KARACHI: A book titled Naqqar khaney mein — a collection of Urdu columns by the late poet and writer Jamiluddin Aali — was launched at Karachi Gymkhana on Wednesday.
Distinguished poet and scholar Dr Satyapal Anand presided over the event. He said he needed to talk elaborately on Aali ji on his second death anniversary. Aali ji was five years older than him and “I considered him my teacher. He was kind to me and we would often talk over the phone.”
Dr Anand said speaking about Aali ji he could visualise a few scenes. The first scene was to do with the Loharu family and Aali sahib’s lineage. In that context he apprised the audience, which gradually filled up the hall, about the places that were in the Rajputana area in pre-partition India. He could see, in the first scene, the Nawab of Loharu’s kothi in Delhi. The second scene had the greatest Urdu poet Mirza Ghalib in it. Here one of Ghalib’s acquaintances, Nawab Alauddin Alai, featured [in connection with Aali ji].
Satyapal Anand wants epic poem ‘Insaan’ translated into English
Dr Anand said Aali ji dabbled in many genres of poetry — geet, ghazal, dohay — but the feature of his personality that impressed him the most was his humanism [insaan dosti]. He lamented that humanism was getting rarer in our day and age. Quoting M.H. Askari, he said Aali’s dohay, in terms of subjects, were more diverse or had more variety than his ghazals. And his poem ‘Insaan’ was an epic. There was a time when he [Dr Anand] tried to translate it into English, but stopped after a while. Someone needed to work on it, and if not one individual, then a group of three or four scholars should take up that job.
Prof Sahar Ansari said he had worked with Aali ji at Urdu Dictionary Board and Anjuman Taraqqi-i-Urdu. One of his important achievements was the creation of Writers Guild, where he managed to gather writers and poets of different linguistic backgrounds and worked for their welfare. He was a fearless man who never used his column to serve his own person. He always kept national interest at the top of his priority list. Some of the columns that he penned were literary pieces, and despite having a plain diction carried deep thoughts and ideas.
Prof Ansari said Aali ji liked to read a lot. He introduced the term mustaqbiliayat [futurism] into Urdu. His columns created awareness on important issues among his readers.
Journalist and poet Mahmood Shaam said recently some young men in Srinagar chanted the slogan ‘Jeevey Pakistan’ which reminded him of Aali ji. He claimed reading Naqqar khaney mein felt as if he had got hold of a treasure trove.
Writer Zahida Hina said Aali ji was in love with Pakistan. He used the pen to carve the contours of his life. His columns touched upon important issues concerning society and his epic poem ‘Insaan’ was a notable accomplishment. “He is alive in his words.” He wanted us to progress like Europe [developed countries] but we did not even try that.
Dr Fatema Hasan said a few years back Dr Satyapal Anand’s book was launched at the same venue and Aali sahib presided over that event. Today, Dr Anand was presiding over his book. She said Aali sahib was a dreamer as well as a practical person.
Faisal Edhi was also invited to the programme because Aali ji thought of his father Abdul Sattar Edhi as the greatest man of his time and wished to dedicate his book to him.
Aali ji’s son Zulqarnain Jamil, who has compiled the book, said he wondered why his name was put in as the compiler because a lot of people’s hard work had gone into the publishing of the book. In that regard he mentioned the names of Dr Fatema Hasan, Rukhsana Saba, Prof Sahar Ansari, Zubair Jamil and his siblings.
M. Nafees and Dr Razia Hamid also spoke. The launch was organised by the Anjuman Taraqqi-i-Urdu. The book carried Aali ji’s columns written between 2003 and 2006.
Published in Dawn, December 7th, 2017