Archive for the ‘AUTHOR’ Category

Death of Amritsar’s short story writer ………..by N. S. Tasneem


shravan kumar urdu

ON November 28, Shravan Kumar Varma breathed his last in Amritsar. His passing away at the age of 85 has suddenly brought to the mind that Amritsar can no more boast of having nurtured Urdu short story writers. During the early 1930s, Saadat Hasan Manto made his mark in Urdu fiction with his debut short story, ‘Tamasha’, that centred around a victim of the Jallianwala Bagh massacre. On the footsteps of Manto, some writers contributed fictional works and poetic creations to Urdu literature in the decades to come.

It so happened that in the mid-1940s, some students wedded to Urdu literature got admission in Hindu College, Amritsar. Shravan Kumar Varma was among those. His first Urdu short story titled ‘Pardesi’ was published in the college magazine, ‘Shivala’. Incidentally, I was the student editor of the Urdu section of that magazine. Both of us, along with some other like-minded lovers of Urdu, such as Mohinder Bawa, Inder Kumar Sagar, Gopal Krishan and K.K. Razdan, were under the influence of Prof M.M. Mathur, who had also taught Urdu and Persian to Saadat Hasan Manto years ago.

In the days to come most of us left Amritsar, in search of new pastures, but Varma stuck to his guns. He settled permanently in Amritsar as a lawyer. During the course of six decades, he published some collections of short stories and a few novels. He was popular in the entire subcontinent, as his fiction had attracted readers both in India and Pakistan. Some of his works had been translated into Hindi and Punjabi, besides English. One of his short stories found place in ‘Select Urdu Best Stories’, published by Penguin.

He had been bestowed with the Shiromani Urdu Sahitkar Puraskar in 1993 by the Languages Department, Punjab. Thereafter some other awards sponsored by the literary organisations and Urdu academies followed, but he remained unmindful of all these honours. He was fully absorbed in creative literature, even while neglecting the duties of his profession. He was well versed in Urdu and Hindi, but he had a special niche in his heart for Punjabi. He had been the President of the Sahit Vichar Kendra for many years. Some of his Punjabi short stories were published in Punjabi monthly ‘Lau’ and Punjabi quarterly ‘Akhkhar’, brought out from Amritsar. The Editor, Parminderjit, a Punjabi poet in his own right, was instrumental in getting his Urdu short stories rendered into Punjabi.

Unluckily he remained confined to his bed for a long time due to one ailment or the other. He was hard up in those days but he considered it below his dignity to approach the authorities concerned for financial help. Still there is a feeling of grudge in the litterateurs that the Languages Department, Punjab did not come to his help suo moto while his plight had been mentioned in newspaper columns many times.

Some time ago I visited him at his place and found him, in the words of T.S. Eliot, ‘like a patient etherised upon a table’. Earlier I had found him composing short stories and poems while lying in his bed. He had in himself a reservoir of patience and confidence, full to the brim. Even now when the last Urdu story-teller in Amritsar has bidden us goodbye, something can be done to make life easy for his wife and two daughters. Unluckily, his young son had died a year ago, leaving the ailing father in dismay. He stifled his cry in the throat, and that prompted his death.

FIRST PUBLISHED IN THE TRIBUNE

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Manto’s Daughters explore their roots… By Rashmi Talwar


Manto’s Daughters warmly welcomed in India

Manto’s Daughters explore their roots

BY Rashmi Talwar

AMRITSAR SEPTEMBER 8, 2012–They were garlanded and warmly welcomed as they crossed the Wagah –Attari Indo Pak border. Even the BSF laid out a welcome fare for them. Village Paproundi was dancing, and gaily bedecked for the ‘pag feras’- the first visit of daughter to her father’s home, after the village’s son left it long ago.

Saadat Hassan Manto–One of the greatest short story writers during Partition of 1047

They arrived in an open jeep waving to the crowds and motorbike and scooter borne public in a grand procession, from Samrala in Ludhiana district, to the ancestral village of their father. As their cavalcade progressed Nighat Patel Manto, Nusrat Jalal Manto and Nuzhat Arshad Manto, daughters of acclaimed son of the soil Saadat Hasan Manto, belonging to this quiet little hamlet of Paproundi, felt the tangent ‘power of pen’ of their writer father, whose poignant stories on partition brought him accolades as well as brickbats during his lifetime. It was the 100th birthday celebrations of this Kashmiri, born in village Paproundi .

Ladoos and sherbet were pressed onto the eager entourage, a village Gurdwara priest decked the daughters with siropas while ‘bhangra’ was in full bloom to the beat of dhols and the village belles laid out a tangy flavour of ‘gidda’

Saadat Hasan Manto, a Kashmiri and a prolific writer had chronicled the freedom struggle and the aftermath of partition and churned such blatant writings as ‘Bu’ (odour), ‘Khol do’ (open it ) ‘Thanda Gosht’ (cold flesh) and ‘Toba Tek Singh’ -a story of mental asylum, a telling insight into the conditions prevailing during the tragic days of partition,. Unfairly berated, loved and loathed in equal measure during his lifetime, today Manto’s spirit loomed large in his gaily festooned village.

Castigated and tried for ‘obscenity’ for his writings that had unravelled the lives of prostitutes , besides which came tales of shocking inhumanity behind a curtain of religious fervour and multitude social issues, more tumbled out of dark closets in the form of ironies with surprise endings, in his stories.

Even after a hundred years of his birth, he is seen more as courageous man who told all, took all and remains untamed, without any apologies and thereby caught the imagination of the readers and fans like no other.

Manto was born in 1912 and celebrating the centennial of Manto’s birthday this year, his village sees a joyous procession welcoming his three daughters. Moving at a snail’s pace, a target of a young girl hit bulls-eye and the rolled petals she threw at the open jeep, opened mid-air in a petal shower over the heads of the daughters.

Here was born a man who had soothed his wife Safiya’s worried brow during his last alcoholic poverty ridden days with –“Safu jee, tuhanu kadi wi koi masla neyi huey ga” (you will never suffer any financial crisis) perhaps Manto knew that the world ahead would appreciate his lifetime’s toil in writing.

He was also the man who wrote his own epitaph-“Here lies buried Saadat Hasan Manto in whose bosom are enshrined all the secrets and art of short story writing. Buried under mounds of earth, even now he is contemplating whether he is a greater short story writer or God.”

But all the words are not seen on it anymore, said Nighat to Rising Kashmir –“My phuphoo (paternal aunt) replaced it, thinking that it could have serious consequences if left un-tampered”. So the epitaph today reads: “Here lies buried Manto who still believes that he was not the final word on the face of the earth.”

Manto, a writer ahead of his times, came to the state of Jammu &Kashmir only to recuperate and visited Doda, Kishtwar and Batote but could never visit the Kashmir valley as he later wrote in an open letter to Pt Jawaharlal Nehru.
His writings about injustices, social issues and harsh realities became a stark mirror to society about tabooed topics and these were challenged in courts in India and Pakistan, but he escaped conviction. Once he shot back to the judge, “A writer picks up his pen only when his sensibility is hurt.” His fears about America’s domination of Pakistan in his Uncle Sam series of letters proved, prophetic.

Born to a Kashmiri Muslim family, Manto had his early childhood in Amritsar. His father being a disciplinarian, Manto dreaded him and fared badly in studies. “Formal study was not his temperament” says his daughter Nusrat, who was barely 7-years when her father died but gathered the tit bits on her father from his friends. Nusrat is also working with Manto’s niece and noted historian Ayesha Jalal, who is writing a biography of Manto.

Ismat Chugtai, Manto’s contemporary writer and friend who too faced flak for her stories once quoted Manto as saying – “The future looks beautiful in Pakistan. As now Muslim migrants would get the houses of those who fled from here.” She adds “He was inconsolable and could not disassociate India from Pakistan or Bombay from his heart till his end.”

During the almost royalist procession the sisters looked up and in thanksgiving raised their hands in dua for peace, Nighat (67) who was born in India said ‘Indeed it feels like a true homecoming’ as if the heavens too were showering their blessings. By all means I would love to come to India and in the same breath, urged for easing of visas’.

Abdul Rehman, Trustee of the Aalmi Urdu Trust, Delhi aired his views that India and Pakistan‘s exchange in fields of literature, art and culture are the true bonding avenues that would erase the trust deficit between the two countries to a large extent.

Dr Mallik Raj Kumar a kathakaar and story writer, editor of Abhinav Imroz, a Hindi magazine who co-hosted the trio along with three other Urdu story writers including two women amongst them, queried if they would like to come every Sunday to India? To which they laughed ‘We can’t be so greedy, if we are allowed to come once a year, which would be sufficient’, they said as they laid the foundation of Manto Memorial Gate in the village. A primary school to be upgraded to Middle and named Manto Memorial School and a library in his name was broadcast to people of the village from the stage. To my query, if any of the sisters possessed Manto’s famed Schaeffer pens or the ‘khussa’ juttis he so loved or any such nishanian – Nuzhat retorted amusingly – “We are his three nishanian”

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BOX –A

Manto’s daughters from Pakistan

Faiz Ahmed Faiz

Faiz Ahmed Faiz wrote to his wife Alys upon Manto’s death “I was very sad to hear of Manto’s death. Inspite of all his shortcomings, he was very dear to me and I am proud that he was my student in Amritsar…”
He defended Manto against the charges levelled against him by the Progressives, not necessarily because he admired Manto’s art and his convictions (which he did, to some extent) but because he believed that freedom of speech and expression was a basic human right and should be defended at all costs. Faiz, one of the greatest poets of the sub continent, taught English in the Muslim Anglo Oriental (MAO) College at Amritsar before partition.
Manto for Punjabis is the common treasure of both India and Pakistan just as Amrita Pritam, Faiz Ahmed Faiz and others. While Pakistan government issued a commemorative stamp on Manto on his 50th Death anniversary, Indian officialdom did not bother for the celebrated writer, born as he was in India.
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BOX- B

Manto’s hometown Amritsar

Kucha Vakilan in Amritsar where Manto stayed

The daughters would visit the house occupied by Manto and their grandparents in Gali Kucha Vakilaan where shops have been constructed in place of Manto’s house, as also the ‘Hindu Sabha College’ at Dhab Khatikaan, in Amritsar before leaving for Lahore.
This college and the city of Amritsar holds a unique distinction as Manto- a Muslim, the present Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh- a Sikh and also the Hero of 1971 Indo Pak War that freed Bangladesh-First Field Marshal of India Sam Manekshaw –a Parsi had made Amritsar their home and studied in this college . Vijay Kapur (65) who had bought Manto’s place here and converted into a shop while talking to Rising Kashmir, said that his parents did talk about a writer staying here and loads of books were found in the house.
Manto was seven years old when in 1919 the Jallianwala Massacre took place that intensified the ouster of British and spelled freedom for India. Amritsar was the hub of revolutionary activities and as a young he is known to have gone on a spree of pasting anti British posters by night, which many revolutionary boys at the time freely indulged in.

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BOX-C
Point of view

Hindu Sabha College in Amritsar where Manto and many greats studied including Sam Manekshaw, PM Dr Manmohan Singh

Kuhu Tanvir on his impressions about Manto in Pakistan said, till five years ago it did not seem that Manto was actually celebrated in Pakistan. His books were impossible to find in shops in Lahore and his daughter confirmed for us that there was indeed some amount of suspicion around him as a figure and his works were definitely treated like ‘ticking bombs’ (which they are!).
Secondly, I went to Manto’s grave in Lahore (his daughter took us) and it was as plain and unadorned. Forget the epitaph, even his name was not on it. Like most Islamic graves, it was difficult to identify. They have redone it only in the last few years.

FIRST PUBLISHED IN RISING KASHMIR

Entrepreneurial lessons from Amritsar


BY HIMANSHU JHAMB ON DECEMBER 28, 2009

I recently visited the holy city of Amritsar – home to the famous Golden Temple, the most revered shrine for Sikhs. Little did I know that my intended spiritual pilgrimage would turn into an entrepreneurial pilgrimage as well. It all started with a chance meeting with the owner of the hotel where we were staying, Mr. Ajay Kapoor. My brother and I were looking for an internet connection and were escorted to Mr. Kapoor’s office, for that purpose. It did not take us long to strike a conversation with Mr. Kapoor and find out that not only was he the owner of the hotel where we were staying but also an entrepreneur at heart. Many stories were shared but one of them stood out that I’d like to share, in Mr. Kapoor’s own words.
I do not have a lot of formal education but what I do have is a lot of practical, on-the-field education. One of the key things I have learnt over the course of my entrepreneurial career (Mr. Kapoor has been running various kinds of businesses for more than 30 years now) is that Relationships are fundamental in building any business. My son is pursuing formal education in Australia and I help him out a bit, financially. I do not send him money directly, I send the money to friends of mine in Australia and then ask them to hold on to it until my son comes and picks it from them… and I tell my son to visit these friends of mine and collect the money from them. Sometimes, I even send envelopes with “Very Important” written on them to my acquaintances (some of them are very accomplished folks) and request them to hold on to those until my son shows up to collect the envelope… and what I send inside the envelopes is a simple letter addressed to my son, that just says “I love you”.
I was quite moved by Mr. Kapoor’s story because it contained deep practical knowledge of an important lesson in entrepreneurship, in the simplest of ways – Relationships matter, big time! All Mr. Kapoor is constantly doing is increasing his son’s capacity by creating an opportunity where he can show up at the doorsteps of these accomplished people and coordinate some action with them. You never know which one would blossom into a rewarding relationship for life.
Here are a few other lessons in Entrepreneurship I took away from Amritsar:
It is all about the People: Mr. Kapoor insisted we address each other by our names and said that that is just his philosophy. According to him, without names, people just end up as titles once they are gone and that is just common practice that will generate mediocre results for the business.
Competitive Advantage: Our train was late the night we reached Amritsar and by the time we got to our hotel it was 11:30PM. We had a full 3 course meal before we went to bed, something that would be a luxury in most hotels (keep in mind we were not in a 24 hours service 5-star hotel, but a local hotel in this holy city). The hot meal, after a tiresome journey, just hit the spot and this does give Mr. Kapoor a competitive advantage over those that do not provide this service, that late.
Personal Touch: By the time we were done with our day trip, the next day, we were quite tired. Being a little short on time (we were leaving at 5AM next morning), I could not imagine leaving without eating the city’s favorite delicacy – Amritsari fish. Mr. Kapoor not only arranged for it for us but also accompanied us on our table with his charming company, while we savored the delightful dish. We were simply “Wowed” by the Personal touch he extended as part of his fantastic hospitality.
Trust from the ground up: Mr. Kapoor lives and works with his brothers where he and his brothers run the common business and the entire family treats the resources as a common pool – which he fondly called “Swimming Pool”. I was awed by the mere thought of how much one can learn about trust, a fundamental virtue in every business, just by living and working in this model.
While sitting on the train on my way back to Delhi, I could not help but reflect back on my trip to Amritsar, where I got much more than what I had bargained for – Not only was I fortunate to take my grandmother to the sacred pilgrimage, but also inadvertently was taken on an entrepreneurial pilgrimage of my own – thanks to Mr. Kapoor.

This article was contributed by Himanshu Jhamb, co-founder of Active Garage. You can follow Himanshu on Twitter at himjhamb.

LAHORE DI KIRAN BEDI NEELMA NAHEED DURRANI


BY RASHMI TALWAR

PUNJABI TRIBUNE

LAHORE DI KIRAN BEDI NEELMA NAHEED DURRANI



FIRST PUBLISHED IN SATURDAY SPECIAL MAGAZINE OF PUNJABI TRIBUNE issue of October 31, 2009


LAHORE DI KIRAN BEDI NEELMA NAHEED DURRANI

ENG- ROMAN TRANSLATION OF ABOVE ARTICLE

Punjabi Tribune
Amritsar 31.10.2009

Lahore (Pakistan) di pehli aurat SSP Neelma Naheed Durrani nu utho di Kiran Bedi kiha jave ta atikathni nahi hovegi. Aajkal Uh Sanjukt rashtar mission (UN)de daure te Sudan gahi hoe hain.
Durrani vaste Pakistan varge desh vich police jahe kitey (profession) nu apnona, uss dian chunotian nu kabool ke ek safal police adhikari banna, jithe uss85
de vadhi parapti hai ate punjabian lye maan wali gal hai, uthe bharat daurian duran Bharat-Pakistan te vishesh karke dove desha de Punjabian vichanle nige ate sadbhavna wale samband sirjne uhna de sakhshiat da ek vilakhan pehlu ve hai.

Uhde andarli shairaa da hi shayad eh ek hor pehlu hai ke sakhat police afsar hundian ve uh manukhi sabandaa de nave aayam hi nahi sirjadi, sagoo sabandaa de sukhmata nu ve maandi hai.
Uh Amritsar apne purkian da ghar labhaan aye tan us nal mulakat hoi.

Usne kiha ke jadon mein Wagah sardhad paar kiti tah mainu lagia ke lambe chir to athe auan da mera supna aaj pura ho gaya hai. Mere Abba te mera dada aaj Lahore de momenpura de shamshanghat vich kabran vich pai khush ho rahe honge ki uhna di dhee sada apna shehar vekhan gai hai. Us kiha ke mera Abba agahan Ajaz Hussain Durrani 1947 de vand vele Lahore aa vase san. Aaj mein apne purkan da shehar vekhan aye ha taan eh pal mere maan nu tripati den wale hann te usne apne bjurgaan de shehar de mitti nu mathey nal chhuhaya atte Allah da shukar kita.
Uh 11 pustkaa de lekhak hai, Jina vich char pustka Urdu kavita ate do Punjabi kavita dian haan. Us da shairana andaz kewal Pakistani punjabian nu hi nahi bhaunda sago bharati Punjabi ve uss de kavia de murid haan ate usde shairi di khusbu nu maande haan. Uh bhut farakdil hai. Jadoon uh Amritsar dee Sharifpura abadi vich apna pushteni ghar labhan gai ta Udthey stith ik chah de dukan te Satpal Soni nal hi shairi de mehfil jama layi.
Shairana andaz vich gal kardian uss kiha ki shairi dian mehfalan vich jadoon mein shamil hundi haan taan us vele thode ghabraht mehsus kardi haan par jadoon shairi sunadi han tan is taran mehsus hunda hai ki mein andron bahut majboot haan. Mera vishvash nahi dolda.
Us kavita deian satran chuhian:

”tera mulak menu apne mulak jiha keon lagde ne,
` tere lok menu apne jihe keon lagde ne.
Tere mulk de mitti vich mere mulak dee
mitti di khushbu keon aundi hai.
Tu menu apne hi keon lagdi ai,
Ke hain jo sahnu jorda hai
Ki hain jo sanu torda hai
Larai nal nuksan ek da nahi, dovan da hunda hai.”

Mein uhna nu puchhia ke police ate shairi da ke mel hai keonki dovan de subha vakho vakhre haan, tah uh muskurandian akhan lagi ”police mera apna chunian kita hai te shahri mera jamandru ”Nuks”. Us kiha ki police officer banna mere laye saukha kam nahi se. Jadon 27 vare pehlan mein is kite vich ayi tah har paseon mera virodh hoiya. Sabh kehde san ke mein adihapak bana ja koe hor sokha jiha kita apnavan, par mein apne faisle ‘teh drir saan. Aaj Uhee sare mere te maan karde han.

Mein uhna nu ek sawal kita, je uh police afasar na bandi tah hor kise kite nu uss pehal deni si, tah uss turanat keha ”mein patarkar banna si”.

Neelma ek kavitri te police afasar he nahi sagon us andar ek paritba da khazana hai. Uhne farsi, patarkari te Punjabi vich post graduation degree kiti hoi hai. Uh Column- nivis ve hai. Uh Pakistan Television vich news caster the Announcer veh rahi. FM-101 radio Lahore te radio jockey ve rahi.
Uhdian pustakan usde zindagi di jaddoo jedhaad da nichor han.

“Jab nehar kinare sham dale, tuhara shehar kesa hai, vapasi da safar, chanan kithe hoya dukh sabaiya jg, “Chand Chandni Chandigarh”, “Chadde Suraj de Dharti” (Japan de yatra bare), “Raste mein gulab raken hein”, pustaka vich uhne apnian andarlian bhavnava nu bariki te khubsurati nal lafzaa vich paroia hai.
Uh apni pustak Chand Chandni Chandigarh” vich Chandigarh de yatra bare apne parbav pargat kardian likdi hai, “Menu eh vekh ke harani hoi ke bharat vich ladkian bina kese dar toh dine-raat scooteran teh bajian phirdian haan. Ajeha tah mein apne adunik ban chuke Lahore vich ve nahi vekhian. Lahore vich tah din vich vi ajeha karan de koi ladki jurat hi nahi kar sakdi.
Sudan ravana hon toh pehla uhda suneha aya si. Menu, mere parvar nu, mere desh nu eh maan milya hai ki mein pehli Pakistani aurat Uch police adikari haan, jisnu UNO mission teh bhejia ja reha hai. Kiran Bedi ve bharat de eko ik aurat se, jis nu eh maan milya si . Mein ve Kiran Bedi hon vargi mehsus kar rahi haan.
Mein puchia, bharat aun da progamme kadon banega, us jawab dita ”keho jiha dukh bharia sawal kita? Jadon toh halat kharab hoye han, dil khijia-khijia rehnda hai . Pata nahi kehreh zalim han, jihrah iss khete de lokan nu Pyar-Mahobaat nal mildian vekh nahi sukaonde .”
Us akhia bharat mera ghar hai. Menu Amritsar ve Lahore varga lagda hai. Mein tohade toh , Amritsar toh, vichharia mehsus kar rahi haan. Hor dosta de khaat ve mehsus kar rahi ha.
Fer ek din e-mail te udha suneha aya ”Sade mausam ek han, hawa, badal, barash ekho jehi hundi hai. Phir ve eh doorian kio han.
”kasha asi ve Europe vang miljul ke rahiye, gawandi mulkaan nal jadoon dil kare, ek duje nu mil liya kariye, na dehshatgardi, na jang. Bus pyar, mahobbat , aman, sakoon teh dosti hove.” Shanti de uss dut ne akhia.
Par mein chupp haan, uss dian ehna bhavnavan da ki jawab devan

Rashmi Talwar