LAHORE: A collection of poems written by a young girl on subjects ranging from seasons to war to family, titled An Ode of a 10 Year Old, was launched at a hotel on Saturday.

The ceremony was conducted by the father of author Taneesha Omer. Following a recitation of the holy Quran, Taneesha’s elder brother Ahmed -- himself a published author of a fiction novel -- took to the stage to express his thoughts about his sister, her efforts for compiling the book, her personality and their bond through a poetic recitation.

Later, the 10-year-old author came up and introduced herself with a rap. She then shared her journey of writing the book, the inspiration borrowed from her elder brother whose book was published last year, and support from her parents, grandparents and teachers.

Talking about the topics she’s written about, she explained that among the various themes she’s also “tried to highlight the importance of family and their valuable contributions in our lives. I’ve written about a variety of topics from really serious local and global issues, humour to sometimes just daily things we do like seasons and simple actions we take in our lives”.

Taneesha then recited the poem, ‘The Weeping Willow’, from her book.

Addressing the occasion, one of the chief guests, veteran politician Aitzaz Ahsan, said it was unimaginable that children of the age of Taneesha should be writing prose and poetry of this quality.

“Poetry is a genre of literature that demands even more from the author than prose because poetry requires some discipline of rhyme, rhythm and beat, yet he/she brings out a vast reserve of vocabulary.”

He said it was endearing how the young author writes about family and then shows concern for the world through her poem, ‘War is not an option’.

“For a child to write about such a theme shows she’s experienced crises and tragedies of war, what children in Kashmir and Palestine and in other war zones are feeling. I’m reminded about Sahir Ludhianvi’s poem, ‘Jang kya maslon ka hal degi, jang to khud hi aik masla hai’.”

He then read out a verse from the anti-war poem in Taneesha’s book.

“The real victims of war are children, but thank God Taneesha hasn’t seen war. The Pakistan handed down to us from our parents, we aren’t passing the same to our children; this is a much worse form of the country and it’s a very unforgivable crime on our part. The kind of Pakistan looming ahead, the world is going to change in 10 years for the worse for which we’re going to be responsible,” Mr Ahsan concluded.

Later, other chief guest Amjad Abdul Karim, the father of Arfa Karim -- the world’s youngest Microsoft Certified Professional at the age of nine -- said he always felt proud to be introduced with reference to his daughter.

“Ahmed and Taneesha’s work reminded me of certain commonalities with Arfa who also wrote 30 to 40 poems but I couldn’t get them published. She used to sit under the Banyan tree in rural areas and write about Punjabi poetry, Bulleh Shah, Iqbaliyat, the future, family, stars and nature. It was a mix of the old and contemporary.”

At the end, Taneesha recited a poem from her second book of poems which is in the works.

Published in Dawn, May 15th, 2022

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