KARACHI, Feb 22: Eminent writers, poets, literary critics and people from various walks of life gathered at the Arts Council at the launch of journalist and man of letters Ahfazur Rahman’s books, Jang jaari rahegi, Nayee Alif Laila, Tareekh-i--Cheen and Chuan Lai (biography). The literati paid tribute to Rahman’s contribution to literature and academics, calling the works an in-depth analysis on today’s political situation.

Noted historian and human rights activist Dr Jafar Ahmed, while congratulating Rahman on his achievements, said that the books are the need of today, and will leave a mark in the history of literature. He gave a short summary of all the four books. He termed the books on China – which are a translation of two Chinese works – a ‘comprehensive insight’ into Chinese history, culture and lifestyle. The books, he said, talk about China during the days of revolution. He lauded Rahman’s ability to keep the meaning intact while translating them into Urdu.

Dr Ahmed said that during the decade that Rahman spent in China, the latter observed the country’s political patterns and cultural changes closely. He hoped that the readers in general and students in particular will benefit from these observations.

Calling Rahman a ‘broad-minded and analytical person,’ poet Sahar Ansari praised the journalist’s input and added that the content of the books is directed towards the masses’ benefits. He clarified that Jang jaari rahegi – a collection of Rahman’s columns – is not about violence but is actually a step towards peace.

Writer Zahida Hina recalled the days when she and Rahman were colleagues asserting that the latter is still the staunch protester of imperialism he always was, and has never wavered from his beliefs. She added that Rahman’s works encompassed diverse subjects, and shed light on various current political and socio-economic issues. Referring to the recent elections, she said that it was the journalists, lawyers and the masses in general that have saved democracy from marshal law.

Literary critic Dr Mohammad Ali Siddiqui added that Rahman’s poetry is “very original” and brings a fresh breath of air. He discussed the creative use of language in the verses, which were notably without any clichéd phrases. He said that all the four books will quicken people’s curiosity and prompt them to read more on various disciplines and politics. He revealed that Rahman was the first Pakistani Urdu writer whose poem (Mai sab se muhabbat karta hoon – a satire on the US) has made it to Noam Chomsky’s collection.

Ahfazur Rahman later gave a background of his books and said that through his works he has tried to unveil the imperialist influence on Pakistan, and added that imperialism is actually the country’s biggest enemy. He said that the US has never been more interfering in our part of the world, and has never had this many supporters either.

Rahman was very critical of the current political scene and urged the masses to make democracy stronger and expose the imperialist influence in order to witness a better tomorrow. He said that his poetry is a reflection of these thoughts only, and hopes that they will play a role in establishing democracy in the country.

The launch ceremony was presided over by noted poet Jamiluddin Aali. Other speakers included Khalid Chaudhry of the publication Aaj aur kal, and Hasan Zaheer who praised Rahman’s contribution in keeping alive journalistic ethics and fighting for freedom of the press.

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