KARACHI, Jan 1: Modern Sindhi literature, in some detail, was discussed by Sindhi and Urdu writers at a meeting chaired by Prof Saher Ansari on Friday. The speakers included critic and story writer Mumtaz Meher, besides Qamar Shehbaz, Ghulam Mustafa Lakho, Mobin Mirza and Muslim Shamim.

What prompted the discussion on modern trends in Sindhi literature, was a voluminous book of more than 1,500 pages by a known writer, Mazher Jamil, which appeared recently. Interestingly, the hefty volume covering the history of Sindhi language and literature was written in Urdu, "a perfect book of its kind not to be seen even in Sindhi language", commented by Ms Fehmida Hussain and seconded by the Ibrahim Joyo."

The author brought this book after 30 years of hard work, in a bid to build a bridge between the two languages, Urdu and Sindhi. It was not only the history of Sindh and its literature, but also provided insight into cultural and political life in Sindh, said Muslim Shamim, adding that it was a doctoral thesis, which should be acknowledge by the universities to honour the writer with a degree of doctorate.

To Mumtaz Meher, a doctorate degree was a matter of small consequence; real thing was that modern Sindhi literature was the literature of resistance against the tyranny of rulers. Meher lamented the way the Sindhis, their literature and culture was ravaged by the rulers. Sindhi poetry and literature were deeply rooted in the laud of Sindhi, he said, adding that these had a long history and a rich heritage, but were treated as small "regional entities". He, however, admired the writer, who, he said, had for the first time 'turned the literature into the mirror of the present and past'. Though Meher termed the book a must reading for Urdu writers, he was some what critical when he alleged that some critical comments about certain persons were deleted from the book.

Qamer Shahbaz found the book to be a "very good introduction to Sindhi literature, which covers the events from remote past till our own present literary environ".

Prof Saher Ansari, in his discourse recalled that all the 18 Indian languages enjoyed equal status and were interconnected through translations. The book was the confluence of literature, history and cultural study of Sindh, he said, adding that Sindhi was not given the status of a national language. He said the Arts Council and other cultural institution should accommodate Sindhi writers.

Earlier, Mobin Mirza of the Academy Baazyaft introduced the book "as the first major work in Urdu on the history and trends in Sindhi language on both sides of the border".

Ghulam Mustafa Lakho said the book was a compulsory reading for those who wanted to do some work on Sindhi literature.

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