Impressive Literary Magazine
By Saeed Malik
The volume of literature, including
books and magazines, published in a country serve
as a yardstick for measuring the intellectual development
of its people. In developed countries like the US,
the UK, Germany and Japan, annual production of
books runs into six digits and libraries in these
countries keep millions of books on their shelves.
Unfortunately, Pakistan is placed at the lowest
rung of the ladder of countries where books and
literary magazines are produced aplenty every year.
Only once in a blue moon one comes across a quality
magazine or a few books produced in this country.
I have before me a copy of the annual number of
Al-Aqreba, a quarterly Urdu magazine, which appears
from Islamabad under the aegis of Al-Aqreba Foundation.
This impressive literary magazine emerged on the
literary scene of Pakistan and had its first brush
with the literary market in 2001. Within a short
span of four years, it has convincingly established
its credentials as one of the frontline and most
sought-after Urdu literary magazines published in
Pakistan. It has works by literati who are admired
for their gift of the jab and literary accomplishments.
Some of them are considered authorities on Urdu
language and literature and serve as guiding lights
to the intellectuals and writers of today.
Since its inception four years ago this quarterly
magazine has won large readership not only in Pakistan
but also from other countries of the world, including
Australia, Europe, Middle East, North America and
the United Kingdom. The multifaceted personality
and dynamism of its editor Syed Mansur Aqil has
contributed much to such wide acceptance of the
magazine, who satiates and caters to the literary
tastes of cultivated laymen and critics alike. His
edifying editorials always have a sense of purpose
and rigorously confront the facts of ethics in the
present-day world of Urdu literature.
Included in an impressive list of contributors to
the annual number of this prestigious quarterly
are a number of internationally renowned literati,
whose works – poems, hamds, naats, ghazals,
short stories and critiques - combine scholarship
with clarity of view and expression. This has made
this literary magazine very attractive not only
for scholars and students of literature but also
To substantiate the point, the names of a few distinguished
contributors are mentioned in this review. They
are Prof. Aasi Kernali, Dr. M. Moizuddin, Dr. Aalia
Imam, Prof. Shaukat Wasti, Prof. Razia Sultana,
Prof. Suhail Akhter, Dr. Jamil Jaalibi, Dr. Sabahat
Aasim, and Mr. Naved Zafar. These men and women
of impressive literary record need no introduction.
Eminent personalities writing on topics of much
human interest and different literary genres include
Prof. Zuhair Kunjahi, Prof. Mashkoor Husain Yaad,
Khatir Ghaznavi, Tauseef Tabassum, Himayat Ali Sha’ir,
Abdul Aziz Khalid, Qamar Ru’eni, Guftaar Khiyali,
and Mohsin Ehsan. On its editorial roster besides
Syed Mansur Aqil are such erudite creative writers
as Shehla Ahmed, Muhmmad Akhter Saeed, and Naasriuddin.
Among its rotating consultative editors are Prof.
Razia Sultana, Dr. Aali Imam, and Jalees Siddiqui,
who need no introduction.
From among the foreign writers are: Pandit Anand
Mohan Gulzar Zitshi, the indefatigable advocate
of Urdu in India, and the founder of Anjuman-e-Ta’meer-e-Urdu.
In his thought provoking article, he discusses in
detail the story of Urdu in the Pakistan-India subcontinent.
The poetry section opens with a beautiful Hamd “Dua-e-Neem
Shub” by Owais Jafrey (US), who has contributed
another poem “Ta’a’ruf”,
which exhibits the mastery of his craftsmanship
and sharpness of focus in highlighting the rise
and fall of Muslim Ummah. Indian poetess Rabia Latif
Burney’s diction, melody, and grace of language
of her ghazal keep the reader spell-bound. Akbar
Hyderabadi (UK) is another noteworthy poet, who
is known for his chaste style in the subcontinent
and abroad. The contributions made by such eminent
poets and writers point to the quality, prestige,
literary vigor and vim of the magazine.
Urdu is not only the national language of Pakistan,
but a language written, spoken and understood by
an estimated one billion people around the world.
Its contemporary and classical literature contains
some of the finest specimens of prose and poetry
ever produced anywhere.
The most eminent among the celebrated literati have
regularly contributed to Al-Aqreba, especially to
its annual number 2005. Their creative works have
added much to the credibility of this quarterly
magazine winning it the approbation of being a first
rate literary journal of Pakistan. Distinguished
writers who are no more with us like Taj Saeed,
Tabish Dehlvi, Mushfiq Khawaja, and Syed Habibullah
Auj had also contributed to this magazine which
is now counted among those few publications known
for their productive values and monumental works
The appearance of Al-Aqreba on the literary scene
of Pakistan four years ago heralded the creation
of some new literary traditions in the country.
The publication of literary magazines in not a flourishing
business in this country and only persons with dedication
and devotion to the cause of promoting good literature
can brave the hardships inherent in keeping such
a magazine in circulation.
Already several literary magazines published from
Karachi, Lahore like Sareer (Ed. Dr. Faheem Azami)
and Taqazey (Ed. Payam Shahjahanpuri) have disappeared
from the literary ethos of Pakistan as a consequence
of the demise of their editors, who were totally
dedicated to the cause of Urdu literature. In this
scenario keeping Al-Aqreba in circulation and maintaining
the quality of its content is a horrendous task,
which only men like Syed Mansur Aqil and members
of his dedicated team of editors and contributors
The services of Al-Aqreba and its management for
the promotion of Urdu literature in the sub-continent
and other countries must be appreciated. Al-Aqreba’s
representative for Australia can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
, for UK/Europe email@example.com and for USA
and Canada firstname.lastname@example.org