Dr Haroon Rashid Tabassum is a noted scholar, litterateur, biographer, educationist, and social worker from Sargodha. He is a prolific writer. Lately he has published six books in a series–Ahange Kutub, Tohfae Qartas o Qalam, Makhzane Kutub, Irfane Kutub, Taa’ire Afkaar and Liaqate Kutub–that contain his short but pithy reviews of some of the books that he has been receiving or collecting over the years as an avid bibliophile besides cataloguing the rest of them with necessary annotations with a view to cursorily acquainting the reader with their content and context. It is a commendable exercise which bespeaks his herculean creative gusto as an author, compiler, critic, and reviewer.
Endowed with a keen sense of (literary) history and research, Dr Tabassum has penned down his views on the books in the manner of a surveyor whose eyes are fast fixed on substantive facts in a given textual milieu and who can also reproduce them coherently in a readable form adding to the knowledge and information of the reader.
The compiler has sequenced the bibliographic material spanning a period of two decades, year-wise in the aforementioned six volumes, in the following order; (1) 2000-2009, (2) 2010-2015, (3) 2016-2017, (4) 2018, (5) 2019, and (6) 2020.
It would be interesting to mention here some noted authorial names whose works have been reviewed or listed in these anthologies; Hassan Askari Kazmi, Khurshid Shahpuri, Zahida Jabeen, Dr Inamul Haq Javed, Dr Asif Mahmud Jaah, Dr Shaukat Ali Qamar, Jameel Yusuf, Dr Khurshid Rizvi, Ashraf Zaki Awan, Mohammad Asif Bhalli, Dr Syed Qasim Jalal, Dr Zahid Munir Aamir, Dr Tahir Taunsvi, Waheed ur Rahman Khan, Dr Tariq Hashmi, Mohammad Rafiuddin Hashmi, Taab Aslam, Samina Gul, Prof Yusuf Khalid, Dr Mahmud Aseer, Maher Ghulam Rasool Maher, Mohammad Hamid Siraj, Dr Shafiq Asif, Dr Mohammad Asif Awan, Dr Abid Khurshid, K.K. Aziz, Shahida Latif, Nasim Sehar, Dr Anwar Sadeeed, Shakir Kundan, Mohammad Hameed Shahid, Irfan Siddiqi, Gul Bakhshalvi, Afzal Raz, Bismil Sabri, Dr Sh Mohammad Iqbal, Kh Razi Haider, Ram Lal, Mahmud Akhtar Khan, Malik Maqbool Ahmad, Farrukh Sohail Goindi, Zulfiqar Ahsan, Malik Ram, Najma Mansoor, Mohammad Zaigham Mugheera, Ikhlaq Ahmad Dehlavi, Mujahid Barelvi, Dr Ghulam Mustafa Khan, A Hameed, Syed Anees Shah Jeelani, Mushfiq Khawaja, Dr Sikandar Hayat Mekan, Prof Ghazi Ilmuddin, Father Mukhtar Alam, Mazhar Mahmood Shirani, Mohammad Musharaf Hussain Anjum et al.
Dr Tabassum has done a yeoman’s service to the cause of bibliographic literature in Urdu by briefly commenting on or listing (with relevant details) the selected works of some past as well as present writers, critics, compilers, and translators. This is a valuable legacy that the future generations of writers and readers would look up to as an exemplification of T.S. Eliot’s concept of ‘tradition and the individual talent’.