the whole of Pakistan, particularly Punjab, worst affected by the religious frenzy erupted after the Partition which forced Amrita Preetam to write the everlasting poem “Aj aakhan Waris Shah noon……” followed by Ahmad Rahi who said:

Amrita and Rahi sorrowfully expressed the sentiments of women who were disgraced in the name of religion. In Urdu, Saadat Hasan Manto excelled in writing the stories of kidnapped, raped and murdered women. That was the story of the Punjab. But the other tragedy apart from physical or geographical partition was that the writers on this side of the Punjab were not educated in their mother-tongue, therefore, we produced Rahi not Amrita Preetam.
The unbelievable horrible scene of the Punjab could not be effectively painted in Punjabi in its historical, cultural and linguistic perspectives. The Punjabis have been deprived of the most powerful literature had they (west Punjabis) been educated and trained in their mother tongue while in East Punjab, the Sikh writers from Amrita Preetam to Kartar Singh Duggal produced the best on the Partition, particularly in prose which was once the pride of Muslims during Mughals particularly Shah Jehan’s period.
There was certainly a conspiracy against the Punjab hatched in Delhi about which Dullah Bhatti had said: “Mein bhoran Dilli dey kingrey…. [I will smash the pride of Delhi forts.]
It was Delhi where the rulers were afraid of the poor Sikh farmers who with other farmers of different faiths were over burdened with more taxes on their produce (authority Shah Wali Ullah).
The Delhi governments specially the Aurangzeb’s establishment was spending more and more public money on counter-productive wars against the rulers of other faith etc. Sikh leaders were mercilessly killed by the Mughals of Delhi. It was the Delhi massacre which cast its shadows on Punjab and the 1947 was its peak.
The other character was that of the Congress leadership which neither accepted Cabinet Mission Plan to live under the same roof nor they accepted the partition demanded by Muhammad Ali Jinnah. Their counter tactic was that they exploited the Sikh-Guru-Mughal enmity with a secret promise that the Sikhs could revive their national state if the area of the Sikh states like Patiala plus the Muslim minority areas in East Punjab were completely cleared of the Muslims; there would be a perfect Sikh controlled vast area and rest of the job was done by the armies of the Sikh states like Patiala etc. It may be recalled that it was the Sikh leader Master Tara Singh who in early thirties presented a Punjab partition plan to Congress leader Mahatma Gandhi. Actually, it was meant to carve out a Sikh state with Sikh majority in the Punjab. After the Partition, even the Sikh leaders were very frustrated and that deprivation later on embodied in the violent demand of Khalistan. Unfortunately, this is the history which guides a writer or poet in his/her creative thought process. In that background, what Nijabat had said in his “Nadir Shah di Var” about Delhi is not out of context. That was identical to Dullah Bhatti’s version.

The other trends which according to Zahid Hasan played a positive role in the thought process of the Punjabi poets are the gritty scene of the socio-political conditions emerged after the feudal leadership started manipulating the power and its use on the typical feudal patterns.
Two traditions of Sufis and folklore…have much attracted the attention of the poets plus the heroic tradition of the Punjab. The late Mumtaz Kanwal says:
CHAANAN…a MONTHLY Punjabi paper editor Asar Chohan; pp 8 Newspaper size; Price Rs 20; Published from D-3, Angola Apartments, 24-Jail Road, Lahore.
This year two Punjabi papers joined the struggle to achieve proper place in the education system of the Punjab which has so far not made the mother tongue of Punjabis as medium of instruction at primary level. Consequently, the groups and regimes like Ziaul Haq did their best to divide the language on dialect basis. Unfortunately, no teachers have been provided to thousands of students of 9th and 10th class.

The other paper which started its publication this year is daily Punjabi Zuban from Lahore.
The Chaanan in its last and current issues boldly pleaded the case of Lok Mukhi Punjabi, a term coined by Chohan while he was addressing a meeting of writers in Chandigarh. He did not like the word Gurmukhi and Shahmukhi. His point of view is that it is the people’s language why to associate it with kings who never recognised Punjabi poets like Sultan Bahu, Shah Husain, Hafiz Barkhurdar, Bulleh Shah etc as the asset of their period. These kings never recognised the Punjabi language and the rulers who followed them including the British and the Muslims of Pakistan including the present Sharifs have not given Punjabi its due status in educational institutes.

There are no financial benefits associated with Punjabi, therefore, Punjabis do not feel the need to learn Punjabi in regular schools.
Consequently, the urban youth is losing its touch with Punjabi which at social level is being painted as language of uncivilised population.

This is the impression being given publicly by political leaders like the late Mian Tufail Muhammad of Jamaat-i-Islami. No leader from Punjab like Imran Khan, Nawaz Sharif, Shahbaz Sharif, Rana Sanaullah, Raja Riaz, Shaukat Basra, Zulfikar Khosa, Latif Khosa, Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi and Raja Zafarul Haq speak in their mother tongue while addressing the people. Chohan wants to change this scenario through Chaanan.

Curtsey:
DAWN.COM — PUBLISHED JAN 03, 2012 11



No place for Punjabi in Alhamra Conference
Shafqat Tanvir Mirza

The last week saw the World Pushto Peace Conference in Peshawar, where Aalmi Hindko Conference was held some five years ago. This was sort of a reaction to the previous government headed by Awami National Party’s Begum Naseem Wali Khan. It publicly said that Pushtoons usurped the rights of Hindko-speaking section of the population. It claimed that Hindko-speaking Peshawaris were in an overwhelming majority. This conference was politically supported by the then ruling alliance of six religious parties and the Pakistan People’s Party.

A JUI lawmaker from Kohat who was the chief minister and a Jamaat-i-Islami lawyer who was the senior minister attended the last session of the conference. Governor Khalilur Rahman and the chief secretary were also very sympathetic toward the Hindko cause and reason was that earlier the coalition government of the now rival parties ANP and PML-N were aggressively pursuing Pushtoon interests.
Much before that pro-PPP writer Saleem Raz arranged a Pushto Aalmi Conference, which was presided over by Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan. Then a difference emerged and Saleem Raz’s group known as Congress did not participate in the recent conference mainly supported by the PPP-ANP coalition and presided over by KP Chief Minister Ameer Haider Khan Hoti, nephew of Begum Naseem Wali Khan and scion of two political groups: Muslim League from Mardan and ANP from Charsadda. According to a correspondent of an Urdu national daily, the government provided as much funds as possible and delegates were invited not only from all parts of Pakistan but also from Germany, Russia, America and Britain.

The delegation from Afghanistan had 120 members headed by Habib Ullah Arifi. The ANP apart it was supported by PPP-Sherpao, Mazdoor Kisan Party and Qaumi Jamhoori Mahaz of former PPP leader Khawaja Muhammad Khan Hoti. PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif also sent a message, which was read by his party member Rahmat Salam Khattak. Thank God from the Mians of Punjab someone accepted existence of a pure Pakistani language otherwise no one of them has so far accepted even Punjabi and perhaps they never sent a goodwill message to any function of the oldest language of Pakistan that happens to be the language of their own province Punjab. The great poet of their own city and more than two hundred poets senior to Urdu Ghazal founder Wali Deccani, Shah Husain, still needs a compliment from Punjab rulers. On the recent Urs of the poet, the propaganda brigade of the MQM placed a wreath at the mausoleum of the poet during Mela Chiraghan, but not the PML-N.

An Indo-Pak Punjabi conference was held in Lahore and then in Patiala when PML-Q’s Pervaiz Elahi was the chief minister and Altaf Husain of the MQM, a coalition partner of the PML-Q (as the case is now again), roared from London and condemned the alleged move to unite Punjab.

Fakhar Zaman, a Punjabi writer and PPP leader, was outright condemned. The MQM, like other political parties, has double standards. It keeps silence on the Afghanistan-dominated Pushto Conference where 120 delegates from Afghanistan participated and distributed the literature they brought with them during the two-day event. On the other hand, the same MQM has always underestimated the role of Punjabis in the freedom movement, forgetting their 100-year struggle and weightage given by Muslim majority provinces to UP, Bihar, CP, Bombay, Madras and other Muslim minority provinces under the Communal Award. Now its latest attack on Punjab is the demand for a Seraiki province based not on an independent language but on a dialect spoken in feudal dominated region bordering the feudal Sindhi belt. But this has been basically created by the power hungry Punjabi leadership, which refused to accept the demand of the top Punjabi writers and journalists like Maulana Zafar Ali Khan, Hameed Nizami, Abdul Majeed Salik, Faiz Ahmed Faiz, Ahmad Nadeem Qasmi and Dr Nazeer Ahmd that Punjabi (the real Punjabi classical literature is in western Punjabi) should be made the medium of instruction at least at the primary level.

This would have brought all dialects of Punjabi much closer, but narrow-minded Punjabis wanted to rule Pakistan through English and Urdu. Even now the ruling Punjab leadership sent a goodwill message to Pushto conference, but refused to accept Punjabi language, literature and culture into the coming so-called Alhamra Adabi wa Saqafti Aalmi Conference to be held on May 14 and inaugurated by Shahbaz Sharif. This three day conference would have seven sessions on modern Urdu poetry, Urdu classical poetry, Urdu novel, Urdu Afsana, Urdu drama, classical Urdu poetry and Urdu Mushaira.

There is not a single session in which Baba Farid, Shah Husain, Sultan Bahu, Bulleh Shah, Waris Shah, Ali Haider, Khawaja Farid, Mian Muhammad Bukhsh and Maulvi Ghulam Rasool can be remembered. Are they not part of the literature produced by the Punjab and Pakistan? Are they not much more senior to many of the stalwarts of much younger language Urdu? But the managers of the so-called Alhamra Aalmi Adabi wa Saqafati Conference do not realise that the most tragic partition of the Punjab will hit the richest linguistic and cultural unit of the country and they will be responsible for this move, which convinced even PML-N leader Makhdoom Javed Hashmi that Asif Ali Zardari was a much better leader because he was out to cut Punjab into two parts. All this is because language has not been given due place in educational, social, administrative and economic fields.

Curtsy:DAWN.COM, PUBLISHED MAY 09, 2011



Pakistan of a Sikh born in India
Shafqat Tanvir Mirza

MAIREY AAPNEY by Sukhdev Sidhu; pp 184; Price Rs250 (pb); Publishers Saanjh Publications, Book Street, 46/2, Mozang Road, Lahore. Email: sanjhpk@yahoo.com
Dr Harkirat Singh was a teacher at the Chandigarh University and witness to bringing under plough the virgin lands of Ganji Bar. His was the first family which reached the spot in the wilderness and started living under the sky. The area was still surrounded by mirages located in the vicinity of now Khanewal. The family was those of veteran military soldiers. The land in the shrubs-covered desert was allotted to Harkirat's uncle. They had moved from Gurdaspur district now in the Indian Punjab. The family moved with grandmother of Harkirat as the most senior member of the family. On the marked place there was nobody from any of the concerned departments. Only the residents of the semi-jungle area having pastoral or jungli style of living with no taste of farming. One of such jaanglis, Haider, a passer-by, who provided the best possible help and guidance to Harkirat family, which first raised their katcha house and knew the techniques how to face venomous snakes, wolves and other dangerous species. The colonisation started in early twenties and by 1947 there were prosperous settlements all around. This was the greatest achievement of Harkirat, his family and other thousands of families. This was "Harkirat's paradise" which he could not forget through rest of his life passed in air-conditioned house of Chandigarh where he wrote memories of Ganji Bar...which he named as his paradise. His book was transliterated into Lokmukhi script and was published by the Punjabi Adabi Board.

Sukhdev Sidhu was not born in Pakistan but he opens with a chapter titled "Maira Pakistan". He was born 10 years after the creation of Pakistan when his grandfather after tasting the life of Bar close to Cheecha Watni where Baba Ram Singh and his father Bhola Singh got two squares of land which they brought under plough after very hard work. Grandfather Ram Singh had gone to Bar with thirteen sons and daughters.

Sukhdev never came to Pakistan but all his life he heard the memories his elders repeated regularly without fail. This was their adventurous and prosperous part of life when they earned thousands in form of currency notes which they had no place to keep secure except the pillow. Once great grandmother of Sukhdev was given currency notes of one hundred and eighty rupees which she buried in a mud wall and plaster the hole. When the need arose it was difficult first to find the hole and second both of the currency notes were termite-eaten and the amount was in those days not so unworthy. The most heart-piercing stories are related to the disturbances which forced Ram Singh to cut down his Kes (head hair). On the way from Chak No 167-G to India, the most tragic scenes which were witnessed by his elders have been narrated by Sukhdev. It was a tragic fall from the top of the prosperity to deep depth of poverty in ancestral areas in Jullundher from which Muslims were being evicted like them and they were pushed to Pakistan borders. Sukhdev is proud of the fact that his elders had lived in the land around Harappa. All that reminds the book of Dr Harkirat Singh – Yaadan Ganji Bar Dian. There are sixteen other caricatures and sketches including Ghadri Baba and a people poet Gurdas Ram Alam who was much more popular among the common people than Shiv Kumar Batalvi.

******* HASTIAN WASTIAN TAKHTIAN...compiler Iftikhar Kalarvi Warriach; pp 212; Price Rs200 (pb); Publishers Rozan Publishers, Railway Road, Gujrat.

Iftikhar Kalarvi is more concerned about the research which could lead him to the traces of heroic traditions of the land of five rivers. He has already written four books in Punjabi about past and present personalities of his area mainly within the boundaries of Gujranwala Division. He is also strongly associated with Punjabi language movement and the book under review is dedicated to those Punjabi protagonists, who are opposed to the division of the language as well as of Punjab on linguistic basis. Iftikhar is politically more close to the Chaudhries of his district Gujrat, who have provided immense support to Zardari for the division of Punjab and without the PML-Q's numerical support neither the MQM nor ANP or the PPP have enough strength to bring necessary amendment to the Constitution. Of course, the Chaudhries assert that Punjab should not be divided on linguistic basis but be divided on administrative considerations. But demand is linguistic and the prime minister reiterates that it will be Seraiki Suba for which he is also preparing leadership mainly from his own Gilani family.

The book under review again consists of the gravestone writings of important personalities not covered in his previous books. To make the graveyards as one of the good sources of history he quotes a verse of Ehsan Amrohvi: To show that many important personalities belonging to this area but buried somewhere else have also been mentioned. In this category fall Sir Shahabuddin, Justice S.A. Rahman, Salma Tasaddaq Hussain; Z.A. Suleri and Altaf Gohar. They need a separate narration. The rest is a good collection of information. - STM

Curtsy:DAWN.COM. PUBLISHED FEB 23, 2012



Publishing activities slowed down last year
Shafqat Tanvir Mirza

The year 2008 was not good for the Punjabi publishers, both of books and magazines, on many counts. The first and the most important factor was the starting high prices of paper and other printing materials. Not only had the prices gone up because of the power crisis forcing the printers to raise there charges, their working hours were reduced to 15 to 30 percent. That was a big blow to the publishing industry. There was no control on quality and prices and therefore the size of the paper of different quality was reduced, just as was the case with roti (bread) sold at tandoors. The price of a roti and its weight at tracted the attention of the Punjab administration but the price hike in the field of printing and publishing was totally ignored. And just as the prices of publications went up the purchasing power of the keen readers came down leading to a fall in the number of subscribes. The reading hours have also been reduced be cause of the power crisis.

Despite all these obstacles, it was remarkable that the Punjabi magazines appeared regularly in 2008. Some of them were deprived of the small income which they used to get from publishing the official advertisement. Two dailies, one from Lahore and the other from Multan, badly suffered because of this. The previous government of the Punjab under Pervaiz Elahi had fixed five percent quota of the official advertisement for the Punjabi publications. it was obviously meant to encourage the Punjabi print media which was perhaps not liked by those who published in other languages. It could also be that the new government has no love lost for Punjabi. Moreover, it has become a tradition to undo all that has been done by the outgoing political rules whether good or bad.

This question of official publicity was raised in many literary functions in the presence of former secretary information Oriya Maqbool Jan (who has since been thrown out of the department and made an OSD). Mr Jan’s response was positive all the time. But, perhaps, he was helpless in that respect. Some of the publishers staged a demonstration against the Punjab Public Relations department, but something went wrong on that side also. Consequently, the case was hushed up. All the magazines which were given small ads have been denied their share till the end of the year. This issue concerns the Punjab government.

Another issue related to the government is that of the Punjab Institute of language, Art and Culture to which the last government had given utmost attention. A new institute was a good addition to the cultural capital of the country. Apart from its cultural functions and publications of books, it initiated publication of a monthly magazine Trinjan through which the writers were also paid for the creative pieces included in the magazine. This was the first time that a Punjabi publications concern was extending remuneration to creative writers. Though not a perfect venture, the magazine was offered in presentable from. Moreover, whit a view to popularize the printed word in Punjabi in distribution was made on larger scale and another characteristic of this magazine was that almost all the dialects spoken in Punjab and the neighboring provinces were represented, especially in prose, in the publication which did not appear for last few months. The question is that why its regular publication has been stopped?

The institution was perhaps made a scapegoat in the case of explosion during the last days of the World Performing Arts Festival. The government has so far not come out with the final investigation and bring the culprits before the law. Publication of another art magazine Naagmani has also come to stand still. Reasons not known.
As far as other regular magazines are concerned, they are being published regularly. They include monthlies, Saver International, Lehran, Likhari from Lahore and Mehkaan from Sahiwal. The publisher-editor of Saver International intends to bring out a full-fledged daily Lokaai from Lahore. Its publicity campaign has started for the last one year. Another monthly, which is appearing regularly, is Pukhairu for children. Its latest issue is devoted to the children poetry by Muhammad Iqbal Najmi spread over 160 pages. The special issues during the last years. This is the 15th year of its regular publication.

One quarterly magazine, the Punjabi Adab is regularly being published by the Pubjabi Adabi Board from Lahore. There are two bi-annual research magazines Lekh and Khoj from Lahore. The former is being published regularly by a teacher and scholar of Punjabi Dr Nasir Rana while the latter is the publication of the Punjabi Department of the Punjabi Department of the Punjab University and its appearance is not so regular.

Another quarerly magazine Saanjh did appear regularly from Sahiwal with the cooperation of US-based Punjabi organization APNA. Safeer Rama from Canada is the man behind. This magazine appears simultaneously from the Pakistani Punjab and the Indian Punjab.
Last year’s best and public level function was araanged by the Lok Boli people at Jaranwala and was dedicated to Bhagat Singh who was born in a village near Jaranwala..Almost all the publication concerns continued their programmes. Saanjh from Lahore was on the top. Hafeez khan from Multan also remained active on this front.

The single publication which needs special mention was a 1100 pages novel, Wahga by Nazeer Kahut which has been written in the political perspective of Punjab from the 16th century. Kahut from Sargodha had already contributed a novel, Darya Burd, two years back. The copies of the novel were presented to major writers of Lahore at a well attended function. The author will formally launch the book in March this year.

On the political front there is a strange contradiction and that is with reference to Punjab Governor Salaman Taseer. He declared with a bang that he would out rightly promote the Punjabi culture and literature. On the other hand he contemptuously nominates the Muslim League Nawaz as “Punjabi” party.

Curtsey: Dawn Lahore, Sunday, January 4, 2009



Punjab condemned and praised
Shafqat Tanvir Mirza

PAANCH DRYON KA DES compiled and edited by Dr. Naveed Shahzad; pp 252; price Rs300 (hb); Publishers Department of Language and Literature, Punjab University, Oriental College, Lahore.

The book consists of poems written in recent times on or about Punjab, its language and culture and published in different newspapers, magazines and books. Some of these have been taken from private manuscripts with an 80-page research foreword in Urdu in which all poems have also been rendered.

At this occasion, a sort of political crisis has been created by the PPP government and allies who are of the opinion that being the largest province than the other three provinces in whole it needs to be bifurcated at least in two parts which would stop the central Punjab from dominating the national political scene.

The government supported would-be-Seraikistan share the larger number of the districts in the South-West of the present Punjab. A senior poet Baba Najmi while addressing Waris Shah laments that the other nationalities or the provinces are bent upon to divide the Punjab not on language basis but on the basis of dialects of the same language.

On the same theme another poet, nuclear scientist and United States-based Dr. Muhammad Afzal Shahid refers to the same politically-motivated design mainly supported by the traditional political leaders of the country and now the conditions have been brought to such an end that some of the major parties based in Punjab are also extending support to Sindhi-Punjabi feudal lords just to save their vested interests. The word Oodharr means unaware, strangers and the fact is that all the Punjab-based Muslim Leagues and other parties consist of unaware leaders who have no knowledge of the history of the Punjab and language and the main reason is either their elders and even their successors have been taught language, its literature and the pure culture of the Punjab. Another poet Afzal Saher joins Dr. Afzal Shahid.

Who are the enemies other than Punjabis more interested in their vested interests immediate than the integrity and solidarity of the Punjab and now the mother earth and mother tongue is at the mercy of executive justice. This condition has basically been created by the Punjabis themselves. This view has been expressed by Punjabis themselves.

The editor of the poems wants to touch the issue of the oneness of the language but ignores all those past writers from all parts of the province who called themselves Punjabi. The late Asif Khan had published an exhaustive article on the poets belonging to the south-west of the province who in their writings admitted that they write in Punjabi. Asif Khan unfortunately missed the last great Sufi poet Khwaja Ghulam Farid’s authentic verdict on the language of Bahawalpur state where he used to live. Khwaja Sahib in his daily diary later published under the title of Maqabeesul Majalis had said that the language of the area is Punjabi and while addressing the gathering of his followers and visitors he used to explain the meanings of the words in Punjabi. A small quotation is enough to prove the protagonists of Seraikis that they are not doing justice to Farid whom they have been using for their political ends.

Naveed Shahzad has also missed it. At this juncture it is great blunder when the Punjabi department instead of resolving the dialects issue has further complicated it. They behaved like the “rulers” particularly the civil and military authorities, the latter created more sense of deprivation in the hearts of the people of the area because military bureaucracy lavishly allotted vast agricultural lands to the men in the uniform. This point was much exploited by the preachers of Seraiki and this issue emotionally and physically involved the deprived landless people of the area. The cost for the act of civil and military bureaucracy is now being paid by the language, literature, culture and even Sufi poets of the area because they are being separated from each other. These lines do represent the scene presented above.

To be the undisputed leader of the whole of Pakistan is the most controversial in political sense but right from the beginning of the independence the Punjabi and Urdu-speaking Junta planned to rule the country through Urdu and English. In that background more stress was laid on Urdu while Punjabi per scheme was to be eliminated from the face of the country and the same paradigm still prevails. The editor has somehow with reference to this aspect of poetry touched this issue. He quotes:

This situation has been very artistically wound up by poet Saleem Ahmad Saleem.
* * * * * *
SOCHAAN DI BUKKAL by Falak Sher Tabassum; pp 144; price Rs200 (hb); Publishers Bazm-i-Maula Shah, 41-A, Chohan Road, Islampura, Lahore. Falak Sher Tabassum is altogether a new name in Punjabi literary world but he comes out with a very mature and to some extent impressive verses in ghazal genre. On the last title page appears the photographs of the poet with a verse by his guide the famous senior poet, Syed Tanveer Bukhari which is in praise of Bukkal…the shawl covering the upper part of the body….in literary meanings the inner world of human being. Tanveer says:
The poet himself, while dedicating the book to his mentor, says:
(The book is dedicated to him who inspired the writer to write these verses).

The same publishers had sometime back published the ghazals of Tanveer Bukhari under the title of “Mukashifa”. With that reference one sees close similarity and commonality between the two books one by the guide and the other by the pupil under training. The publisher and writer Mian Maqbool Zafar has also in his foreword confirm the commonalities between the senior and the junior poets.—STM

Curtsey:DAWN.COM-Published Dec 23,2011



Punjab to be proud of … What?
Shafqat Tanvir Mirza

A quarter-page advertisement appeared in Dawn on behalf of the Sindh government through its Cultural Department to praise the services of Dr Ghulam Nabi Baloch, a great Sindhi scholar, founder of the Sindhi Language Authority, chairman of Sindh Museum, vice-chancellor of the Sindh University and interim minister of education. He died last Wednesday at the age of 94.
This is the way to pay tribute to intellectuals and scholars of the country. Baloch had no political inclination therefore he served also as education minister in the interim cabinet. He had been associated with the Zia regime for his Hijra programme of which Baloch was the head. Thanks to the PPP government of Sindh that did not care for its political prejudices and paid glowing tribute to the late scholar who received his higher education in Aligarh and the US. As he was closely associated with the Sindhi folklore, tribute to Baloch enhances goodwill of the PPP whose half-head or co-head is out to play the Sindh card as many times as the chance is available. It’s a fact that all Sindhi leaders of different hue and colour immensely love their culture and heritage and those who are associated with these, but in Punjab the case is quite different.
Almost all political leaders from Punjab do not know how to read Punjabi language so much so that one of the most ‘pious’ leaders Mian Tufail of the Jamaat-i-Islami said Punjabi was a language only fit for abuses. He issued this public statement in Zia’s period. Entire Jamaat-i-Islami and all religious scholars from Punjab have forgotten the fact that in Punjab Islam’s message was disseminated in Punjabi and it started from Baba Farid. All books through which early education was imparted in mosques (seminaries) were written in Punjabi (particularly Lehnda dialect). Some of the titles were Mitthi Roati, Pucci Roati, Looni Roati and Katchi Roati apart from other books referred in Waris Shah’s Heer story. People like Saad Salman to Amir Khusro all were under the influence of Punjabi, then called Hindi or Hindvi. (Even Sindhi was then called Hindi). Maulvi Abdi of Akbar’s period wrote many textbooks in Punjabi. Even the alphabets of Arabic were explained in such textbooks so that the students could properly pronounce Arabic words. This was in prose and Fazl Farid Laleka of Bahawalnagar possesses the manuscript.
Noshah Ganjbakhsh of Gujrat, a great Sufi and poet, delivered seven lectures in Punjabi, Muaiz Nosha Pir. Those were delivered in Jahangir and Shahjahan’s times. The Wazir of Aurangzeb asked Hafiz Barkhurdar of Musalmani to translate the story of Yusuf Zulekha from Persian verse into Punjabi verse. It were the Punjabi poets who gave you the clue of your heritage and folklore. How Ranjha, a peasant from Takht Hazara, became a symbol of the Creator for Shah Husain, Bulleh Shah and Khwaja Farid.
But because of the British educational policy specified for Punjab and surrounding regions kicked out the Punjabi as medium of instruction in madressahs where; Sahiban likhdi takhtian tey Mirza parrhay Quran Was not there co-education and why this liberalism has been condemned by Hindu Vedas written in United Provinces and Bihar? But neither religious leaders are familiar with Punjabi treasures of religious literature nor their followers. Is there any precedent in Punjab that on the death of people like Maulvi Hidayat Ullah or Iqbal or Faiz or Ustad Daman the Punjab government’s cultural wing of information department paid tribute like Dr Baloch was paid by the Sindh government? Was the senior most poet of Lahore, a great Sufi and rebel of his times, was ever honoured by any of the governor or chief minister, including Shahbaz Sharif. Was he paid tribute for giving great depth to Punjab’s language and culture? On his recent Urs (Last Saturday, Sunday, Monday of March) did any of the so-called stalwarts of the Punjab parties like Nawaz Sharif, Shujaat Husain, PPP governor Latif Khosa or Imran Khan uttered a single word about this poet whose language was still the strongest bond between all regions and dialects of Punjab and Punjabi and whose kafis also crept in Bhittai’s kafis. Most Punjab politicians are out to save the worst form of feudalism and anti-democracy dictatorial mindset by supporting a separate province of Seraiki. This feudal set-up gives strength to the politics of inheritance. From Zahoor Elahi to Shujaat, Pervaiz and Moonis Elahi and on the other side Shahbaz Sharif, Kulsoom, Nawaz Sharif and Hamza Shahbaz. It was the Punjab which rejected this feudal politics in 1970 (only Zahoor Elahi from central Punjab was saved because of wrong assessment of Bhutto of him and Nawabzada’s political following. The question is why the politicians of Punjab are bent upon thrusting linguistic and cultural inferiority complex on poor Punjabis?
It were the MQM people who visited the mausoleums and laid wreaths on the graves of Husain and Madho, a fine combination of names indicating the deep rooted secular or mystic philosophy in the history of Punjab. MQM are the great supporters of the rulers and they always collaborated with the ruling parties like Nawaz League, Quaid League and now the PPP. But they know how to exploit the weakness of any of the party. In the South they do not stand for elimination of feudal, but to strengthen feudal and win over the locals against the settlers and 1947 Mohajirs whome MQM never recognises as Mohajirs.
In the Central Punjab Bhutto won on his anti-feudal rhetoric and now MQM is trying to play the same card and for that purpose it first engaged an anti-feudal anti-America farmer as well as intellectual Ghiasuddin Janbaz from Toba Tek Singh after the 2002 election.
They are really Punjabis who are not honoured by their own homeland and people because they still prefer Urdu and English vis-à-vis their own mother tongue. The do not know that their whole resistance literature is in Punjabi and not in any other language. Somehow the education they received after the arrivals of the British has pushed them into identity syndrome.
They have been convinced that their past is dark and that can be illuminated with a borrowed civilisation. Even government of the Punjab and every political party is dancing to the same tune. The rulers with barren cultural past, psychologically want to convince the Punjabis they are not cultured people.

Curtsey:DAWN.COM — Published April 18,2011



Punjabi – victim of linguistic imperialism
Shafqat Tanvir Mirza

In 2007, a question was asked in the ‘O” level Cambridge International candidates: “Why Sindhi was promoted more than any other regional language between 1947 and 1988?”
Many questions are stemmed from this question: why such questions about other languages of Pakistan are not included in such papers? The question has political connotations also as in 1988 Benazir Bhutto from Sindh was at the helm of affairs in Pakistan. Though an overwhelming majority of the Pakistanis has Punjabi as their mother tongue, no questions about the Punjabi are included in Pakistan Study paper of O or A levels. It all happens since the Punjabis have totally ignored their mother tongue and surrendered it to Urdu, the national language.

In that process, they forgot the history, literature and richness of their language and even the different dialects spoken in other parts of the province are not known to them. Now Seraiki (a word never used for the dialect spoken in southern Punjab before 1960) is a separate language from Punjabi and the writers from the south consider all the poets from the central and northern Punjab Seraiki poets only to establish their identity. They dub Bulleh Shah from Kasur, Shah Husain from Lahore, Hafiz Barkhurdar from Gujranwala, Shah Murad from Chakwal, Sultan Bahu from Jhang, Nijabat from Sargodha and Baba Farid from Pakpattan as Seariki poets. If they are Seraiki poets, where are the Punjabi poets? Certainly not those from the other side of the Jamuna!

Only because of the anti-Punjabi attitude of successive Punjab governments, Seraiki is being promoted as a different language. The top poet of Seraiki is presented Khwaja Farid and surprisingly Khwaja in his life presented himself as a Punjabi poet as he followed the poetic traditions set by Shah Husain of Lahore and Bulleh Shah of Kasur i.e Kafi. Another important factor is that in his record of daily activities published under the title of ‘Maqabeesul Majalis’, Khawaja mainly mentions the names and poetry of Punjabi poets like Bulleh Shah, Shah Husain and Ali Haider. He does nit mention any Hindi, Sindhi or Urdu poets in the book.

These problems started when the British dropped Punjabi and made Urdu as official as well as classroom language. This can be best judged in ‘Linguistic Imperialism’ a book of Robert Phillipson. This has been quoted in an article by Dr Nasir Abbas Nayyar, Language in the context of colonialism and linguistic imperialism, published in the latest issue of ‘Urdu Akhbar’, an organ of the National Language Authority now being chaired by Multan-based scholar Prof Anwar Ahmad. It says…. “The dominance of English is asserted and maintained by the establishment and continuous reconstruction of structural and cultural inequalities between English and other languages…. Structural refers broadly to material properties (for example, institutions, financial allocation) and cultural to immaterial or ideological properties (for example attitudes, pedagogic principles)…..”

The relationship the British had established between English and other languages like Urdu and Bengali, has been kept by the Pakistani establishment between Urdu and other languages. For instance, the Bengalis were in majority and they in good faith gave their sizable representation in the central assembly to League leaders such as prime minister Liaqat Ali Khan, Shabbir Ahmad Usmani, Dr Mahmood Husain, Prof Ishtiaq Husain Qureshi and one Punjabi Ghulam Muhammad. But all of them turned hostile to Bengali when the Bengalis demanded a better place for their language. To counter the demand of the Bengalis, Liaqat Ali Khan presented Urdu as the only Islamic language and representative of all the Muslims of the subcontinent. Baba-i-Urdu Maulvi Abdul Haq even went to such an extent that Urdu was the only Islamic language of Pakistan while all other languages of Pakistan were of the infidels.

One wonders that educationists Dr Mahmood Husain and Dr Ishtiaq Husain Qureshi elected from East Pakistan also sided with Liaqat Ali Khan on the language issue. Both of them remained deputy ministers for education in the federal cabinet. Even Maulana Shabbir Ahmad Usmani who knew that Islam in the subcontinent was spread through local languages and not Urdu, also supported Urdu. Ghulam Muhammad, being a Punjabi but without any formal education in Punjabi, was just a bureaucrat.

What the Urduwalas did with Bengali, Sindhi and other languages is a very sad story and a repetition of what Robert Phillipson has said in ‘Linguistic Imperialism’.

The most unfortunate story is that even Urdu, according to constitutional requirements, has not been given its due status. It is high time that Punjabi be introduced as the medium of instruction. English has not vacated the place for Urdu and Urdu immorally occupies the place of Punjabi. This deprivation of a Punjabi child since 1947 emerged as a horrible political problem and now the largest province of the country is being targeted on linguistic basis by the feudal of the Punjab, particularly from the south, Sindh, Balochistan and the Pukhtunkhwa to be brief Punjabi language is victim of Linguistic Imperialism.

Curtsey: DAWN.COM Published 2011-08-23



Punjabi leaders, academics fail language of the people
Shafqat Tanvir Mirza

So far as Punjabi political leaders are concerned, they are illiterate in terms of Punjabi or Seraiki language because they are not taught in their mother tongue at any level. Most of them are not from the class of the common people: they are feudal, traders, industrialists plus professionals and they include Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain of the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid, Sharifs and Javed Hashmi of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, Imran Khan of the Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaf and Yousuf Raza Gilani of the Pakistan People’s Party. Therefore, without knowing the linguistic commonalities among different dialects of Punjabi they are out to destroy the language richer than any other language of Pakistan.

This is the language of Baba Farid of Pakpattan, Khwaja Farid of D.G. Khan, Sultan Bahu of Jhang, Peelu of Khushab, Hafiz Barkhudar of Hafizabad, Shah Murad of Chakwal, Mian Muhammad Bukhsh of Jhelum-Mirpur, Noshah Ganjbukhsh of Gujrat, Waris Shah of Sheikhupura, Shah Husain of Lahore and Bulleh Shah of Kasur. The political leaders are out to destroy the language of Sufis … like all of them on their turns helped military dictators destroy the Constitution of 1973 first amended by the creator himself. The more shameful recent amendment was done by Pervez Musharraf with the full support of Altaf’s MQM, Shujaat’s PML-Q and a group of religious parties who are illiterate in Punjabi/Seraiki.

It is the problem of the class to which the leaders belong. They are not from the people and for the people. They are for their class and its interests. They are not for the language of the people. They are for the languages of power like English and Urdu, therefore, Danish schools for the poor have English as the medium of instruction and Shahbaz Sharif is proud of the fact that after learning English the poor will join the class, which rules the Punjabi speaking “Riyyat”. Danish school students from Punjab will be further alienated from Punjabi/Seraiki language spoken by their parents, siblings and people of their street and locality. None of the Punjabi or Seraiki leader is sincere with people and their medium of expression … the education in Punjab has suppressed the voice of Punjabi people who cannot fully express themselves in their natural medium of expression at any government forum or educational institution. Punjabi has been totally ignored after invasions of Punjab by the British and imposition of developed Urdu here. Punjabi scholars who were tasked with teaching and promotion of Punjabi miserably failed to understand the crux of the matter. The Punjabi Department was established at the Punjab University after there was a fear that Bengalis might be the next rulers after the election. After many years the Punjab Institute of Language, Art and Culture was established, but both miserably failed to touch the real issue of promotion of a cause.

So far as the Punjabi Department is concerned, it was given to rightwing writers and teachers because their version of Islam was the only touchstone for everything. They just forgot that Arabic was not an Islamic language before the advent of Islam and it was not Islamic even after the Holy Quran was written in this language and so was the case with all world languages. Consequently, the Punjabi literature created by non-Muslim writers and Sufis or liberals was sidelined by the head of the department who remained in the saddle for almost two decades.

The first casualty was Baba Nanak, a great poet and founder of Sikh religion. It was Shahbaz Malik who did not let in the literature produced by the non-Muslim and even liberals like Ustad Daman etc. In Zia’s regime, he did ‘pen jihad’ against those who were not supporters of ‘Ziaee Islam’. He was accused of ignoring the Multani or the Lehnda dialect and writers of those areas. Dr Shahbaz declared that language or dialect spoken in Lahore, Gujranwala, Kasur, Sheikhupura, Gujrat and Sialkot etc. was ‘standard Punjabi’ and he in his book “Punjabi Lisaniat” counted 57 representative writers of the standard dialect and none of them belonged to south Punjab. Shahbaz’s guru, Gen Zia, secretly got Seraiki recognised as a separate language when the head of the Punjabi Department was excluding it from the boundaries of Punjab.STM

Seraiki literature was not encouraged to be taught at the MA level and the magazine of the department never published research writings about the literature produced in south Punjab since the first versification of Heer-Ranjha by Jhang poet Damodar Das. Incidentally, the centuries old style of mixing shades of all dialects in verse was acceptable to the department, but any new effort to do the same amalgamation in prose was not only discouraged but whosever did it was condemned by Shahbaz Malik in writing. He did his best to cause heart-burning to writers and intellectuals from the south when non-Muslim writers were already banned.

With the change of the head of the department a comparatively enthusiastic scholar Dr Ismat Ullah Zahid was welcomed and now after a very long time one sees no change in the Punjabi Department … nothing has been done to bring closer the dialects, particularly Multani/Seraiki, through teachings and magazine Khoj. During this period, distance between the south and the centre increased and the same was the attitude about the literature created by non-Muslims, including Baba Nanak who was not welcomed. One can see more than required number of articles on Persian or Urdu writers in ‘Khoj’ but not on those who bring different creative Punjabi fields closer to each other. Baba Nanak’s personality inspired many of his followers to write about different aspects of his life, thoughts and travels. Some of those writings are in verse, some in prose and some in both verse and prose in Punjabi and these writings are great literary assets. A doctoral thesis written by Muhammad Saleem has been approved by the university. The researcher did his job under the Punjabi Department and his chapter about the prose of Janamsakhis (biographies of Baba Nanak) should have been accommodated in department’s magazine Khoj, but surprisingly it appeared in Oriental Colleges magazine. This may be a surprising news that the prose contemporary to Shah Husain’s poetry and language is found in Pratan Janamsakhi written in 1558. There is another Janamsakhi in which traces of Potohari dialect are found. All these findings could have been used by the Punjabi Department to encourage prose, which would have been of same sort of mixture as we witnesses in Punjabi poetry from Baba Nanak and Shah Husain to Khwaja Farid and Ahmad Rahi. But in spite of longer stay of the two heads of the department the doors could not be fully opened to western dialects of Punjabi and the contribution of the non-Muslims to Punjabi literature. Same is the attitude of the Punjab Institute of Language, Art and Culture toward the publications. That needs a separate piece.

Curtsey:DAWN.COM— PUBLISHED JUL 05, 2011



Punjabi neglected
Shafqat Tanvir Mirza


THE Sindh government has taken serious notice of reports that some private schools are not teaching the Sindhi language. It issued strict warnings to over 15 Khairpur schools … for not teaching Sindhi. Teaching Sindhi up to matriculation is compulsory in Sindh, whereas it can be adopted as the medium of instruction in colleges and universities. …

Sindhi is among the ancient languages of this land. It has a rich cultural heritage. … The Sindh government too realises the importance of the language and disallows anyone from undermining it. The proud Sindhi people are fully aware of the rights of their mother tongue and consider it their duty to work for its promotion.

…[I]n contrast, the situation in Punjab with regard to the promotion of Punjabi is no secret. Our rulers do not consider themselves Punjabis in the first place. They never felt the need to get acquainted with the … culturally rich Punjabi language. … what can one say about making Punjabi a medium of instruction, when it is not even a compulsory subject in Punjab? It is fully discouraged even if it is taught at some level. … It is marginalised under the pretext of promoting science subjects.

There is no denying the fact that science education is vital. … But is science education important only in Punjab, and not in Sindh? And is it necessary to sacrifice your mother tongue at the altar of science education? May Allah make our rulers realise the importance of Punjabi and grant it its due status. Those who wish to progress at the cost of their own destruction live in a fool’s paradise. — (Feb 16)

Selected and translated by Intikhab Hanif.

Curtsey:DAWN.COM — PUBLISHED FEB 22, 2014

Reviving a Mother tongue

By Shafqat Tanvir Mirza

After a very long time Punjabis living in Karachi have attempted to present a point of view different from that of those Punjabis who have some vested interests in establishment, industry and other economic and social fields. They essentially stand for the revival of the cultural values of Punjab and Punjabi language, which has not been given its due place in education and other relevant fields. Who is responsible for this deprivation for this deprivation? No one except the Punjabis themselves. To make their point clear to non-Punjabis as well to the Punjabis who cannot read Punjabi, the writers in the magazine have used three language English, Urdu and Punjabi, which clearly shows that the Punjabis settled in Karachi have abandoned their romantic attitude to wards their mother tongue, and new they want that none- Punjabis should also know and share their views, and if convinced, extend their support in the general national interest.

The editorial refers to the Punjabi M P A,s move in the Punjab Assembly for introducing Punjabi language as a medium of instruction at primary level a demand constantly raised by Punjabi writers and intellectuals since partition. The successive Punjab governments have never taken the demand seriously. The were well aware of the fact that all the education commissions formed in the past had been recommending that the mother tongue be made the medium of instruction.
Since this was no binding, every Punjab government conveniently set aside the suggestion which had the full support of UNESCO as well, while Sindhi and Bengali had been adopted as medium of instruction up to the Matirc level, long before independence for educational harmony, other provinces should have been encouraged to adopt their respective languages as the medium of instruction on schools and college. But this was not done, and the main resistance came from the Punjabis and Urdu speaking bureaucracy, and other private interests. This resistance caused many misunderstandings about Punjabis in various other fields.

The magazine under review intends to clarify and dispel these misunderstandings. The issue of Punjabis stand against invaders from the Punjab’s point of view has not been given a fair palace in the history books. Forgetting the resistance put up against almost all the invaders, Punjabis have been accused collaborating with the invaders. Veteran journalist Abdullah Malik has taken up this issue and it seems that in the next issue of the magazine he may discuss it in detail. (The article was published in the Genius March/ April 1994 Issue)



Saadi’s Gulistan and Bostan in Punjabi prose
Shafqat Tanvir Mirza


SAADI NAMA…..prose translation of Saadi’s Bostan and Gulistan by Muhammad Shareef Sabir; pp 484; Price Rs500 (hb); Publishers, Punjab Institute of Language, Art and Culture, Punjabi Complex, 1.Gadhafi Stadium, Ferozepur Road, Lahore.

Sheikh Musharrafuddin Muslehuddin Saadi (1184-1291 AD) was a junior contemporary of father of Punjabi poetry, Baba Farid Shakarganj. He was born in Shiraz where his scholar father was in the service of ruler Atabek Saad bin Zangi, hence he took Saadi as his penname. His books in Persian were the part of the curriculum taught in the subcontinent during the Sultanate and the Mughal period and even in the Sikh period of Punjab, Kashmir and Pakhtunkhwa. Hence his popular books Gulistan and Bostan have been translated in many languages of the region, including Punjabi prose and poetry, but Shareef does not like to refer names of translators and rejects all those without any solid reason.

This egoistic attitude denies readers of this book, the information about the early translators. It was the duty of publishers to get an exhaustive chapter on the life and work of Saadi and the translations done in Punjabi or its dialects.

It was the moral duty of translators and publishers not to reject the required information as casually as has been done. Right Mr Sabir has done Data Ganj Bukhsh’s Kashful Mahjoob and poet Sufi Afzal’s Persian work in Punjabi but that is not a license to reject the work done in this particular field before he took up the job.
According to Dr Shahbaz Malik’s Punjabi Kitabiyat Vol 1, Saadi’s Gulistan had been translated into Punjabi by Hakeem Fazal Elahi, Daaem Iqbal Daaem and Syed Ghulam Mustafa Moshahi.
His Pandnama and Kareema had also been translated into Punjabi by Maulvi Muhammad Ibrahim and Bhai Kishan Singh Arif in the late 19th century. Asar Ansari has recently done the translation of Saadi’s work in Punjabi. Muhammad Bashir Zaami also translated 100 stories of Saadi in Seraiki.

Khwaja Jamil Ahmad in Hundred Great Muslims divided Saadi’s life in three periods, the first lasting up to 1226 was the period of study spent mostly at Baghdad.

Even during this period he made several trips. He visited Balkh, Ghazna, Yemen, Punjab, Syria, Iraq, Baalbak, North Africa and Arabia and Asiatic Turkey. His second period was mostly spent in travels in the Muslim world, gaining rich experience which he incorporated in his two immortal books, Gulistan and Bostan.

Jamil quotes Prof Browne: “In his own writings, he appears now painfully stumbling after the pilgrim caravan through the burning deserts of Arabia, now, bandying jests with a fine technical flavour of grammatical terminology with school boys at Kashghar, now a prisoner in the hands of Franks, condemned to hard labour in the company of Jews in the Syrian town of Tripoli, now engaged in investigating the mechanism of a wonder-working Hindoo idol in the temple of Somnath”. On his return to his native town Shiraz in 1256AD he settled down to literary work. This marks the third period of his life mainly devoted to literary creation. In 1257, he wrote his famous Bostan in verse and a year later in 1258 he completed his well-known Gulistan in prose, a collection of anecdotes, drawn from rich stories of observation and experience, based on ethical reflections and maxims of worldly wisdom.

His Gulistan and Bostan are undoubtedly the most popular ethical works in the world. These have been widely translated into Western as well as Eastern languages, including English, French, German, Russian, Latin, Polish, Turkish, Arabic, Urdu and Hindi. Jamil says: Saadi is a great champion of downtrodden, destitutes, orphans, widows and all those who should be helped on humanitarian grounds. The translation of Sabir is quite well but he and his publisher should have given the story of the life of the poet which is much more inspiring for Punjabi readers.

The most unfortunate fact is that the lettering (imla) is very faulty and contradictory, the weakest point of Punjabi language which has earned many problems. For instance word toon (you) has been written as toonh, word jihdi as jaihdi, aik instead of ik or hik. This Imla or lettering issue and the purity of language should be learnt from Najm Hosain Sayed, a close associate of Sabir. From this point of view, the book should have been edited by an expert linguist. If Sabir can use two or three types of future tenses in his poetry why not in prose work like this translation. Anyhow the major responsibility lies with the PILAC managers who should be particular about language, lettering and grammatical aspects.
***** DUKHAN DI DOPAHR by Rafiq Kashmiri; pp 160; Price Rs150 (hb); Publishers Shahi Publications, 69 Riazul Muslameen, Deepalpur Chowk, Okara.
This is the fifth collection of Punjabi poetry by Rafiq who is now author of 11 books of which six are in Urdu. Poetry and music are his first love. This time he has expressed his deep concern about the game of the Americans and the Taliban which has created many serious problems for Pakistanis, particularly, for those who had witnessed the bloodshed and the unprecedented migration of 1947 when Rafiq was 13 years old.
This is what he has said in plain Punjabi prose and concludes that America is a blind superpower which has ultimately to be blown up but before that it will destroy many poor and weak countries. Unlimited power has only one logical end and USA will have to face it. But presently he wishes that a Mansoor should appear on the scene:
But he knows well there is no Mansoor anywhere in this country where are courtiers of the Khalifa of Baghdad.
Curtsey:DAWN.COM — PUBLISHED FEB 23, 2011



The cultural loss Punjab had to suffer
Shafqat Tanvir Mirza


SAWAN LA-EY UDEEK (folk tales) compiled by Khaqan Haider Ghazi; pp 176; Price Rs250 (hb); Publishers Punjab Institute of Language, Art and Culture, Punjabi Complex, 1. Qadhafi Stadium, Ferozepur Road, Lahore.

It was the first feelings on the Urs of Madho Lal Husain when the then most active cultural body Majlis Shah Husain brought Saeen Bassa of Mozang to Al-Hamra stage to present traditional Daastan, while the art of Daastan goee was almost on the death bed, that with banishing the Punjabi language from madrassa and education system how much cultural loss we had suffered from British period followed by their created dummy democrats.

This sense of loss further deepened when Punjab University’s Punjabi teacher Saeed Bhutta collected some stories as told by his family Mir Kamal Din, the collection of which was later on published under the title, Kamal Kahanian.
But one wonders that the Punjabi Department under Prof Shahbaz Malik and later under Dr Ismat Ullah Zahid did not move to collect the real prose of Punjabi in vogue in the rural Punjab. Not only the Punjabi Department but whole of cultural organizations particularly funded by the Punjab government never bothered to extend care to the subject.
So much so that the richest body of the central government, the Evacuee Property Trust, whose main income comes from Sikh property never cared to publish the Janam Sakhi Sodiwali written in Babar and Akbar’s period and treasure the best traditions of Punjabi prose. One wonders that Gen Ziaul Haq was universally accused of extending support to the “terrorists” of Khalistan but in his rule the Punjabi Department was the biggest base from where almost all the liberal Punjabi writers were outrightly condemned.
Nothing came out good from this dirty place. Not even the Janam Sakhi in our Persian scripts. Once Zafar Cheema wanted to publish the same Janam Sakhi in our script from Dayal Singh Research Centre but in PPP’s regime he was kicked out and the so-called research cell has most probably forgotten verses of Baba Nanak, Punjab in his period, Punjabi language used by Bhai Bahla and Mardana and Nanak himself. Even the full text of Nanak’s verse was published by Sufi Mushtaq and not by the DSRC.
The sense of cultural and linguistic loss further deepened on the publication of Khaqan’s collected folk stories from his neighbouring district Vehari which was part of the district Multan until the 1990s decade.
These five stories he heard from Mian Aslam of Vehari which include story of a Baloch sardar and princess Rani Hansaan of Patiala, Momal Maindhara of Upper Sindh. Dhol and Maaroon of Rajputana-Punjab, Bakhtvar Badshah and his minister and Alamgir Badshah while in Lahore.

All these stories are of very old times and it is not the first time that they have been heard. Once this was the favourite subject to recite to the dynasties whom the Mirs used to serve. It must be a very old tradition kept alive by the Mirs who are responsible for keeping alive the stories of Heer-Ranjha, Mirza-Sahiban, Sassi-Punnu, Umar-Marvi, Sohni-Mahinwal, Qeema-Milki, Momal-Maindhara or Rano and many others.

Some of the stories mainly in verse were recorded by Rischard Temple in the book Legends of Punjab but rest in prose was thought a difficult job by temple whose government was out to discourage Punjabi language after it captured the land of the five rivers. Many of the Seraiki protagonists claim without any fear of contradiction that Khwaja Farid was the only poet of Punjab who in his poetry referred Momal and Maindhara as symbols like Heer and Sassi but because they lacked the knowledge of their past culture when Momal Maindhara were also household words in the south Punjab as Heer and Ranjha are in Sindh and Sindhi.

The best proof is the 60-page long story of Momal Maindhara, Khaqan heard from Mian Aslam of Vehari in the first decade of 21st century. It clearly means this was one of the popular stories in the south for centuries and Khwaja Farid and even Waris Shah from central Punjab had referred these stories including the famous Umar Marvi in his Heer. Same is the case of the story of the prince of Rajasthan Dhol, the word used throughout Punjab for the lover. Punjab has also its version known as Dhol-Shams…Sammi…the word from which Sammi dance has been derived.
In all three romantic as well as tragic stories the one party is Muslim while the other is Hindu… may be Baloch from Vehari or princess Hansaan of Patila.
So is the case with Maindhara and Momal and Dhol and Sammi. This is very significant in the background of Muslim minority rule, then British rule and finally the concept of majority rule. Why is that in Sindh, Punjab and Bengal the Sufis were much more important than the rulers of the time and why some of the top Sufis, now geographically located in India like Moeenuddin Chishti and Nizamuddin Aulia came to Punjab to seek education and inspiration?
Why is it that the provinces close to the capital of the Muslims remained dominantly non-Muslims while Punjab, Sindh Bengal and Kashmir were of Muslim majority. Which were the areas in which Muslims were much better-off.
All such issues were needed to be probed and studied in length after partition. But the rulers were not free from amassing material and political strength. Now the immediate question is whether the Punjabi Department in Punjab and Seraiki departments in Bahawalpur and Multan would take care that such best pieces of prose be included in the syllabus and under extra reading head?

******

PUNJABI ADAB … No 97 …. Quarterly magazine of Pakistan Punjabi Adabi Board, editor Parveen Malik; pp 128; Price Rs50; published from 14 Ilaco Mansion, Patiala Ground, Lahore. w.site…. www.punjabiadbiboard.com. This issue is a bit late, includes four articles on classical poet Shah Husain by Husain Shahid, Muhammad Ali Chiragh, Shamim Akhtar and Parveen Malik.
Husain Shahid’s article, symbols used by Shah Husain written in the sixties of the last century are perhaps one of the best during the last 50 years. What happened afterwards when even the Punjabi was introduced at Masters level in the Punjab University?
Incidentally Shah Husain is loudly owned by the Seraikis but it has not been studied deeply in the Seraiki departments of Multan and Bahawalpur.
The other day a Punjabi teacher and writer Jameel Pal was saying that the Punjabi movement has no whole-timers. One wonders some 200 Punjabi teachers at colleges and university or not whole-timer. The answer should be they are careerists! — STM

Curtsy:DAWN.COM. PUBLISHED APR 27, 2011



The day Ahmad Kharal fell
Shafqat Tanvir Mirza


It was Sept 21, 1857, when a I bard or a folk poet of dholas had said:

(With the fall of Ahmad (Khan Kharal), Britain has tried to lower the head of Punjab). On that day, Ahmad Khan was shot dead in the battlefield of Noorey di Dall (Gishkori in Okara district) while he was saying his afternoon prayers. And for the poet, Ahmad Khan was a martyr who had joined the Imam (of Karbala). But that was not the end of unarmed struggle of the people on both sides of the Ravi and on the right bank of the Sutlej where Wattoos had refused to pay taxes to the British employees who had invaded Lakho and arrested many villagers. Their livestock were also driven away. That happened in the first week of July, 1857. That was the actual beginning of the rebellion of the local Muslims against the British authority, and that was led by Ahmad Khan Kharal, a chief of Jhamara on the right bank of the Ravi.

Who was Ahmad Khan Kharal? A British compiler of the Montgomery Gazetteer says: “Ahmad was the man above average – bold and crafty. It was the man who roused the tribes. All important tribes of the Ravi rose. The first real precursor of the storm that was brewing occurred on the night of July 26 in the shape of an outbreak in Gogera District Jail. (Gogera, now in Okara district, was the headquarter of Montgomery district which then comprised the areas of Okara, Pakpattan and Sahiwal). This appears to have been, in all probability, the work of Ahmad Khan.

Reliable information was received with the effect that Ahmad with a large body of Wattoos had retreated into a jungle near Gishkori, some six miles south of Gogera. Capt Black was sent to the area with a detach ment of cavalry to destroy them. He was joined by Lt Chichester. A skirmish took place in which the cavalry had to retreat. They were, however, rallied and Ahmad together with Sarang, chief of the Begka Kharals, was killed.” But that was not the whole story which, if started from July 26 ended on Sept 21. It continued even after the fall of Mughals in Delhi. Even one of the important civil servants, Berkeley, was killed two days after the death of Ahmad Khan. According to the poets of Dholas, it was Berkeley who invited Ahmad Khan, Sarang and other tribal chiefs just after the outbreak in Meerut and asked them to provide recruits and horses to be sent to troubled areas. A piece of a dhola:
Berkeley says: Provide me with horses and men, Rai Ahmad and I will secure a citation for you from London.
Rai Ahmad says: No one in his life ever shares wives, land and mares with others.
Ahmad and Sarang refused pointblank and went back to their village Jhamar.
The deputy commissioner of Gogera writes to Maj Hamilton, commissioner (as I have already) described the outbreak which had occurred during the previous night at the Gogera jail. Considerable loss of life took place on the occasion among the prisoners, but the time was not for hesitation.The prisoners were in a savage state of excitement, and I found that Ahmad Khan had just fled from the station …… “Mr Berkeley was sent in the meantime with 20 horsemen to capture, if possible, Ahmad Khan before he had crossed the Ravi opposite to his village Jhamara …. Then I received a note from Berkeley that he had not suc ceeded in intercepting Ahmad Kharal … Ahmad Khan has become the king of the country. Then the chief (Ahmad Khan Kharal) himself made the appearance, and in reply to Berkeley’s threats informed him that he had pronounced his allegiance to the British government and considered himself a subjec of the king of Delhi, from whom he had received orders to raise the whole country. His followers thereupon began a matchlock fire …” Dhola about this incident says:

(The British have burnt down tenements on both banks of the Ravi. Then came the dwelling of a Faqir Mastana which was also set to fire. They say: “We have to burn down Jhamara and bulldoze the town.” The deputy commissioner of Gogera reports to the Multan commissioner: The first information of the intended insurrection was brought to me by Sarfraz Khan Kharal of Kamaliya on the night of Sept 16. He insisted on seeing me at about 11pm stating that he had something of great importance to communicate, and on being admitted, informed that all chiefs of Ravi tribes, who were present at the Sadar on heavy muchalkas had fled with all their followers, and that there could be no doubt that they intended to rise immediately.” Sarfraz Khan Kharal’s spying mission was successful and he along with chiefs from Multan like Sadiq Mohammad Khan Badozai, Murad Shah Gardezi, Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Makhdooms of Pakpattan, Machhia and Bahawal of Ningrrials (Langrrials), Jeevey Khan of Akbar, Murad Shah of Dola Bala, Sardar Shah of Khanda and Gulab Ali Chishti of Tibbi Lal Beg were duly compensated for their “meritorious services” to the British.

The Dawn: September 22, 2006

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Rae Ahmed Nawaz Khan Kharal
Rai Ahmed Khan Kharal was one of the greatest freedom fighters in the Punjab rebellion of 1857

He was a resident of Neeli Bar's famous town Gogera, District Sahiwal. He started his rebellion in a wide area of Punjab, Pakistan coveringGanji Bar, Neeli Bar and Sandal Bar area (an area between rivers Sutlej, Ravi River and Chenab covered with thick forests in past). A PunjabiMuslim, Rai Ahmed Khan Kharal was basically a landlord, owner of a reasonable/worth mentioning territory ,he was leader of Kharal Tribe due to the prevailing unjustice at that time ,love for his mother land resulting differences with the rulers ,he was a peace loving, landlord, with respectable status but created injustice made him the leader of the freedom fighters who carried out the famous Gogera insurrection. They also attacked the Gogera Central Jail and ensured the freedom of hundreds of freedom fighters who were kept there for actively taking part in the War of Independence 1857. These freedom fighters under the command of Rai Ahmed Khan Kharal were able to make vast part of their land totally free of the British Raj for at least three months. Their headquarters was at Kot Kamalia. Along with his companions Murad Fatiana, Shujaa Bhadroo, and Mokha Wehniwal he killed Lord Burkley the Commissioner for Gogera. He united most of the Bari tribes against the British rule and was finally killed in a battle with British forces defending his beloved motherland. After his death His head was taken along by the British soldiers, but snatched back by one of His loyal friend, the point to be noted was that after passing even months blood droops were coming out of his neck as fresh as it has happened just now, His efforts for the freedom of the homeland from British rule were also acknowledged by the last Moghul king, Bahadur Shah Zafar. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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The princes of ‘Takht Lahore’
Shafqat Tanvir Mirza


Whether Federal Law Minister Babar Awan has any sense of humour or not but his branding the Sharif brothers ‘princes of Takht Lahore’ is a good piece of bantering. Though it was Abdullah Bhatti, popularly known Dullah Bhatti, who had challenged Emperor Akbar, who had shifted his capital from Delhi to Lahore, and said: “Mein bhoran Dilli dey kingrey bhajjarr paa dian Takht Lahore.” In the recent times, ‘Takht Lahore’ has been used by Seraiki protagonists against the domination of the central Punjab. Akbar and Mughals never recognised the local culture, language and literature of the Punjab and its surrounding areas and the successive rulers of the Punjab till the Sharifs, have been following the emperor by ignoring the language of the Punjab. Consequently, the Punjabis in the last 62 years have earned accusations of exploitation from other partners and the present rulers dubbed ‘Princes of Takht Lahore’ always behaved like the Mughal princes. They were brought up by late generals Zia and Jilani. They in the ecstasy of winning a bigger mandate than the Quaid-i-Azam, insulted senior officers publicly and dismissed them while standing along a canal in front of an official TV camera. They attacked judges and ransacked the Supreme Court. They forced the president to quit who paved way for bringing them in. They cleverly dismissed an army chief sympathetic to them and appointed (in the footstep of the late ZA Bhutto) a junior general as commander-in chief and then did not allow his plane to land in Karachi. Meanwhile, they appointed an army engineer as army chief who did not know even the ABC of army affairs. And incidentally he was a Kashmiri and namesake of the late General Zia. This step cost them their government followed by an exile under an agreement which they signed without consulting their party leader.

Their exile ended only after General Pervez Musharraf was weakened by the stand taken by the fired chief justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chuadhry, lawyers’ movement and the late Benazir Bhutto’s tactics. They contested elections with the support of fake degree holders and failed to win a majority in the centre or even in the Punjab Assembly. Later, official machinery did some tricks to help them to form, their government in the province. Being revengeful, the Sharifs refused to mend their fence with erstwhile colleagues -- all time supporters of generals.

It is unfortunate that they have been made believe by their supporters that they are the real Quaid-i-Sani for one of them was born on the day Muhammad Ali Jinnah was born. They contested the 2008 elections without any manifesto and their think tanks, if they had anyone, did not foretell them power problems such as water issue, steep fall of rupee against dollar, scarcity of wheat and food items, unusual inflation, heavy expenditure on military actions in the north western areas, IMF games and the Taliban.

Their government in the Punjab is with the coalition of the PPP, but the princes’ party behaves like an overwhelming majority party and has denied the due share to the PPP.

Even before taking oath as chief minister in 2008, the junior prince transferred hundreds of senior and junior officers and the process continues till today. They see solution to every problem in the use of power and force. But with power, they could not get implemented sugar prices fixed by the Lahore High Court and instead challenged the order which showed they were against the poor people at large.

The princes of Takht Lahore were well-aware of anti-Punjab stances by Pervez Musharraf and his unmatchable loyalists, the MQM, who had appointed a Sindhi as Irsa chief. The princes have done nothing in that respect. Pervez Musharraf closed the chapter of Kalabagh and President Zardari followed the policy. When Musharraf suggested that Punjab should be divided on linguistic basis, their closest spokesman wrote a column in daily Jang supporting the proposal. The princes and their ‘family’ columnist does not know that from linguistic point of view the Punjab is the only single-language province in the country.

The present performance of the princes starts from their support to the 18th amendment and the change of the name of the NWFP province as Khyber Pukhtunkhwa. After the change of the name of the province, Hazara suba issue proved another discredit for the princes.

The blunders committed by the princes and their dark horses are several, including Shahbaz Sharif’s appeal to the Taliban to have mercy on the Punjab and in a Jhang by-election, Rana Sanaullah’s collaboration with banned outfits. Their opposition to a 50 per cent salary raise in the federal budget showed their typical feudal mindset. They have supported fake degree holders in by-elections of Multan, Faisalabad and Dera Ghazi Khan. And in support of fake-degree holders, the last invasion of the N-League brigade was on the media through a Punjab Assembly’s resolution. This last act defamed the Punjab in the whole world. Earlier, Punjab was defamed in the world in 1971 courtesy ZA Bhutto, General Yahya Khan and feudal lords of the West Pakistan who were afraid of the Mujeeb’s radical land reforms.

All one can say may Allah guide the ‘Princes of Lahore’ who are not Mughals but live like Mughals and refuse to be Punjabis of Baba Farid, Shah Husain, Bulleh Shah, Sultan Bahu and Mian Muhammad Bukhsh.

Curtsey :DAWN: Friday, 16 Jul, 2010



Understanding Seraiki movement
Shafqat Tanvir Mirza


Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has clarified he had never spoken in favour of Karachi as a separate province. A good and democratic leader never feels the need to retract, amend or contradict his statements. But then this is the quality of a good, humble, wise and by temperament a democratic politician who has a long experience of working by the discipline of his party. In our country how many politicians have been through this rigorous experience? Most of them have been a creation of ruling dictators or they inherit politics and practise it until they can pass the legacy on to their children.

The Punjab chief minister is known for issuing corrections on past occasions, such as when he clarified his remarks about the Taliban. Similarly, other political actors are not immune to changing their positions. The Muttahida Qaumi Movement has in the years gone by been a supporter of a separate Urdu province, a Jinnahpur as it was called. Of late, however, the MQM has been more eager on sharing power within the existing order. It shared power with Gen Pervez Musharraf and then with the PPP. Along with other partners such as Awami National Patry (ANP), which was criticised for its undemocratic handling of the Hazara suba issue, the MQM is today standing with the Zardari government as the PPP presses for a division of Punjab. In this effort, the PPP also has the support of the PML-Q. The unfortunate aspect is that these parties consider theirs to be the last word on any subject. Research can only refine their views. By raising Karachi, Shahbaz has shown just how expertly he can counter the Seraiki suba, which some others describe as a movement being supported by landlords, tribal chiefs and Khans to reverse the wheel of social development. Shahbaz needed to instead understand what ‘Seraiki’ stands for.

There are documents available, only if someone has the wish to go through them. Zahoor Ahmad Dhareeja is a great protagonist of Seraiki cause, publisher and editor of Seraiki daily JHOK, Multan and a regular columnist of a Lahore Urdu daily. He has recently published a treatise on Seraiki under the title of Muqaddma Diwan-i-Farid (2010). I reproduce some of his comments. He says:
Translation: Seraiki is one of the oldest languages of the world. (p 27)… So it stands proved that the Seraiki language and civilization was spread over the entire Indus valley… (p 30). This language is spoken from Kasur (Bulleh Shah), Lahore (Madho Lal Husain), Golra, Rawalpindi (Pir Mehr Ali Shah) to Koh-i-Suleman, Bolan Pass, Dhadhar, Kirthar and Hubb in Lasbella… (p 31). Now particularly about Punjabi he says:

Translation: Shah Husain while sitting in Lahore was composing poetry in Seraiki. At that time Lahores language was Majhi-Doabi. A few centuries back nobody knew the word Punjab and Punjabi. In Mughal period Lahore was made a province and its language was called Lahori. Hindko, the Language of Peshawar, is originally Seraiki. The Pindi language of Potohari is phonetically very close to Seraiki (p 29-30). What Majhi Doabi and the language of the so-called Takht Lahore is has also been explained by Dhareja.

Translation: The original and the oldest language of this region (Punjab) is Seraiki and its dialect is Majhi or Doabi and the developed form of this dialect is Punjabi the proof of which is the poetry of the great Lahore poet Hazrat Shah Husain (p 18). In his views Seraiki is the language and whatever is spoken in Lahore, Rawalpindi and Peshawar are its dialects. If this is the case then why do Dr. Jameel Jalibi and many other Urdu scholars assert that Shah Husain, Bulleh Shah, Sultan Bahu and Mehr Ali Shah are Punjabi poets and why does Mr. Dhareja insist that Bulleh Shah (Kasur) and Shah Murad (Chakwal) are the best Seraiki poets? (p 39) Then, what is the expanse of Seraiki? If the whole of Punjab is Seraiki speaking then declare it the provincial language and introduce all classical poetry and classical prose of Punjabi in the curriculum and then put the question to the leadership of all provinces since every one of them has two or more languages. Sindh has Sindhi and Urdu, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa has Pushto, Hindko, Seraiki, Pahari, Chitrali etc and Balochistan has Balochi and Pushto which are poles apart plus Brahvi, Jatki or Seraiki and Persian. The fact is, and one is only building here on the basis of Zahoor Dhareja’s analysis, that Punjab is the only single-language province out of the four. There are some other historic facts those wanting to understand the issue might want to know before they propagate their case. For instance the fact that the first ever Seraiki conference was called by the then Sindh chief minister Ghulam Mustafa Jatoi at the behest of Z A Bhutto and in the wake of the poor showing by the PPP in southern Punjab in the 1970 election. So many years later Dhareja, a pioneer of the modern Seraiki movement, has this to say about the developments:

(In the 18th century there were many Seraiki states like Multan, Khairpur, Jhal Magsi, Derajaat and Bahawalpur but no ruler thought that he should adopt Seraiki as its official language (p 36) and… now the position is these Seraiki waderas have not allowed the industry, higher education, communications and other facilities in Seraiki areas… (p 52).

(“Some of the waderas and pirs after being insulted by Lahore rulers are now talking of the deprivation of the Seraiki belt”). (p 19) Let’s see where the Gilanis, the Makhdooms, and the rest fit in this scheme.

Curtsey:DAWN.COM — PUBLISHED APR 29, 2011



When press conferences abruptly end
Shafqat Tanvir Mirza


It has always been observed that any particular pinching question which exposes the political party of the minister or the leader, addressing a press conference is either ignored or there comes immediate the end of the press conference or whatever the function may be.

For instance most of the ministers of the PPP particularly from Punjab like Firdous Aashiq Awan, Babar Awan are totally brainwashed about the Punjabi-Seraiki question. They are not aware of the fact that the most rejected Khwaja Farid as a Seraiki poet was actually a Punjabi poet and he himself publicly named his language Punjabi.

The above-mentioned ministers could not differentiate between the dialects of Punjabi etc. Dr Babar Awan belongs to Potohar who the other day posed Potohari as a separate language. The poor former minister does not know that the most popular poet of Potohar Mian Muhammad Bukhsh like Farid declares himself as a poet of Punjabi. Dr Babar should go through the last stanzas of “Saiful Muluk”. One wonders even the comparatively learned ex-ministers like Qamaruz Zaman Kaira who belongs to the tribe of Mian Muhammad and also the area has not been consulted by Awan.

Apart from the ignorance of the Punjab ministers (central as well as provincial) about the Punjabi language, its history, its dialects, grammar, literature, its standard dialect much close to Lehnda (including Multani, Riasati, Deri, Seraiki) the other points which are avoided by the ministers like Babar Awan are the contradictions in party line or objections usually raised by them.
Babar Awan severely criticized and questioned about the use of the Punjab government helicopter by Nawaz Sharif who has no official status to use the helicopter, Babar Awan was perhaps right but when in a recent press conference he was questioned by a senior reporter that in what capacity he was using the helicopter the reply was immediate end of the conference. Such are the contradictions which have almost destroyed the whole moral fibre of the nation. Better boldly face that you are ignorant about something or you are misusing the office or the party. That is the tragedy started with three days before we got independence.
It was the speech of the Quaid on Aug 11 about the total equality of every citizen of Pakistan which was considered by Liaquat Ali Khan as dangerous and he wanted that it should be censored in the Muslim press. The recent results of the matric examination have revealed two facts -- first is that in the Lahore Board 28 per cent of the total students appeared in Punjabi language of which 15 per cent were regular while others were private students. The point to be mentioned is that all these students learned Punjabi on their own because the Punjab government has not provided teaching staff of Punjabi to any of the government schools in the province which means that about 8,000 masters in Punjabi and many thousands in service could have been employed as Punjabi teachers but the anti-Punjabi attitude of the Punjab government is the biggest hurdle in teaching of Punjabi at all levels.
The second surprise is about the Multan Board which covers the so-called area of Seraiki and Seraiki is also a subject from 6th to 10th class. But this year no student appeared in Seraiki in the matric exam. There are no Seraiki teachers as is the case with Punjabi. The surprise is that 17,648 students appeared in the Punjabi without being taught by the school teaching staff because no Punjabi teaching staff has been appointed by the Punjab government in the Multan region.
Total students appeared in the examination are 50,888 which clearly means that the ratio of the Punjabi students was more than 33 per cent. Among them 6,090 were regular while 11,558 were private. One wonders why the teachers, protagonists of Seraiki, activists of Seraiki, the political parties and leaders including the elected MNAs and MPAs and the so-called ticket holders, lawyers, intellectuals and the right NGOs have not taken note of that fact. Honestly demanded that false claim about the language of the area should have been publicly contradicted because that has created hate-wave hitting the mutual relations of the local population and the population of settlers and refugees of 1947. This Independence Day (2011) is quite disturbing for the south region of the province. One wonders what president Zardari has done for Sindh and what performance has been given on behalf of Punjab by Yousuf Raza Gilani?
Dr Nazir Qaisar, well-known educationist and author, has claimed that Punjab had contributed a major share to the Pakistan and independence movements and this struggle started from 1857.

He was talking to a new Punjabi monthly Chanan issued on Aug 12 from Lahore. This monthly has been brought out by a senior journalist and poet Asar Chohan who intends to include English writings also in the magazine the first issue of which includes the writings of Dr Dilshad Tiwana, Muhammad Junaid Akram, editor monthly Punjabi, Nizo Ali Firtash, Beera Ji, Abid Kamalvi, Prof Aashiq Raheel, Saleem Shahzad, Asghar Ali Kausar Warraich and Prof Saeed Ahmad whose article in English is about the poetry of Sultan Bahu (1629-1690). It is the month of Ramazan and what Bahu says about that has been quoted by Saeed:

(I am neither a scholar, nor a learned person, neither a Mufti nor a Qazi. The question of paradise and hell is also irrelevant. Neither I keep fast of thirty days nor I am a virtuous worshiper in the mosque. Without a union with God, O Bahu, the whole world is false game)

The paper carries an exhaustive interview with educationist and editor of a daily Lokaai and monthly Saver International, Prof Jameel Ahmad Pal who discloses that 10 years after the publication of monthly Saver it has come to breakeven point while ‘we have struggled hard to get the daily survival which could secure only 200 CM advertisement monthly from the Punjab government.

Jameel Pal further said that Punjabi top officers were not sincere to their mother tongue. In their assessment Punjabi is not a civilized language.

Editor Asar Chohan has in his critical essays referred to the statement of Jamaat leader Mian Tufail Muhammad who during the Zia regime had said that Punjabi was the language of invectives and abuses.

Aashiq Raheel in his article claims that Muhammad Ali Jinnah was from the family of Rajputs from Sahiwal area. The monthly Chanan is a good edition to Punjabi journalism. It appears on auspicious occasion of Independence Day.

CurtsEy:DAWN.COM - PUBLISHED AUG 17, 2011



When teaching power of mother was lost
Shafqat Tanvir Mirza


Religion disallows photographs, says a group that included the Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) and its founder, Maulana Maudoodi. In the same fashion, objections were raised, after independence, against the statues of known personalities installed in different big cities of the country, including Lahore.

Some of the statues were of the personalities who had some political connotation, therefore, the anti-statue elements won the point without any resistance and statues were unceremoniously removed and one vividly remembers the fate of the statue of Queen Victoria which was carried on a bullock cart through The Mall (now Shahrah-i-Quaid-i-Azam).

This photograph was snapped by famous press photographer F.E. Chaudhry and appeared only in The Pakistan Times, once a top newspaper now on a ventilator. Sir Ganga Ram's statue was also part of that sweep. The only statue which survived was that of a scholar and educationist, Dr Leitner, and after 64 years it is still there on the entrance gate of the Old Campus of the Punjab University. Dr Leitner was particularly mentioned by a Punjabi activist, Nazeer Kahut, in his article on teaching of Punjabi, read in a seminar arranged recently by the Masud Khadarposh Trust on its silver jubilee.

A Lahore-based scholar, Dr Ikram Chughtai, has written a book on the life and achievements of Dr Leitner, the first vice chancellor of the Punjab University. The particular characteristic of Dr Leitner was that he opposed the education policy of the British in Punjab. He was of the opinion that Punjabis should also be taught in their mother tongue instead of Urdu and English. His opinion was based on his observation and research which was published entitled 'Indigenous Education in Punjab', which clearly made this fact public that before the British introduction of their own schools in Punjab, there was more than 80 per cent literacy rate in the province. The target could not be achieved during 160 years.

The main reason was that Punjabi was not made the medium of instruction at the earlier level of education. It is unfortunate that the British education officers through the administration forcibly closed the indigenous schools of which many had the permanent source of income from attached or waqf (trust) cultivated lands.

The government cancelled these Ma'afis and clipped the wings of the local education system about which Dr Lietner has been quoted by Nazeer Kahot as Dr Tariq Rahman quoted the former as having said: “This vernacular was Punjabi which was not taught but was used as we have seen, as a medium of instruction at least at lower level before the British conquest. This practice continued even after the conquest and Dr Leitner mentions that in most Kor'an schools some elementary religious books in Urdu, Persian or Punjabi are taught. Female education has always been neglected among Muslims, but, according to Dr Leitner, among Muhammadans nearly all girls were taught the Kor'an; nor could a Sikh woman claim the title and privileges of a “learner” unless she was able to read the Granth Sahib…. Girls were also taught the Kor'an together with little boys and religious books and stories of Prophets etc were taught in Urdu, Persian or Punjabi.

The Sikh girls read the Granth and other books in Gurmukhi. Dr Leitner suggests that there had been a decline in female teaching since the British conquest because formerly the mother could teach the child in Punjabi. “Now, wherever the child learns Urdu the teaching power of the mother is lost.”

The articles presented in the seminar to mark the silver jubilee of Masud Khadarposh Trust have been published in a booklet which also refers to Masud's initiative taken while he was a senior civil servant. His two characteristics were commendable; one was about the question of mother tongue and the other was dress of local-made fabric like Khadar which was once politically associated with the anti-Muslim League, the Congress. But, Masud was never reluctant to own things which may be associated with some hostile or unwanted name. In his earlier career as a junior ICS officer, he worked in Bheels of Bombay in such a way that they named him Masud Bhagwan…the last word unacceptable for a majority of the Muslims. He was also popular with the name of Masud Hari in Sindh where he gave his revolutionary views on the land tillers and the owners of the land. His view was that tiller (the Hari) was the real owner of lands and not anybody else.

Masud as a person became most controversial when he openly preached that prayers should be said in Urdu/Punjabi so that the man could clearly understand what he was saying to Allah. The Arabic text does not convey the real meanings. Masud was very seriously challenged on this issue by the religious leaders and for a very long time the subject was the talk of the country.

Masud's last mission was promotion of Punjabi language and culture for which he formed a forum which arranged some seminars and a letter signed by more than one hundred writers, intellectuals etc was sent to the president and other functionaries of the state and the province, demanding introduction of Punjabi as medium of instruction at least at the primary level. If the ruling elite of Punjab had some foresight, they must have immediately accepted the demand and this clash on dialect basis in the south Punjab could have been easily avoided. And the fact is that Masud's all initiatives were quite appropriate and needed to be implemented when they were publicly aired. It would have brought back the teaching power of the mother.

Curtsey.DAWN.COM SEP 05, 2011



Women in Punjabi folk song
Shafqat Tanvir Mirza


SWAANIAN TEY LOK GEET… compiler Izhar Husain Awan; pp 120; Price Rs100 (Pb); Publishers New Line Publishers, 3/8 E. Street No 6, Cavalry Ground, Lahore. E-mail: newline2100@yahoo.com.uk.

The compiler and researcher of the songs collected from Pothohar area is no more in this world. Izhar died in 2008 at the age of 43 while he was serving as a teacher in a college in his ancestral town Bhuchhal Kalan in Chakwal district. In brief, at the early stages of his life he was not interested in having higher education. After secondary school certificate, he left and then after many years he cleared his FA and BA and joined the Punjabi Department of the Punjab University and earned good reputation as a brilliant student. In that position he wished to write a thesis on ‘women in the perspective of Pothohar’s folk songs’ and he was assigned to write… the subject to which an Indian (Pakistani before 1947) scholar Vanjara Bedi had already made a solid contribution followed by Afzal Parvaiz, a progressive writer, poet, musician and journalist. He collected folk songs from the same area and meanwhile his articles and pieces he had gathered were published in installments in the now defunct Urdu daily Imroze.
The most unfortunate aspect of his labour was when he saw the same songs lifted from his articles published in a book form under the title of “Pothohari Lok Geet”….. There were two separate volumes carrying almost the same material with names of different authors. One of them was a well-known teacher and poet of Urdu also while the second one was some unknown fellow. Those were the days when Punjabi was recognised by the Punjab University as one of the oriental languages. The three-tier examination was also offered privately and after clearing these examinations, one was allowed to appear in the English and earn the BA degree. That is why a small space was created for Punjabi books.
Izhar had most probably also gone through that way and reached the Oriental College to be assigned the subject of “Status of Woman in Pothohar folk songs”. The other books from which he sought help were Awan Kari compiled by the late Prof. Shaheen Malik, Pothohar by Aziz Malik and Dhan Malooki by Prof. Anwar Beg Awan.
The story of this work apart from the tale of the compiler needs more attention. He suddenly fell ill and lost his two legs and two arms. Some parts of his second arm including the thumb were saved and he emerged as shining hope out of total hopelessness. He did his MA, joined as lecturer in the college of his hometown where in the light of his own experiences he established an NGO Irada Centre. Before his sudden death, he had established two schools for disabled persons and a limb center also. Izhar, basically a disabled man got the art to drive a three-wheel motorcycle which made him all the time mobile. From his personal example you may call him an example personified. The only credit he had and with that his moving spirit collected, tapped the required sources for establishing Irada Centre. Its two tiers were completed and on the third, he wanted to get it inaugurated from some known personality and the ceremony was to be held in December 2008. October heart-attack could not spare another two months to Izhar who had in his last days had a look on his MA thesis which saw the light of the day in July 2011.
For Izhar the area in Pothohar falls includes: Thhal (Pind Dadan Khan to Kandiwal, Vanhar (from Manara to Kalar Kahar), Soon (Noshehra, Khabakki), Pakharr (Chinji, Talagang), Ghetbi (Jand, Pindi Gheb), Khttarr (Attock), Dhan (Neela, Chakwal), Kahoon Malot Fort (Dulmial) and Jhangarr (Katas Raj, Choa Saidan Shah). It also includes the whole of Taxila, Rawalpindi, Islamabad and Gujjar Khan tehsils.
Izhar has without any need had very narrowly marked the area of Pothohar, otherwise it is much wider area between river Jhelum and Sindh known as Sindh Sagar Doab.
Though the political interpretation of the folk songs was not part of Izhar’s research but Aamar Riaz in his foreword asserts that the history of the ancient Punjab is found scattered in the folk legacy of the Punjab which needs attention of the scholars who want to put the Punjab in its real perspective. A folk song from the semi-hilly areas of the Punjab has following lines.

(I have spread millet on top of the roof, but immediately will come crows who would spoil the corn. That is another problem for me). Here “crows” are outsiders-invaders of all times. The Punjab has faced innumerable invasions and about the attacks of Nadir Shah, a folk song’s opening lines are:

Nadir has invaded our country and my husband is either among those who want to fight back or he has already been captured by the enemy).

(It is the regime of the Farangis and they have let loose hell on us. Famine forces me to eat Pohli instead of wheat… Pohli a self-grown corn of very inferior quality usually destroyed by the farmer just to have good crop of wheat). — STM

dawn 12 November 2011



World Mother Language Day and Punjabi
Shafqat Tanvir Mirza


United Nations World Mother Language Day is observed on Feb 21, the day Dhaka University students suffered bullet injuries while demonstrating for the recognition of Bangla, their mother language.

The Day was proclaimed after the continuous efforts of Bangladesh intelligentsia which freed itself from the linguistic and political slavery of west Pakistanis. The term ‘slavery’ was used by great linguist Dr Shaheedullah, of Dhaka University, before the emergence of Pakistan. The former Aligarh Muslim University vice-chancellor said if Urdu or Hindi and not Bengali was used in law courts of future state of Pakistan and universities that would be tantamount to political slavery.

The controversy triggered clashes between the two wings of the country – East Pakistan and West Pakistan – over the language issues. Then Karachi was the capital and Bengali language did not make to currency notes, stamps, coins and officials forms asserting that only Urdu would be the state language of Pakistan. The issue for the first time brought teachers and students of Dhaka University on streets in 1948. Many Pakistan Constituent Assembly members from Indian provinces of UP, Delhi and Bombay such as Nawabzada Liaquat Ali Khan and Maulana Shabbir Ahmad Usmani were elected or nominated seats of Bengalis turning the Bengali members into a minority. The Bengalis were expecting a better treatment from those non-Bengalis elected on their seats. But the result was opposite to that. The Punjab stands as a prime accused in the language issue and on UN Mother Language Day, both Punjab and Urdu language will not be remembered in polite words.

Punjabis in the bureaucracy and academia are to some extent responsible for opposing Bengali. The prime minister Liaquat Khan proclaimed Urdu as the Muslim language, spoken by all the Muslims of the subcontinent, when Bengali MCA Dharinder Nath Dutta suggested in the proceedings of the assembly that Bengali should be treated like English and Urdu. The Liaquat government did not accept the Bengalis demand till his tragic death in October, 1951.

In the firing of Feb 21, 1952, which created Shaheed Minar, the most inspiring national monument, Punjabi police officer Masood Mahmood, usually stand the prime accused of firing the first bullet.

The question, however, is how the firing was arranged by the Dhaka superintendent of police, Muhammad Idrees, accompanied by District Magistrate SH Qureshi who later became the Lahore High Court judge. The Dhaka High Court conducted an inquiry into the firing in which Hamoodur Rehman, later on chief judge of Pakistan, presented the pubic, students and teachers as a lawyer. The report has been published in a book, It is My Mother’s Face. According to the report, Dhaka ASP Masood Mahmood was the first to reach the troubled spot with police by 8am and the firing was ordered by district magistrate after 3pm.

SSP Muhammad Idrees (probably a Bengali) says before the judge: “There were three head-constables, 30 constables of the armed branch, two head-constables and 14 constables of the unarmed branch, and one head-constable, and 14 constables of the gas squad, one inspector and two sergeants.

“The crowd was advancing with showering of brickbats and I had to come with armed forces to put them in position. When the situation came to such a pass that we were being almost encircled and overpowered, I consulted the DM and DIG (AZ Obaidullah, most probably a Bengali) who had all along been present there. We decided to open fire.”

Now it must be clear how far Punjabi police was involved in the Bengali affair. After the death of Liaquat Ali Khan, Khwaja Nazimuddin (Bengal) succeeded him. The Constitutional Assembly session was held on April 10, 1952, in which government member from East Pakistan Nur Ahmad moved the language resolution: that this assembly is of the opinion that Bengali language along with Urdu language shall be made the State language of Pakistan”.

The president or the speaker asked Nur Ahmad whether he wanted to speak but government member Nurul Amin interrupted him. At this, Sardar Shaukat Hayat from Punjab said: “An official is stopping him (Nur Ahmad) from speaking…” A moment later, Pirzada Abdus Sattar (Sindh) jumped in to postpone the debate on the resolution, another indication of government unwillingness to include Bengali on the list of the state languages. But Bengali members were all for the debate. From West Pakistan, Sardar Shaukat Hayat (Punjab) spoke in favour of Bengali. On the other hand, 41 members, including Dr Ishtiaq Husain Qureshi and Dr Mahmud Husain (both from East Pakistan) voted against Bengali while MH Gazdar and Ahmad EH Jaffar from Karachi also opposed the move. Shaukat Hayat in his speech said: “I belong to a province where we have nurtured and brought up Urdu in the last 30 or 40 years or more and Punjabi is proud of nurturing that language which was not its own…I am today with the fullest responsibility standing here to support the issue of Bengali and I say let us have Bengali as one of the State languages because it is the language of the 4 crore and 19 lakh people living in East Pakistan. If we from West Pakistan are going to oppose the urge of the people of East Pakistan we will be responsible for starting trouble in East Pakistan, which may damage the fabric of my country and my nation……”

That was the voice of a Punjabi raised in the highest democratic forum of the then Pakistan. But the rulers (still the Muslim League) could not learn the lesson from 21st February, 1952 tragedy and their successors, the present rulers have adopted a suicidal linguistic policy at least in the case of Punjabi.

CURTSY :DAWN.COM: PUBLISHED FEB 21, 2012













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