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April 17, 2018

‘Tulips in the Sand’


April 17, 2018

Islamabad : For its programme of the month, the literature section of the Asian Study Group (ASG) featured a book of poetry titled, ‘Tulips in the Sand’ by Naeem Pasha, who read a number of selected poems from his work. Members and friends showed up for the occasion and there was an interesting Q&A session after the readings were over. This sub group is doing a good job in digging out interesting new and old books for aficionados of literature.

The event began by head of the group, Michèle Galopin introducing the author, while the ever cheerful Dorothy Blane asked questions that revealed the ‘whys’ and ‘wherefores’ of how writing poems became part of the way the author expresses his thoughts and emotions and other facts of his life - his friendship with Faiz Ahmed Faiz who also read his poetry and passed comments; how his passion for architecture began at an early age; about how painting and poetry became part of his creativity later; why he wrote a certain poem and why they were mostly on the melancholy side and so on. He read a few poems and there were a couple of lighter ones, so a question on one of them made him blush a little! His replies were ‘short and sweet’ as they say, with a good deal of humor thrown in. When asked if he was still writing he said there were some scribbles and lines but nothing complete – he appeared to have a mental block which would hopefully go away, especially as his daughter - who is also a poet - was encouraging him.

While Pasha confessed that neither of the three languages featured in the book – English, Urdu and Punjabi are his mother tongue - he is Pashto speaking – he read the Urdu poems with a great deal of feeling and expression and got the most appreciative round of applause!

Naeem Pasha, described as a ‘Renaissance man’, is a leading architect, who also writes and paints. His poems have been published in Pakistan and the US, and his paintings exhibited in both group and solo exhibitions. The book’s main attraction is that it has been written in three languages – mentioned above - with many shades of meanings .The same could be said about the sketches and colour illustrations in the book. A reluctant poet, he started writing poetry in 1964 had to be coaxed into publishing it. His poetry steeped in the experiences of life, expresses some of the most poignant feelings and happenings during what is considered the darkest period in Pakistan’s existence.

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