The literary galaxy consists of number of excellent biographical books. The release of the book ‘Adbi Sitara’ is a great contribution Urdu Literature. It is neither a biography book nor it about any single personality rather there are many different legendary personalities. The distinct element of this book is that the various writers and poets talk about their personal lives into it. They narrate the stories about their childhood, education, brought up in a cultural society and different experiences of their lives including their love affairs etc. Besides that they also give their critical views upon literature, prose, poetry, play, short story and the different phases of Urdu literature. Moreover, they express their ideas about the work of their fellow writers and poets which depicts that how much they rank them for their literary work.

Arifa Subah Khan, journalist by profession conducted a lot of interviews of prominent personalities from different walks of life. In this book she complied twenty four interviews of towering personalities mostly writers and poets. These are Dr Jameel Jalibi, Ahmad Nadeem Qasmi, Colonel Muhammad Khan, Shafiqur Rahman, Ashfaq Ahmed, Intizar Hussain, Dr Majid Nizami, Munir Niazi, Ahmad Faraz, Dr Javed Iqbal, Dr Wazir Agha, Dr Saleem Akhtar, Dr Waheed Qureshi, Dr Tehseen Firaqi, Dr Sharab Rodolvi, Dr Anwar Sadeed, Shahzad Ahmed, Dr Anis Nagi, Hanif Ramay, Mashkoor Hussain Yaad, Iftikhar Arif, Asad Rizvi and Dr Nasir Abbas. These are all the legends of Urdu Literature except Dr Majid Nizami and Dr Javed Iqbal, who belong to different professions. The former is a well known journalist and has no equivalent to him in his services for journalism while the latter is retired Chief Justice of Lahore High Court. Some of these personalities are no more present among us; but they are very much alive because of their works.

The interviews are very interesting and contain manifold information. Besides discussion upon the Urdu Literature, everyone talks about the society we live in and different aspects of it which makes every piece interesting. For example, Intizar Hussain’s detailed conversation on the old Mall Road and Lahore city takes reader into a different realm which is very fascinating. There is description of Pak Tea House and how different writers and poets used to gather there. It was a famous point for literary personalities. Intizar Hussain draws beautiful comparison between the present and the past.

Ashfaq Ahmed’s interview casts light on social issues like corruption, education democracy and dictatorship etc. There is also conversation about his famous character Talqeen Shah. The interviews of Colonel Muhammad Khan and Shafiqur Rahman are as interesting as these two humorists are in their writings. According to the author Shafiqur Rahman’s interview was conducted without any formal preparation because she met him accidently at Colonel Muhammad Khan’s house. His interview was conducted in quite frank manner and there are many funny situation described in this interview.

Dr Majid Nizami, a towering personality of journalism, custodian of Ideology of Pakistan and the person who is still keeping the Kashmir cause alive, talks about the Muslim World and the problems which they are facing. He also shared his precious views about Kashmir problem and highlights some weaknesses in Muslim Umma while discussing international scenario.

These interviews are so much detailed and picturesque that even a reader unaware about any of these personalities can enjoy the reading. Although it is a compilation of Arifa Subah’s work but the book is a good addition to any personal library and can serve as a reference book. In short it is a worth reading book which is an example of its own.

Title: Adbi Sitara | Author: Arifa Subah Khan | Genre: Interviews | Pages: 278 | Price: Rs. 350 | Publisher: Maktaba Urdu Adab