Poetry, philosophy, and translated fiction

  1. ‘Mukammal Namukammal’ — Anwar Jamal’s consolidated verse collection
  2. ‘Nazaryat-e-Falsafa’ — Anwar Jamal’s critique of theories of philosophy
  3. ‘Panah’ — M. Athar Masood’s translation of some short stories of Iranian writer Fereydoun Tonekaboni

‘Mukammal Namukammal’

Anwar Jamal is a veteran poet. Other than that, he is also a discreet critic of literature, an imaginative visual artist, and an educationist par excellence. The aforementioned book is a collection of his four poetic anthologies viz. ‘Nisfun Nihar’, ‘Teray Ba’ad’, ‘Tashnagi Hijr Hai’, and ‘Aasman Koi Aur’ besides a chunk of his unpublished poetic work and some select poetic lines.

Famed critic and litterateur Dr. Shamim Haider Tirmizi and Mubeen Mirza Nadeem, another noted literary figure, have critically analysed Anwar Jamal’s poetics in their respective critiques of his person and art, added to the book. The former perceives a glow of self-portraiture in his verse coupled with an extroversive appraisal of the world without — a world of deceit, distrust and disgust, driven away from the ideals of truth, faith, and hope by the propulsive forces of what may be termed as a dialectical though anarchic materialism. The poet pivots his verse on the binaries of fire and water, light and shade, love and repulsion, and ‘to be and not to be’. The latter however calls him (Anwar Jamal) a poet of tense emotions and radiant thoughts, hypersensitive to even the slightest deviation from the norm.

Famed English critic Scott James once said that ‘The artist knows more about life than any one can know without regarding life with the artist’s eye.’ In fact he (the artist) gives us a semblance of reality which is more characteristic of life than anything which we discover in the common yet duller happenings of every day. Thus the literary artist does not give us photographic ‘imitations’ of reality, but a transcription of his vision of it which he is prone to objectify as life. Anwar Jamal, and for that matter any poet worth his salt, would seem to emulate this concept in their creative formulations.

Anwar Jamal’s poetic diction, imagery and stylistics are singularly indicative of the wide range of his artistic prowess and ingenuity to which the present volume amply testifies.

‘Nazaryat-e-Falsafa’

Dr. Shahzad Qaiser, a leading Pakistani philosopher and metaphysician evaluating the instant work, remarks on its flap that ‘Professor Anwar Jamal has provided us a treasured repository of philosophical terms and concepts translated and explained by him in the Urdu language. He is a man of letters. He understands the nexus of literature and philosophy. He has very ably attempted a difficult task of explaining philosophical categories in their vertical and horizontal dimensions in a shorter form. His categorization of ‘‘ism’’ takes one to the basics of Western philosophy (classical, medieval and modern).’

Anwar Jamal has explained a wide range of ‘isms’ in the book, to the benefit of both the novice as well as the initiated, in this field. Some of these terms are absolutism, absurdism, aestheticism, agnosticism, altruism, behaviorism, capitalism, classicism, collectivism, communism, Confucianism, conservatism, contextualism, desconstructionism, deism, determinism, dialectical materialism, dualism, egalitarianism, empiricism, epicureanism, existentialism, fallibilism, fatalism, feminism, formalism, hedonism, historicism, humanism, idealism, Kantianism, modernism, nihilism, panpsychism, perfectionism, phenomenalism, Platonism, pluralism, positivism, pragmatism, probabilism, rationalism, realism, reductionism, romanticism, skepticism, stoicism, structuralism, symbolism, Daoism, theism, transcendentalism, socialism, symbolism, utilitarianism, vitalism et al.

‘Panah’

Fereydoun Tonekaboni (b.1937) is a Cologne-based (Germany) veteran Iranian fiction writer.  Starting from romance, he gradually adopted a political stance in his short stories    which later became the hallmark of his fictional work comprising around nine publications. Interestingly Muhammad Athar Masood’s translation of Tonekaboni’s ten stories (in Urdu) is the third exercise of its kind, of the latter’s work after Cyrus Amir Mokri and Paul Losensky who translated one each of his works, in English in 1991.

The stories are imaginatively rendered, with a palpable bearing on the socio-political scenario of the author’s homeland Iran. Loneliness, self-abnegation, materialistic rat race, social disequilibrium and chaos, feminism, illusion, frustration, sickness, and the like, constitute the fabric of these stories. The style is homely and the expression unambiguous, with no intent to moralise.

Syed Afsar Sajid
Syed Afsar Sajid
The writer is a Faisalabad based former bureaucrat, poet, literary and cultural analyst, and an academic. He can be reached at: [email protected].

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