Literary Jewels

For the past few years we have heard nothing but sad and painful news. Today I would like to forget all the bad stuff and discuss some good books.
The first interesting book is titled My Solo Flight by Mohtarma Kulsoom Saifullah Khan, published by Ali Publishing Bureau, Islamabad (July 2011). In it she tells about her life and struggles after the death of her husband. Those of you who have met Begum Sahiba will agree with me that she is the most graceful lady in Pakistan. I used to meet her at receptions and whenever she saw me she would meet me with affection and would always praise my services to the country. One day we were at a reception hosted by the Turkish ambassador. I happened to be sitting on a two-seater sofa with a friend when this graceful lady came over to greet me. When I tried to get up she wouldn’t allow me to do so and then proceeded to sit on the floor by my feet. I felt rather awkward and uncomfortable with this, but there was nothing I could do about itand we had a very nice conversation.
Begum Sahiba belongs to a very well-off, well respected family of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, the former North-West Frontier Province (NWFP). Her grandfather and father were amongst the notables and her brothers, Mr Aslam Khattak and Mr Yousuf Khattak, held important positions in the government. The third brother was Gen Habibullah Khan, chief of the general staff (CGS). I never met him personally, but I am proud to call his celebrated son, Gen Ali Quli Khan, my friend.
Mian Mohammad Nawaz Sharif, who was then prime minister of Pakistan after winning the general elections of 1997, foolishly bypassed Gen Ali Quli Khan and instead made Pervez Musharraf chief of the Pakistani army. Nawaz Sharif paid heavily for this folly. Musharraf later went on to become a dictator for nine long years after overthrowing the elected government of Mian Mohammad Nawaz Sharif on October 12, 1999.
I used to meet Gen Ali Quli Khan regularly when he was CGS. He is a thorough gentleman and a very professional soldier. As a brigadier he was staff officer to my dear friend and old Kahuta colleague, Gen Zahid Ali Akbar Khan. Nawaz Sharif should not have listened to his so-called “advisors” and have refrained from appointing Gen Pervez Musharraf over Gen Ali Quli Khan as chief of the army staff. If Nawaz Sharif had not made that wrong decision, the situation in the country would have been radically different today.
Begum Kulsoom Saifullah’s late husband, Barrister Saifullah Khan, also belonged to a well-off noble family of the former North-West Frontier Province. He also took part in politics and held important positions. A book could be written about him. It is apparent that he was a very polished, kind, philanthropic person. Unfortunately, he died in 1964 of cardiac arrest at the early age of 50. Begum Kulsoom Saifullah’s book tells us how she managed to carry on after that. How she managed the business, organised industrial units, looked after her five sons and provided them with the best available education, seeing to it that they became highly successful in their respective careers.
She is an example of sheer determination, intelligence, management skills and foresight. These are fine qualities which many others could learn from her. Just recently I undertook the building of a community centre for the poor residents of Iqbal Town on the Islamabad Highway. I managed to obtain some funds from Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, Punjab chief minister Mian Mohammad Shehbaz Sharif and a few philanthropic friends of mine.
Four thousand bags of cement were still required to finish the job so I wrote a short letter to my friend, Anwar Saifullah Khan, to request it. The required cement, a huge amount, was immediately received for the project to help the poor of Iqbal Town. The centre is now nearing completion. This book contains not only comments made by all her children, her daughters-in-law and their children, but also those of many dignitaries who have known this great lady. It is well worth reading. May Allah shower His blessings on the great mother, her sons, her grandchildren and all her near and dear ones. Ameen.
The second book has been written by my friend and noted cardiologist, Dr M A Rashid Seyal. It is titled Faith in the Unseen and is published by iUniverse, USA. Dr Seyal received his medical education in the United States of America. He has also written a book in Urdu titled: Ramuze-e-Takhleeq (Secrets of Creation). He also has other books to his credit:
1. Coronary Risks-New Perspective, First Books Library, USA.
2. Glorious Quran in Poetic Stance, in four volumes, iUniverse, 2009.
3. Enigma of Sudden Cardiac Death. In this book he provides evidence of the dangers of wearing clothes made of synthetic fibres.
4. Smart Living-Garments and Human Health
5. Perception of Faith in Stress
6. Coronary Risk-New Perspective.
7. Divine Philosophy and Modern-Day Science.
The last five books have been published by Arthur Brothers, USA/England. All the books reflect the love and affection Dr M A Rashid Seyal has for Islam and his thorough understanding of the religion.
The book under discussion, Faith in the Unseen, contains detailed and logical answers to the views and doubts expressed by many Western scholars about the relationship between science and religion. In it he has proved that there is a definite relationship between the Holy Quran and science and he has quoted Dr Maurice Boucaille, Prof Herbert H Einstein, George Sine and Arthur Thomas to support his stand.
The third interesting book is Kulliyat-e-Maktubat-e-Farsi Ghalib, compiled by well-known civil servant, author and poet Mukhtar Ali Khan, alias Partu Rohaila. It contains Ghalib’s original letters in Persian, their translations into Urdu and the life sketches of the addressees. It is published by Book Foundation, Islamabad (2008).
Partu Rahaila is a Pathan who belonged to Rohailkhand in British India. Together with Jamiluddin Aali, he is a leading doha writer. The book on Ghalib is a masterpiece. He was awarded a Pride of Performance a long time ago.
Only by reading this book can one understand its real value. Mr Partu Rohaila spent almost 12 years (long enough for at least four PhD theses) in translating Ghalib’s Persian letters and poetry. He has also explained Ghalib’s difficult verses. I can only hope that the governor of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa honours this Pathan and recognises his great talent.