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Literature, politics, and resistance: Part - VII

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Dr Anwaar Ahmed has penned some of the best short stories in Urdu that are part of our resistance literature heritage. Coming from Multan, Dr Anwaar Ahmed has devoted most of his life to teaching and writing and has authoured articles, books, columns, plays, and essays on literary criticism and has also emerged as one of the best short-story writers since the late 1960s.

Here I introduce his short story, 'Shehr Ka Pehla Muhibbe Watan' translated into English by Zafar Hussain Zaidi as 'The first child patriot of the city'. This is a story about a city which has existed and thrived for hundreds of years but its denizens are devoid of all feelings; houses are full of people who have no souls, bodies are moving but like inanimate objects being pushed around. Anwar Ahmed writes and I translate:

“When he joined the gathering, the party was in full bloom. All present were high achievers and everyone had accomplished a lot in life. He felt sad when he realized that every high achiever present there was narrating the same joke at his turn; and every time the same joke was repeated, the party burst into laughter. Everyone laughed so much that they nearly fainted; and then they would pick official napkins from their pockets to wipe the corners of their eyes.”

Now the readers may ask themselves about the location of this event and the credentials of those in attendance; who are these high achievers repeating the same anecdote at their turn and who are the listeners laughing like mad and using official handkerchiefs to wipe their eyes.

Though Dr Anwaar Ahmed is better known as a critic, his main focus has been short stories. Another of his memorable short story is 'Dardaan Di Mari Dilrhi Aleel Ay' (My suffering soul is pretty ill). Anwaar wrote this story when Z A Bhutto was hanged........

© The News on Sunday