KARACHI: A book titled Muft Le Lo Khwab by senior journalist Shahid Husain was launched at the Karachi Press Club (KPC) on Friday evening.

Dr Tauseef Ahmed Khan, who anchored the event, said it’s the author’s second book; the previous one too was about dreams, and this one is about the same with a difference that this time round most of the dreams that he has penned as his memoir are not complete. However, the book has features which can whip up lively debates, he added.

Rafiq Patel said he met Husain at the University of Karachi for the first time. He was senior to him. At the time they were associated with a [progressive] movement. The book, though not in entirety, touches upon the movement and the good people that were running it. The disintegration of the movement (tehreek ka bikharna) is reflected in what Husain has written.

Akhtar Balouch mentioned the time when Husain was put behind bars and his mother came to see him. The superintendent of police at the jail didn’t like the way he [Husain] looked at him so he beat him up, which prompted other policemen to follow the superintendent. This must’ve been really painful for his mother to watch, he bemoaned.

Dr Shakil Farooqui said he was asked by the author to speak on the topic of mood disorders. He argued that from a medical point of view the subject seems irrelevant but if one perused the title Muft Le Lo Khwab one would be able to understand the connection. He then in detail spoke on the three types of dreams — dreams, nightmares and good dreams — and their relation to the author’s life and work.

After that, Dr Tauseef Ahmed raised an objection to the book. He said in it Husain had linked human rights movement with the US State Department.

Anwar Saeed said he had known the author from the time when both studied at the Sirajuddaula College established by Raja Sahib of Mahmudabad. Raja Sahib built it because it was a time of extreme polarisation and the progressive movement was pitted against religion. So he thought there should be a college where progressive ideas could be taught. Husain as a student was good with science subjects, and everyone thought that he’d become a doctor, but he was destined to become someone else. Once he was put in jail for distributing pamphlets against the Shah of Iran. In prison he didn’t let anyone else suffer because of him, therefore when he came out of jail, he had turned into a great man (bara aadmi).

Sohail Sangi said he and the author go back half a century. Husain started out as a political worker, then joined journalism and is now an intellectual (danishwar). Mr Sangi did not agree with the notion that the book was about dreams; instead, he claimed, it’s about realities (haqeeqatein). He has given profiles of certain people in a condensed way (in two to three sentences) in Muft Le Lo Khwab, he said.

Abid Ali Syed said he treated Husain like a younger brother. The one common thing that they have is their doctor (Dr Haroon Ahmed, who was supposed to preside over the launch but couldn’t show up). He pointed out some mistakes related to proofreading in the book and complained that a lot of books these days were published without going through a rigorous process.

Secretary of KPC Arman Sabir gave the vote of thanks.

Published in Dawn, November 9th, 2019

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