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Random thoughts

April 22, 2019

Interesting books


April 22, 2019

I receive a few books by mail every day and almost all the authors hope that I will write review them in my column which, of course, is not possible. I usually only discuss books on science, technology, Islamic history and religion and sometimes add useful, informative ones. The books below fall into the last category.

The first book is ‘Mongolian Pot’, written by my good friend, banker and author, Sirajuddin Aziz, CEO of Group Financial Institutions of Habib Bank A G, Zurich. The title of the book is derived from the famous Chinese dish, Mongolian Hot Pot. For those of you who are not familiar with it, it consists of pieces of chicken, beef, fish, prawns, mushrooms, tofu, Chinese cabbage and noodles put into hot water that has been boiled in a copper/brass pot heated with spirit or charcoal burners. This is all allowed to simmer until done. It is mixed with soya sauce and peanut sauce (optional) and eaten as is or with French bread. At the end, the delicious stock is eaten as a soup. Since it is a mixture of all sorts, we call it the pagal or mad handi. It is eaten only in the winter.

The analogy of the book title with the Chinese dish lies in the fact that the book contains a large number of articles/essays on many different topics. Siraj Bhai is a prolific author, who can write on almost any topic. His English is superb and is worth careful reading by English-language students. The book has been published by BBCL-BDD Publications, Karachi. The forward has been written by well-known journalist and former high commissioner to the UK, Wajid Shamsul Hassan, himself a journalist par excellence with guts. It is a treat to read his forward – excellent English and relevant references to British history.

The book itself contains interesting articles on multiple topics. The book was launched on April 5 this year and the chief guest was my good friend, former interior minister and former governor of Sindh, Gen Moinuddin Haider. Former minister/senator Javed Jabbar and former soldier, banker and defence analyst Ikram Sehgal paid rich tributes to Siraj Bhai. He has also written the following books: ‘In Quest of Mirage’, ‘Bitter Sweet Life and Times of Dad’, ‘The Essence of Islam’ and ‘Emerging Dynamics of Management’. He also regularly writes on important topics in newspapers and magazines. I wish the best of luck to Siraj Bhai in his future endeavours and in his personal life.

The second book is ‘Akhlaquiat, Akhlaqui Qadren or Tameer-e-Shakhsiat’ (Morals, Ethics, Character and Islam) and is written by Masroor Akhtar Qureshi. It has been published by Check Mate Printers, Lahore. It can be obtained directly from Mr Qureshi by calling 0321-4036509 and 042-36623512. Qureshi is a very competent engineer who has served in many foreign countries. He has also lectured on anti-corruption and educational reforms. Now, after his retirement, he is doing excellent social work. This book is the need of the hour and a must-read for all parents, teachers and students. Qureshi has started his book with a verse from the Holy Quran (Surah Qalam, Ayat 4): O Muhammad, surely you are at the citadel of good character.” He has quoted 281 Quranic verses and 902 sayings of the Holy Prophet (pbuh).

Some very important topics are covered in this book – moral values, manners of greetings, norms for conversation, norms for social interaction, dining etiquette, norms for travelling, norms for sleeping, norms for dressing, norms for hospitality, norms for exchanging gifts, norms for visiting the sick, norms for showing respect to parents and elders, the rights of orphans, family relations, relations with neighbours, the treatment of servants, ablutions and cleanliness, respect in mosques, repayment of debts, the treatment of animals, national thinking, poverty, office decorum and protocol etc. As mentioned earlier, the topics covered in this book make it extremely useful for parents, older children and teachers. It is a very compact book clearly describing all one needs to know in order to be able to form a good character. I wish Mr Qureshi good luck in this and future endeavours.

Email: [email protected]

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