Baithak Desi Jun 23: Nawaz Disqualifed, On Zardari, Islamic Scholar, Minorities Protection, Advising Kashmiris, Ismat Chughtai, News & Views, Cartoon
The common friend, who has a keen interest in spirituality, told me that he had had a four hour one on one meeting with Asif in NY in 2006. What he told me was mind boggling. According to him, a few years of solitary confinement had transformed AAZ into a spiritualist. This revelation did not surprise me as people can change during period of isolation but what took me aback was the next bit of news. He said that AAZ believed that he was going to play a pivotal role averting a future clash of civilisation; a topic that has been hotly discussed for many years. He linked his new role to the divine pertinence. Ghayur Ayub on Zardari
A hitherto largely unknown Turkish Islamic scholar, Fethullah Gülen, has been voted the world's top intellectual in a poll to find the leading 100 thinkers. Gülen, the author of more than 60 books, won a landslide triumph after the survey - which is organised by the British magazine, Prospect, and Foreign Policy, a US publication - attracted more than 500,000 votes. The top 10 individuals were all Muslim and included two Nobel laureates, the novelist Orhan Pamuk, who is also Turkish, at No 4, and the Iranian human rights lawyer Shirin Ebadi, in 10th. The result surprised organisers, who attributed it to a sustained campaign by Gülen's followers, known as the Gülen Movement, after Turkey's biggest-selling newspaper, Zaman, publicised the poll. Islamic scholar voted world's No 1 thinker
Up in Peshawar, the state has lost most of its writ; down in Faisalabad, the dominant sect wants to finish off an apostatised minority. There are very few who would like to prevent Pakistan from violating its own Constitution that gives equal rights to its minority communities. Editorial D T: Myth of minorities’ protection
The Urdu weekly Chattan, edited by the dedicated Tahir Mohiuddin reflects public opinion more accurately than any other journal in Srinagar. In an article published on November 15, 2007, an exceptionally informed writer, Engineer S A Rashid, questioned the APHC’s capability to deliver at all. Its importance stemmed from popular support to the militancy. If the militants disown it, the APHC will be nowhere. He drew up a balance sheet of the twenty years of militancy (Maslah Shorish ke bees saal: Kya khoya kya paya; Chattan; February 18 — March 14, 2008) and proceeded to counsel in the issue of April 14: “If the separatist leaders do not wake up from their slumber, the mainstream parties will acquire greater importance after the polls.” Advising Kashmiris — AG Noorani
Ismat Chughtai's short stories are a delight to read. Irreverent and iconoclastic, they cut across stereotypes, morals and manners, exposing social injustices and foibles through engaging narratives and characters often related in the first person. Her boldness, social realism, wit and satire call for comparisons with her contemporary Saadat Hasan Manto. Both were part of the Progressive Writers Association, informally the literary wing of the Communist Party of India although they fiercely retained their intellectual independence, refusing to be bound by any party line.
There have been several theatrical adaptations of Manto's short stories (starting with 'Badshahat ka Khatma' in 1958, produced on Manto's death anniversary by none other than Faiz Ahmed Faiz, then director of the Lahore Arts Council) but we've seen little of 'Ismat Apa' on stage in Pakistan. Tehrik-e-Niswan's production of her 'Kafir' and 'Amar Bel' at the Karachi Arts Council, June 7-9, was a welcome move, particularly given the overall excellence of the production.
Anwer Jafri, who scripted and directed the 20-minute 'Kafir', has long been engaged in drama with a purpose, along with contemporaries like Anjum Ayaz, Khalid Ahmed and Akbar Subhani. Some Karachiites may remember their Manto dramatisations and also their association with the well known director Ali Ahmed's theatre group Natak which aimed to bring serious theatre to the people -- much as Sheema Kermani's Tehrik-e-Niswan (Women's Movement) has tried to do since 1981. Beena Sarwar on Ismat Chughtai
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BOOKS Turning point - A G Nooran
Islamic scholar voted world's No 1 thinker
In Urdu: Nizam ki tabdeeli - Hasan Nisar