Haroon Ashraf

  • TThe tradition of Dastaangoi (story-telling) was the most popular form of storytelling in the orient. It was completely different in structure and scope from novel and short story which were essentially European forms. Dastaan was a highly imaginative story told on an epic scale. Its scope was so ...

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  • TDuring a discussion on poetry at Lahore Literary Festival 2014, great Urdu poetess Zehra Nigah said that in 1950s, whenever a collection of feminine Urdu poetry was published, except Ada Jaffery and herself, all poetesses in the collection belonged to “Arbab e Nishat” (courtesans). ...

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  • TIn October 1967, The Shah of Iran, Muhammad Reza Pahlavi crowned himself as King of Kings in a sumptuous royal ceremony held at the Golestan Palace in Teheran. Although the Shah had been a monarch for twenty five years, he vowed not to wear the crown until Iran becomes strong and prosperous. A ...

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  • TUrdu writers have had their share of sadness. A language born with an empire’s decline, refined in cultural centers which were soon destroyed by colonization, remaining in the shadows even after independence and finally engulfed by West’s cultural invasion and globalization. From heart ...

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  • TOne universal truth is that life is unfair. It runs in exactly the opposite direction of a man’s true wishes and aspirations. When they’re young, people tend to be very optimistic and see their whole life ahead of them with endless opportunities and countless chances to write their ...

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  • TStardust scattered on pages, sunshine kissing a rose, fragrance lost in color or sorrow in the eyes of a beautiful girl. Once your heart is touched by exquisite beauty of Parveen Shakir’s poetry, it’s hard to describe it without being poetic. Her poetry is a rare combination of ...

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  • TOver the past couple of decades, a whole generation of Pakistani-English fiction writers has emerged on the literary scene. Their works have been appreciated and critically acclaimed in the west, giving Pakistani literature an international outlook. They also enjoy great following among English ...

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  • TSometimes, I feel I was born in a barren age of Urdu literature when all its golden chapters had become a part of history. Today, a serious literary gathering is considered a rare thing in Lahore which was once a great city of writers, poets, intellectuals and publishers. The times have ...

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  • TPopular Urdu fiction has had an old tradition of historic novels. Since the early period of Urdu literature, writers have used historic settings as background for their novels and immensely entertained their readers. One of the oldest in Urdu, this tradition is still alive. Naseem Hijazi is ...

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  • TWhen I dig into my old memories, I recall that I read my first book when I was eight years old. We used to have a library at school but all it offered were children’s books and comics. One day, my sister who was in secondary school by then brought a novel from her library. I don’t ...

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  • TOne peculiar aspect of A. Hameed’s work was his suspense and adventure fiction. He wrote dozens of thrilling novels packed with supernatural, haunted places, trapped or wandering spirits, sorcerers, magic, secret agents, commandos on missions against Israel and India and heroes scaling the ...

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  • TA. Hameed had earned public fame and critical acclaim with his very first story Manzil Manzil (Destinations) which was published in Adab-e-Latif, one of the premier literary magazines of the time. He had established a distinct identity for himself in the literary world. He was now known as a gifted ...

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  • TOver the centuries, from their far flung valleys and mountain abodes, Kashmiris used to came down to the planes of Northern India in search of livelihood. Some families permanently settled in the cities. Sialkot was the most convenient for it was just across the Jammu hills. The second largest ...

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  • TWith this article, I am concluding this series on Urdu’s greatest novels. It was absolute pleasure writing about these masterpieces and recalling my special moments spent reading and cherishing them. Without a shadow of doubt, they make Urdu a rich literary language. I have explored the works ...

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  • TTwo lucky coincidences made Mustansar Hussain Tarar a writer who was otherwise an avid fiction reader and a travel enthusiast. In 1958, Majeed Nizami who was then Nawai Waqt correspondent in London asked Tarar to write a travelogue about his days in Soviet Union. Tarar was among the first common ...

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  • TA general opinion about Urdu novel is that there’s nothing much except Aag ka Darya and Udaas Naslein. One great author, who has many fine novels to his credit went a step further and said: “It’s very disappointing that we haven’t come out of the impact of these two ...

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  • TIt is said that there are autobiographical elements in every work of fiction. Every writer takes inspiration from his own environment and weaves a story in its reflection. No matter how alien a story is from his personal life, no writer can go completely beyond himself. The inspiration goes through ...

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  • TShaukat Siddiqui is one of the most prolific Urdu writers. He rose to prominence with his debut novel Khuda ki Basti in 1957. Since then he is regarded as one of the finest novelists in Urdu. With his realistic and thought provoking fiction, Siddiqui has made a permanent impression on Urdu ...

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  • TAuthor of epic novels Udaas Naslein and Nadaar Log, Abdullah Hussain was born at Rawalpindi in 1931. His real name was Muhammad Khan. Although a native of Gujrat, his father who was an excise officer was posted at Rawalpindi at the time of his birth. Muhammad was less than two years old when his ...

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  • TIf a list of ten greatest Urdu novels is made, the author of the first five novels would undoubtedly be Quratulain Haider. She was a unique writer in many ways. Her foresight, wisdom, sense of history and culture, vast knowledge, meaningful understanding of the human condition, linguistic ...

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  • TThis year in summers, when the cuckoo would call in its melodious voice from the branches and leaves of hundred years old trees of the Lawrence Gardens, it wouldn't find its old friend Intizar Hussain looking up and smiling from the walking track. The cuckoo has lost its last friend in the city. ...

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  • TUrdu has a centuries old poetic tradition. Writing and appreciating poetry was considered an elite form of linguistic expression. On the other hand, prose in those days was mostly in the form of Dastaan (storytelling). It was a beautiful tradition. Storytellers were trained professionals in the art ...

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  • TI have just finished reading Mustansar Hussain Tarar’s latest book, a collection of short stories titled 15 Kahaniyan (15 stories). The book is so thought provoking that it has made me restless. I have to write something about it now, for time is running out; time, which is granted to a ...

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  • TJigar Muradabadi, a renowned Urdu poet, described ishq (passion) as a river of fire which can only be crossed by getting drowned in it. Writers and poets are dreamers possessed by the ishq of words. Power on words can be a curse as well as a blessing, but one undisputed fact is that being a writer ...

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  • TReading and collecting books is not just a hobby but an obsession. For all those who have found their lost souls in books, reading has a strong addiction. Being a bibliophile myself, I spend all the time and money I can on books. To me that’s the most productive use of such valuable ...

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  • TMustansar Hussain Tarar is many things. From a pioneer morning show host to a playwright and from a novelist to a column writer, there are different shades to this great man’s personality. However, one shade really sets him apart. He is first and foremost a travel enthusiast and mainly famous ...

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  • TIn the world of Urdu literature, there are very few things upon which critics and readers unanimously agree. One such agreement is that Quratulain Haider is the greatest Urdu novelist ever, far superior and ahead of all her contemporaries, predecessors and successors. She was something unique that ...

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  • TAbdullah Hussain, author of some of the finest novels and short stories in Urdu literature, never liked to be in the limelight. Since the publishing of his first novel Udaas Naslein in 1961, which is considered Urdu’s second best novel after Aag Ka Darya and translated into English by ...

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  • THave you ever heard the name Hijab Imtiaz Ali? Google the name and what you get are endless details and images of the Hijab controversy in the West. Well, it used to be a Muslim female name, which shows that the word obviously has a positive connotation. It seems out of fashion today but I think ...

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