INDEX of a literary magazine is prepared to facilitate research scholars and students to go through its entire editions in a compendium.
Looking up each edition is not only time consuming but no library holds the entire file of a literary magazine. Seeing the entire editions of a literary magazine, a research scholar has to visit a number of libraries in and outside of his or her city. The index of quarterly Sahifa, Lahore, has been prepared covering all its editions spanning from its beginning in ss1957, to 2007.
The very indexical data gathered in the index of Sahifa enables the research scholars to see what has so far been published pertaining to his or her research topic.
Rifaqat Ali Shahid has done a tremendous job in this regard. He has carried out a research to inform how many indexes of Urdu literary magazines and research journals have so far been published.
The very research was published in a quarterly Mayaar, Islamabad, which is the most cited research journal, a couple of years ago.
Sadly, there are hundreds of Urdu literary magazines left to be indexed. Monthly Nigar, Karachi, founded by Niaz Fatehpuri, and presently edited by Dr Farman Fatehpuri is still without an index.
It has been a much cited source for students and researchers. I, being a research student, want to see its entire file to benefit from it. I asked Mr Muhammed Zubair, the chief librarian of the Bedil library, Shafabad, Karachi, where I have been visiting for a couple of years. I was surprised to know that the Bedil library contains its entire photocopy index from its first edition published in February 1922 to 2012.
The chief librarian of Bedil library has arranged these photocopy indexes in his own right for around 60 to 70 most cited Urdu literary magazines, helping the students and research scholars a lot.
I request the research institutions in Pakistan and the research supervisors to motivate their research students not only to index the indexless literary magazines, some dating back to the nineteenth century, but also to digitalise this source of knowledge which is now rusting as no library in Pakistan maintains proper temperature as the Congress library, America has.
I hope that librarians of other libraries holding the corpus of literary magazines would follow the example set by the Bedil library, Karachi, for providing photocopy indexes of those indexless literary magazines to its visitors.
JAWED AHMED KHURSHEED Karachi