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It was about the month of December when I paid a visit to the Karachi International Book Fair, which held every year at the Expo Center Karachi. Paying a visit to every bookstall was an uphill task, so I decided to pay my visit to a few specific yet renowned bookstalls.
Fortunately, I got to see the bookstall of “Oxford University Press” from where I bought a wonderful book titled “Karachi – Our Stories in Our Words” by Manizah Naqvi.
Being a Karachiite, I am fascinated about the history of my city as everybody else does, and always look up to discover the stories created under the name of this city. This book “Karachi – Our Stories in Our Words” is also a collection of 99 stories based on Karachi written by unique writers for a competition arranged by Oxford University Press – edited by Manizah Naqvi.
Reading this book, one after another chapter, it realizes me of the transformation from which this city had been through and still going to this date. The stories of old Karachi, the Karachi of pre-partition times, post-partition, and since after that. The diversity Karachi holds, not only in terms of races but religion though. Therefore, you’ll find the mention of Victoria-wala [Horse Cart], old city areas, old names of the streets, and else.
Going through this book, I also came to know about the essence and beauty, this city loses from time to time in the face of violence. The political divide which further resulted in ethnic violence. Waves of communal riots and sectarian killings. All have been covered in the form of tragic and painful stories, the people of this city have faced.
You find the story of a sad old man and his pigeons portrayed by Syeda Wajiha Akram. An old man, who have spent his whole life seeing the ups and down of the city, is a bit saddened regarding the situation of his city in the final stages of his life.
Another amazing story with the title “Our Last Azaan” by Asmara Malik, in which she puts light to other capital cities of their provinces including Karachi. In this story, she beautifully defines the phrase “Karachi is Hell”.
Yet another masterpiece was written by Faraz Mehmood titled as “The Heirloom”. This is one of my favorite stories from this collection. Faraz beautifully defines the character of ‘Mehtaab’ who works for a business tycoon as a “Khansaama“. The tycoon women blackmail Mehtaab and deprived him of its necessities and belongings, later meets the ill fate of nature.
These stories are just the tip of the iceberg, this book comprises of several wonderful and heart touching stories related to this city. Stories that reminiscences about the splendid nature that differs this city from other cities of the world. From stories like ‘the clash of the poor girl with a rich one that ends at heartwarming note’ to “Karachi, Then… and Now.”, this book has a lot more stories to inspire us, to give us a ray of hope, to thrive, and hope for a better future.
Among all the inspiring and bright stories, I felt broken and terrible about the pain and trauma, the people of this city suffered from, as the majority of the stories linked to the violence continued decades in this city. Such is the intensity of that violence that not only reflects on our minds, but affects our daily lives, and even affected badly our culture and literature, for which this book is a handful proof.
Ending this piece, with my most loved para from this book, quoted from the story “The Old Man and The Pigeons”, as it says:
“I hadn’t ever thought much about life in Karachi but the pieces were gradually beginning to fall into place, it was as if a mist that had enveloped my mind was beginning to lift. As long as you had something going for you in this city, even it was nothing more than afternoon tea, being able to see a sunrise and set each day, and trusting pigeons feeding out of your hand, (or having some street food in the evening), there would be a tomorrow. And there would be hope.”
As we bid farewell to the year 2019, we remind ourselves the ups and downs we had in the whole year. Some of us may cherished the greatest moments of lives in this year, and the others had the worst. I wish and hope, you guys, had the super duper 2018 with many many fond memories, and fulfillment of your resolutions.
At every beginning of the year, we promised ourselves to achieve certain thing which we name as the ultimate goal of the year or a New Year Resolution. So, before speaking of the New Year Resolution, why not highlight and analyze the resolution we made in the recent year 2019.
To me, my year 2019 resolution was to read books as many as possible.. More than I read in the year 2018, which were about 9 (books) in numbers [mentioned here]. Although, the resolution of 2019 was formally about ‘Reading book a week‘, which I clearly broke out in the first week of the year. However, the progress was quite reasonable, as I read the highest number of books in this year all over in my life.
So starting from where I left in the year 2018, the first book of my year 2019 following others as well was:
- Kiranchi Wala (کرانچی والا) by Akhtar Baloch
- Parliamentary Attributes of Quaid-e-Azam by Dr. Umer
- An era of darkness: The British Empire In India by Shashi Tharoor
- Game Changer (Auto biography of Shahid Afridi)
- The History of Russian Revolution (تاریخ انقلاب روس) by Parshad Kanwal
- Think and Grow Rich by Napolean Hill
- The Little Book of Stoicism: Timeless Wisdom to Gain Resilience, Confidence, and Calmness by Jonas Salzgeber
- Political Philosophy by Johanna Olsinki
- Scholars of the East ( دانشِ مشرق )
- Seerat-un-Nabwi صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم by Maulana Shibli Naumani & Syed Salman Nadwi (Vol I)
- Zero to One by Peter Theil
- Story of Benito Mussolini ( داستانِ میسولینی )
- Mind Platter by Najwa Zebian
- Why Nations Fail
- Shoe Dog by Phil Knight (A Memoir from the creator of Nike)
- Lets Come and Become a Dream by Sahir Ludhiyanvi / آؤ کہ کوئی خواب بنیں– مصنف : ساحر لدھیانوی
- سفرِ عشق مصنف : مبشر علی زیدی
- برقعے – مصنف : سعادت حسن منٹو
- اس شہرِ خرابی میں – حبیب جالب
- عہدِ سزا – حبیب جالب
- ہماری آزادی مولانا ابوالکلام آزاد
Although, as per the year 2019 resolution, it seems far less than it actually have to be… nevertheless, something is better than nothing when specially there were 21 books.
With that, I hope and wish you would’ve a year with full of reading too, as I believe living in today’s world (and specially in a third world country), friendship with a book is necessary and inevitable.
Will share the reviews of the above mentioned books soon. Till then, a Happy New Year!!
“Never trust anyone who has not brought a book with them.”
Finished reading “After the Prophet” by Lesley Hezleton. What I came to know from it is that, there are various untold stories of early Islamic history, which we were never told by any cleric or a teacher.
From the last stages of Hazrat Muhammad S.A.W life to after his departure, the unwanted rift between the Muslim groups.
The uprising of Karbala Massacre, and the mysterious death of Hazrat Hasan R.A. Hazrat Hussain’s deserved rule to Hazrat Hussain Shahadat and the other mysterious facts such as the role of Marwan, who was supposed to be the aide of Hazrat Usman R.A, affected the whole Islamic History. The manipulation done by him, that caused the Shahadah of Hazrat Talha R.A and Hazrat Zubair R.A.
The tussle of power and divide in today’s middle east, with a taste of Iranian Revolution in 1979 and the split between Shia and Sunni. The cold war carried by America and its allies, and many other topics, that you will get to know about once you start reading After The Prophet by Lesley Hezleton.
Lesley has done an absolute justice with her pen. A MUST READ!