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KHAYAL DUKKARR by Najm Hosain Sayed; pp 160; Price Rs40 (hb); Publishers; Suchet Kitab Ghar, 11-Sharaf Mansion, Chowk Ganga Ram Hospital, Lahore.

This is 32nd publication of Najm Hosain Sayed, whose contribution to poetry is 13, to drama 8 and to research and criticism 11 collections, including the one in English in which he evaluated the poetry of Bulleh Shah, Waris Shah, Baba Farid, Mian Muhammad Bukhsh and Khwaja Farid. That was his earlier work and later on whatever he wrote that was in Punjabi and in no other language. That is the height of his commitment with his mother tongue.

He translated two Bengali dramas into Punjabi one was by Saeed Ahmad based on Bengali folktale. It was titled “Jungle da Raakha” staged in Lahore during General Ayub's 'Development Decade'. His themes are Punjabi fighters like Dullah Bhatti, Ahmad Khan Kharal and prominent events and characters of historical struggle like Jallianwala Bagh, and the 1857 War…a Bengali drama by Utpil Datt. He translated both the plays from English. The book under review consists of two dramas one Bengali and the second in Punjabi. It again relates to Khilafat Movement but in different perspectives…it is about an intellectual who migrates to Ghazni (Afghanistan) and seeks help for the Movement. Ghazni and Mahmood Ghaznavi are two symbols intermingled with Firdausi, the poet, and with that reference when Khilafat fails, the intellectual with reference to Muzdak learns the philosophy of collectivism or socialism. Iqbal in one of his poems equated Muzdakiat with communism. Many of Khilafat volunteers came back with socialist views.

The translated Bengali drama is about the working class, ruling Mughal class, upper middle class and the British involved in the War of Independence of 1857 at Delhi. The drama starts from 1840 when Heera Singh later on a Sardar of British army sees his father and mother being humiliated by the British, Freezer by name. Bishan's father Bhudhan is a master weaver and produces such a fine cloth that even the British imported cloth cannot match with it. British government's problem is that to successfully market the British cloth, the finest cloth prepared by local workforce should be removed from the market. Bhudhan, the master weaver has been brought to court not to prepare the class cloth or either his thumb will be cut off or heavy duty will be imposed so that its marketing becomes impossible. Bhudhan, his son Bishan (later on named as Heera Singh) grandson of Bhudhan named Kalu (later on known as soldier Lachhman Singh) and Kalu's mother Kastoori….all were humiliated. On which extreme action order against Bishan was given by the British authority but Bishan immediately disappeared from the scene to reemerge as junior commissioned officer of the British force. Heera Singh creates an important space among the friends of Maulana Fazl-i-Haq Khairabadi and is among the freedom fighters from Meerut who marches on Delhi and makes Bahadur Shah Zafar the leader of the war. His son is Kalu. Heera Singh never again contacted his wife and boy Kalu who is now a grown-up soldier and had served General Nicholson….of Margalla fame.

The drama is enacted in the Palace or Lal Qilla of Delhi, Humayun Tomb and camps of the rebel Indians including Hindus…Brahmin and Dalat both…Muslims, and Sikhs.

From the establishment of the Mughal king prime minister Ahsan Ullah Khan, commander Bakht Khan, Rajab Ali, Prince Mirza and Seth Tulla Ram…all the characters with two rebel women Waziran and Kasturi. Waziran was the keep of General Nicholson and now plays anti-British in collaboration with Lachhman, son of Kasturi and Heera Singh. All the characters from the working classes are steadfast in their role as freedom fighters but the characters belonging to ruling feudal and traders class smell that working class fighters would hit them hard after the complete fall of the British….Here is the climax….Najm has used many dialects of Punjabi language…which sometime is not palatable because Punjabis came in after 1857.


MATAAN MIL PAVEY by Dilnoor Noorpuri; pp 208; Price Rs300 (hb); Publishers; Jhoke Publishers, Qasim Bagh Road, Outside Daulat Gate, Multan.

This is the second edition of Dilnoor, a senior and ailing poet suffering from serious liver disease and admitted in Bahawal Victoria Hospital, Bahawalpur. He almost devoted whole of his life for the promotion and popularisation of world Seraiki through poets of the area. He was allured by poetry before clearing his matriculation examination and first himself composed poetry but with a missionary zeal he left aside his own work and started publishing poetry of other Seraiki young poets in pamphlet form. Once this was a very popular marketing method for Punjabi pamphlets and romantic story books. It was quite popular in Lahore even after partition. Dilnoor was publisher as well as the vendor of the poetry… pamphlets of 500 poets. It looks that his domestic life was not very smooth. His family disliked the way Dilnoor was passing his time. His hunting places were fairs, Urs, folk sports competitions, social gathering where he used to appear with a heavy bag full of pamphlets, on his head and some popular and attractive lines from new publications on his lips.

Born in 1957, Dilnoor started his poetic business at the age of 19/20 and never published his own poetry till the first edition of the book under review in 2006. In the book, good impressions about his poetry by Asghar Nadeem Syed, Ahmad Khan Tariq, Dr Nasrullah Khan Nasir, Shakir Shujaabadi and Zahoor Ahmad Dhareeja have been included. The genre Dilnoor has used include Na'at, Dohrra, Qata, Ghazal, Kafi and Geet. A part of the book consists of his humorous poets which seem quite popular among the people. His approach is that of the mystics of the area: