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September 19, 2015
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A labour of love and a battle cry for logical minds

Lahore

September 19, 2015

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LAHORE
Fakhar Zaman, a celebrated writer and Chairman World Punjabi Congress, has authored the first comprehensive book in Urdu titled “Punjab, Punjabi & Punjabiyat” on the history of Punjab, the political, social and literary movements of Punjab and other provinces, Punjabi literature, language and culture, the Sufi heritage of Punjab and the role of Punjab vis-à-vis Pakistan.
There has always been a confusion, a mist of misunderstandings and misgivings on the issue of Punjabi, over mother tongue, and it was felt that the case of Punjabi had never been put logically, with clarity and a sound academic perspective it deserved. Fakhar Zaman, a son of the soil and a crusader for the rehabilitation of his mother tongue for the last few decades, took over the responsibility of putting the case of Punjabi in the above-mentioned manner.” Punjab, Punjabi & Punjabiyat” is a labour of love and a battle cry for the logical minds to review their perspectives about the importance and true place in our culture and lives. This important document with quite ably provided historic and scholastic proofs about Punjabi Language’s history and its socio-political evolution in the history is very important source of information not only for literary minds but also for the young generation, specially the students, who would not know much about their own mother tongue, its cultural and socio-political whereabouts.
The book has been republished because of its huge popularity in Pakistan, India and everywhere where the Punjabi live, because it gives a thorough insight and perspectives into certain cobwebs and misunderstandings about the role of Punjab. Fakhar Zaman has dealt at length with the kisan movements, heroic tradition of Punjab, shedding extensive light on the role of Bhagat Singh, Ahmad Khan Kharal and Dullah Bhatti; has convincingly talked to the Punjabi nationalists of other provinces telling them that the people of Punjab by and large are as

under-privileged as those of other provinces. He has defined the Punjabiyat as a way of life, as a mindset, as an attitude which discourages chauvinism and jingoism against the smaller provinces. He has described the oft-repeated slogan of Punjabi vested interests “Jag Punjabi Jag, Teri Pagg Noo Lagga Dagh”. He said this is a puerile stance by those politicians who want to establish hegemony on smaller provinces. He has put a question in his book that had Hitler born in Jalandhar or Mussolini in Amritsar would they be called Punjabi, it is, he stresses, a stupidity of the first order. Defining Punjabiyat, he describes in detail that it exudes essentially tolerance, progressivism, mutual dialogue, honesty, high integrity and commitment and adherence to the Sufi message of this land of five rivers. Rather, he says that the real national integration and unity can come only by virtue of Sufi heritage of Pakistan. Chairman WPC has given detail as to why Punjabi could not be made the language of this province and how the politicians, bureaucrats and elites are enemy number one of Punjabi language and culture.
What Fakhar Zaman has to say about his logical understanding of the ‘Case of Punjabi’ is in his own words “ Any writing on Punjab can't be complete unless it deals logically with Punjab division issue. Punjab’s division is sponsored by chauvinistic elements in MQM and corrupt feudals of South Punjab. Some political parties like PPP, PTI, PML-N and Jamaat-e-Islami, follow line mindlessly and foolishly. If Saraiki Suba is to be established it should be composed of few districts of South Punjab, Dera Ismail Khan of KP, Jacobabad, Mirpur of Balochistan, all of them Saraiki speaking. If they want to cut Punjab into pieces then let Sindh be divided on Sindhi Balochi Punjabi Urdu lines, Balochistan on Balochi Brahvi and Pashtu lines and KP on Pushtu Hindko lines. If some advocates of division of Punjab want to have it will start balkanisation. I accept Saraiki as a sweet language or a dialect of Punjabi as some hardened Punjabi intellectuals say. Saraiki feudal lords want a new Senate, new offices of chief ministers, ministers and advisers to loot the poor. Therefore, let's not open Pandora’s box for further warring invariably leading to further impoverishment of the downtrodden. As is known, Fakhar Zaman’s five books were banned during the martial law regime of Ziaul Haq, forcibly lifted from the shops and burnt publicly. He went against the order of proscription in the Lahore High Court through Barrister Aitzaz Ahsan and the ban was lifted after 18 years in 1996. The Urdu translation of writ petition, which is an impressive document, has been reproduced in this book. The book also includes how World Punjabi Congress, a highly respected organisation, was established in Lahore in 1985 and the conferences held under its aegis in Pakistan, India and many foreign countries. The supplement of this book includes short interviews by two respected Punjabi protagonist, namely, Masud Khaddarposh and Major Ishaq Muhammad. The supplement also includes the chronology of invaders and marauders who trampled upon the land of five rivers. The panel of interview included Ahmed Salim and Amjad Bhatti and was published by a Lahore publisher. It has been translated into Gurmukhi, Hindi and English in India. It was a favourite book of former prime minister of India IK Gujral and he recommended it to everyone who met him as a unique book on Punjab.

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