Azad Khan, Dallas Talk Show Icon
By Saeed Qureshi
Azad Khan is host of the South Asian radio program “Bol Ke Lab Azad Hain Tere” which airs weekdays in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex on 990AM between 3pm - 6 pm CST, and can also be heard worldwide on Azadonline.com. He is a young thinker and scholar brimming with a reservoir of diverse knowledge. Azad is one of those gifted persons, whose intellect is not confined to one branch of knowledge: it is all embracing and pervasive. With consummate skill, absorbing narrative, and matchless fluency he can articulate and analyze complex and varied themes and ideas.
I am amazed how, at the spur of the moment, he answers a variety of questions: on occasion putting them in proper perspective and at other times adding them up with more output of information and knowledge. As talented a person as he is, he injects a philosophical and somber tone into the discussions encompassing various dimensions of human knowledge. From science to fiction, anthropology to sociology, politics to economy, and from philosophy to history, he can, with great dexterity and felicity, proffer information as if one has opened an encyclopedia. It comes readily -- with forthright sincerity and sober conviction, he goes on to express his candid opinion till his listeners or interlocutors are one with him. Dissention and debate he welcomes, and if he finds an opportunity to correct himself, he does so without acrimony or retort. And that trait speaks for his earnest urge and humility to explore knowledge no matter which quarter it comes from: a school student or a scholar of eminence and lofty standing.
I can observe and identify in him an element of valor and defiance, flavored with a spirit of friendliness, sociability as well as humility which are the shining hallmarks of intrepid Pathans. He could have stayed in the army with all the attending perks, splendor and excitement that is commonly believed to be part of the life of military officers. He could have fallen into the boastful mannerism and would have been accorded preferential treatments. But look! He shunned that glare and left the coveted position of a captain. I have a plausible explanation for his retreat from the army. His laudable idealism, his inborn flame of universalism and his curiosity and quest to learn, seek and explore the world must have given him the reason to be among us today.
If you sit with Azad he would tell you about his early life spent in a primitive village in Pakistan, so deeply rich with centuries’ old culture, customs and traditions. He would tell you how his father would keep him and his siblings on the straight path with his mix of soft and stern command. He has inculcated in his children to be righteous, to be humane, to be generous, to be humble and helpful, and to be punctual and industrious. But he would also exhort them to keep away from bartering their self-respect, faith and dignity no matter what the cost could be. That is why you will find Azad with a tinge of steadfastness not to budge or compromise and not to shy away when it means protecting his honor and well-guarded principles of moral grandeur.
His mother has been a great source of inspiration in shaping Azad’s personality. A disposition to help others is genealogical gift from his mother. Simple, straight forward, truthful, free of pretention, Azad’s mother was a towering symbol for the women folk in the village for steadfastly upholding the pristine values of our age-old culture that remains unalloyed and unsullied despite pressures of modern society. She would speak the truth no matter how perilous it would be. She lived with a husband who was overbearing, understandable in a male-dominated society -- but still she would not bend or budge when it would be a question of saying what was right.
Azad starts the radio program with a slogan that calibrates and corresponds to his own ideals, beliefs and outlook. “BOL KAY LAB AZAD HAIN TERAY” is a line from the poem of Faiz Ahmad Faiz, the legendary poet of our times who immensely suffered for his poetic exhortations. It is a clarion call for emancipation of the fettered and gagged humanity. It is a marching order for the disadvantaged, the enslaved and the underdogs to rise and bring change. So when Azad tunes up the line to open the program, he is echoing the same message of that rebellious poet to the slumbering nations to wake up and speak out for justice, equality and freedom for all.
His slogan “liberate and facilitate others because in return God will liberate and facilitate you” reinforces the call for liberation and fearlessly speaking out the truth. While transmitting this universal lesson Azad says that he does not divide or discriminate among his listeners on the basis of their faith, ethnicity, race or any other consideration. All listeners to the program are honorable and precious, because it is his belief that we all belong to one fraternity as human beings.
Understandably, Azad Khan prepares his radio programs with a lot of hard work and research that keeps him busy for the better part of the week. But he can still snatch some time out of his loaded and unalterable schedule for a lively chat and pleasant discourse with his well wishers and friends. Without fear of contradiction, I would assert that you would not find him wanting in animated conversations replete with mirthful anecdotes, laughter-emitting jokes and interesting and unforgettable events of his life both as a civilian and a military man. Even on such occasions, his scholasticism goes hand in hand with the cheerful spirit of the company. So tune in to 990AM or Azadonline.com and see what the buzz is all about.