BOOK REVIEW
Hamid Ahmad Khan and His Times

Monthly Alhamra
March 2006 (Hamid Ahmad Khan Number)
Editor: Shahid Ali Khan
Published by: Alhamra Publications
24 J Model Town Lahore
Pages: 104
Price: Rs 30:

Review by Dr Afzal Mirza
This issue of Alhamara is dedicated to the memory of Prof Hamid Ahmad Khan who was not only an eminent educationist but also a research scholar and intellectual who left a deep impact in the field of literature and education. Although he evoked great respect throughout his career as a teacher and writer but he attained the celebrity status when he became the vice-chancellor of the Punjab University in 1963.
Those were the days of Nawab Amir Muhammad Khan of Kalabagh’s ruthless governorship and people were skeptic that a person of Hamid Ahmad Khan’s integrity and uprightness would be able to pull on with the former. But it was surprising that in spite of various ups and downs Khan Sahib remained in that position for six years and when the governor’s interference became unbearable he resigned and bravely withstood all the pressures to withdraw his resignation.
Prof Hamid was a forceful writer of both English and Urdu but had a special devotion for Urdu language. He belonged to the family that produced luminaries like Maulana Zafar Ali Khan, Maulana Hamid Ali Khan and Raja Mehdi Ali Khan who were devoted to the cause of journalism and literature. It may be pointed out that Alhamra was started by Maulana Hamid Ali Khan in 1951 but it ceased publication after a few years. Now in 2000 Maulana’s son Shahid Ali Khan restarted the magazine and has been regularly bringing out its issues. Shahid had no experience of publishing business as he is a banker by profession but it seems publishing is in his genes that is why he edits and publishes a very readable magazine.
In the present issue besides Dr Khawaja Zakarya’s very informative article on the personality of Prof Hamid Ahmad there are a few very interesting articles by Dr Anwar Sadeed. The learned doctor is a prolific writer and even at 78 he writes for almost every literary magazine of the country. He has written on the literary contribution of Mahmood Hashmi, another octogenarian writer, who is still active at this ripe age. Hashmi’s name has permanently entered the annals of literature due to his moving book “Kashmir Udas Hae” written soon after partition. He was then teaching in a college in Indian-held Kashmir.
Another interesting article has been contributed by Dr Ihsanulahaq who has written a Ph D thesis on Prof Hamid Ahmad Khan’s contribution to Urdu language and literature. He points out that although Prof Sahib wrote incessantly but during his lifetime he wasn’t able to collect all his writings and publish them in book form. The credit of publishing all his valuable articles on Ghalib goes to his son Said Ahmad Khan who published them as Muraqa-e-Ghalib.
Columnist Kazi Javed has contributed an inspiring article on Dr C.A.Qadir, the late professor of philosophy, who made a legendary contribution to teaching and research in the field of philosophy. Kazi Sahib has recalled his personal association with the late professor who after retirement from the Government College Lahore had been engaged by the Philosophy Department in the Punjab University. At the tail end of his life, Dr Qadir was inflicted by the tragic death of his young and brilliant son Muzaffar Qadir. Kazi Javed writes that on the third day after the death of his son he saw Dr sahib coming to the university to teach and when he asked him how did he feel about life after this tragedy, he replied, “Absurd”.
In addition to a rich section on essays and articles, Shahid Ali Khan has published a short story of the most important contemporary story-writer Azra Asghar and has also published travelogues by Anwaar Feroze and Khalid Lateef. The poetry section carries the poems by Abdul Aziz Khalid, Aslam Ansari, Khayal Amrohvi, Mashkoor Yaad, Hussain Shahid, Zafar Ali Raja, Neelam Ahmad Bashir and Shagufta Nazli.


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