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Random thoughts

September 16, 2019

Useful books

Opinion

September 16, 2019

I have decided to write about some books, to draw attention to some of the good literature being published and to get people to read again rather than spending all their free time on their mobiles. It is a pity that many of the good books only manage to sell a few hundred copies, while in the West millions of copies of good books are sold.

The first book is titled ‘Dawate Shiraz’. It is written by one of our senior civil servants, an excellent literary figure and a good friend, Hussain Ahmad Shirazi, and published by another good friend, Afzaal Ahmed of Sang-e-meel Publications, Lahore.

Yes, this is the same Shirazi Sahib, whose book ‘Babunagar’ has been a best seller of which seven or eight editions have all been sold out. Before discussing the book, I would like to tell you something about this patriot par excellence. When the late Mr Bhutto put me in charge of our nuclear programme in 1976, we were given some rundown sheds opposite the old airport to work in. It was an old, abandoned vehicle repair shop built by the British in the early forties. It was a God-forsaken place with large, empty sheds and pits for car/truck repair.

Since the area had been deserted for the last 35 to 40 years, there were many scorpions and snakes and we had to go to work with great care. The buildings were about 20 feet high with steel-plate gates. The roofs were also made of steel plates, which now had large holes everywhere due to rusting. My colleagues (very few in number at that time) were insisting that I not accept this junkyard and ask for something better.

I had other ideas. I needed a place immediately to sit down and start planning our mode of operation. The pits were filled up with broken bricks obtained from Abdullah’s brick kiln just a kilometre away; 7 x 4 foot doors were made in the steel gates. The holes in the roof were temporarily covered over by jute sheets soaked in tar coal to prevent water leakage.

There was an open veranda in front of one of the buildings which gave access to some small rooms. This veranda we covered in steel netting. I had to start ordering necessary equipment and materials from abroad immediately as time was of great importance. Since these items would be arriving by PIA, I went to talk to the customs officers to facilitate import and speedy clearance of the goods ordered. Everything was being imported as defence consignments. It was there that I met a smart collector of customs, Hussain Ahmed Shirazi, and his superintendent, Agha Shirazi Sahib went out of his way to help us.

Back to the book. It contains 25 humorous anecdotes that make you laugh until tears come to your eyes. May Allah Almighty shower His infinite blessings on Shirazi Bhai. Incidentally, he is a member of the board of the welfare hospital we are building in Lahore, and also supports it financially.

The second book is ‘Majboor Aawazen’ (Passive Voices) written by Khalid Lateef Gaba. My friend Dr Irfan Ahman Khan has edited it and it was published by T & T Publishers, Samanabad, Lahore. Gaba Sahib is a very good lawyer. In this book he describes in detail the plight of the Muslims in India after Partition. He has written about their problems and the discrimination and harassment they undergo. His book confirms the forecast made by Abul Kalam Azad, who said that after Partition there wouldn’t be a Muslim in India and Islam would not remain in Pakistan. He made this forecast in an interview with Shorish Kashmiri in 1946.

The third and extremely useful book, full of knowledge about Islam, is ‘The Compendium of Muslim Civilization’ written by Prof Dr Mustayeen Ahmed Khan. He is a close relative of Hakim Ajmal Khan of Delhi, a staunch supporter of Pakistan and a good friend of Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah. This book was sent to me by Munir Nabi Khan of Ajmal Dawa Khana, Lahore, also a close relative of Hakim Ajmal Khan.

The book has been published by Ajmal Publications, Lahore. It is based on exhaustive research and gives the political and social history of the Muslim Civilization, from the advent of Islam to the present day. It also deals with the contributions made by Muslims in the fields of theology, philosophy, science, technology, art and literature. Prof Dr Mustayeen Ahmed Khan has vast knowledge of Islamic history, civilizations, theology, organic and inorganic pharmaceutical chemistry. He is a prolific author with nine books on many subjects to his name. May Allah Almighty shower His infinite blessings upon him for writing this invaluable book.

Email: [email protected]

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