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Ishtiaq Ahmed & Inspector Jamshed : ALL THINGS PAKISTAN
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Ishtiaq Ahmed & Inspector Jamshed

Posted on August 2, 2006
Filed Under >Bilal Zuberi, Books, Urdu
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By Bilal Zuberi

Over dinner sometime last week, conversation turned to an apparent lack of reading culture in Pakistan. Participants questioned if anybody went to the bookstores any more, and why Urdu bazaars in large cities remained largely deserted until the school seasons came (though I was told Lahore now has some nice book stores). All the talk about developing reading habits in children reminded me of one of my favorite authors from childhood: Ishtiaq Ahmed.

Before there were J.R.R.Tolkien, J.K. Rowling, Hardy Boys or even Archies Comics in my life, there was Ishtiaq Ahmed: a brilliant mastermind who authored hundreds, if not thousands, of suspense thriller novels in Urdu for kids during the 1970s, 80’s and into the 1990s. (I am told the actual number is closer to 400).

It is hard not to say that I grew up wanting to be like Mahmood, Farooque aur Farzana, the three main characters in his most famous series: Inspector Jamshed. Many of us will remember owning crates full of Ishtiaq Ahmed books – kids in my mohalla even organized a book club where we loaned our Ishtiaq Ahmed books to each other for 25 paisas per novel.

Ishtiaq Ahmed was one hell of a prolific writer. His books were published at a rate faster than I could save money from my lunch allowance to buy them (hence the need for the Mohalla library!). My mamoon swore by Ibn-e-Safi’s Imran series, but Ishtiaq Ahmed was the one who got me hooked onto reading. I remember reading his Khaas (special) novels with more than 2000-3000 pages until late into the night. He was among the most effective and successful Jasoosi novelists in Pakistan.

Even though his detective teams also included Inspector Kamran and the Shoki brothers, it was the Inspector Jamshed team (and the series built around their escapades to protect world peace) that captured the imagination of several generations in Pakistan. The series featured a detective, inspector Jamshed, who solved crimes with the help of his three children, Mehmood, Farooq & Farzana. Inspector Jameshed hated evil and in his crime-fighting he had not only his children to help, but also a retired army officer, Khan Rehman, and Professor Daod.

If I remember correctly, Mehmood was always the smart one, the trio’s leader with brilliant ideas, Farooque was the street smart, witty one, and Farzana always knew when danger was lurking around the corner. And the evil? Jaral, who appeared in several novels, was the number one enemy. Inspector Jamshed’s enemies were not just after money or power – they were morally corrupt and somehow always had some external forces helping them in their evil plans. It has been said that Ishtiaq Ahmed was not very subtle in disguising his resentment towards states or actors that he deemed anti-Islamic.

Ishtiaq Ahmed created characters that were larger than life – but they were inspirational for young men and women of that age and time. Inspector Jamshed, Mehmood, Farooq and Fazana were heroes, who were smart, witty, brave, and fought for the righteousness. Ishtiaq Ahmed wrote beautifully in a language that many now do not study for its poetry or prose. His contribution to Urdu literature, unfortunately, has not been acclaimed in a deserving manner, but his fans remember him well.

Statements like “Inspector Jamshed kee Uqaabee nigahon ney mauqay kee nazakat ko bhaanp liyaa” are a distant memory, but still a charming one. Maybe my kids will also dig through my stash of Ishtiaq Ahmed novels like I went through my mother collection of Pakeeza digests. They will find lots of incredible stories. And they will learn why I love the Urdu language.

For the uninitiated and the fans, a website advertises that you can buy his novel there. Alternatively, contact Feroze Sons in Lahore.

Dr. Bilal Zuberi is Vice President of Product Development at GEO2 Technologies in Boston (MA), USA. See more at Bilal’s blog: BZNotes.

120 comments posted

Comment Pages: [15] 14 13 12 11 10 9 8 7 6 51 » Show All

  1. Nihari says:
    February 21st, 2011 11:48 pm

    You can download the novels here


  2. Mehmood says:
    February 21st, 2011 2:32 am

    It feels very good to know that there are still so many Ishtiaq Ahmed fans out there.. With in my current social circle, apart from my siblings, nobody i know is even familiar with him.. It felt like Inspector Jamshed, mehmood, farooq and farzana were only my childhood imaginary friends until i stumbled upon your article. He was indeed among “THE” Greatest urdu novelist for children in Pakistan and he had a profound influence upon my personality. I have never ever in my life felt so passionately about anything else. True, that there were always some who criticized his religious narrowness but having read almost 600 of his 800 plus novels, I would like to point out that the number of his actual qadiani biased novels is quite low.. Almost 95% of his novels just had the basic islamic teachings and true patriotic values. And even in his so called “anti ahmedi” novels, he usually confined within the practical aspects such as warning the muslims to beware of the dis-integrative forces. Without going into pros and cons of this religious debate, I would just like to make it clear that the number of such novels was “extremely” low.
    Anyways, I remember visiting the old book bank in Rawalpindi Saddar every Sunday for his novels. And the summer afternoons, under the shades, that I spent absorbed in the adventures of Inspector Jamshed and family vs Jeral, Abzaal, Li-Kaaf, Gamata, G-Moof, C-Moon, Kali Ankh and a numerous other villains, each possessing a unique style of personality.
    It made me remember one funny incident from my childhood. Once an elder neighbor baji asked me what was I reading. I showed her the novel. It was if i remember correctly “larki ka chehra” ya something like that. And the title of the “Baab” was “mehmood aur larki”. She just read that and complained to my mom that I should’nt be allowed to read such vulgar novels. Fortunately for me, my mom also had read these novels and she explained to her that there was nothing vulgar about those novels. At this, my neighbor baji borrowed a novel from me and soon she was hooked to Ishtiaq Ahmed. So Ishtiaq Ahmed has been with me since those innocent days when Larki and Larka both seemed exactly the same :)
    I have completed my bachelors and doing job now but still I occasionally read his novels whenever i get some free time (which i get very rarely) and cherish the old memories. I remember by heart, most of his novels, having read them over and over again. Among the biggest regrets of my life is not getting to read all his novels. I would love to share my large collection with all interested and would also equally appreciate if I anybody can help me find some of the remaining unread novels from any available source.

    October 11th, 2010 1:00 pm


  4. Fraz Rafiq says:
    September 15th, 2010 12:08 pm

    Ishtiaq Ahmed has no taken retirement He is still writing for Atlantas PublicATIONS

  5. Sajid says:
    June 16th, 2010 3:29 am

    No wonder, he was a great novelist and i have read most of his novels may it be the Jamshed Series, Kamran Mirza or shoki series.

    what pinches me in this time (that Pakistan is going through a period of extreme fanaticism) is that the books used to contain substantial extremist preachings in the very beginning and end. such things were not part of the novel but were printed in the very beginning and end of the novels

    thirdly, he believed that differences between sects were not based on philosophical differences but on dishonesty and greed of all other sects except his very belief. such can also be sensed form a number of plots of his novels and the preaching material attached to his books.

    Anyway, are his books available anywhere on the net?

  6. marehan says:
    April 18th, 2010 2:38 pm

    Can anyone tell me where is Ishtiaq Ahmed these days? Is he still writing novels?

  7. Sadia Khalid says:
    November 24th, 2009 12:22 pm

    Kindly need to get in touch with Mr Ishtiaq Ahmed , we have been trying to locate him since two months ,we are a media consultancy based in USA, Washington DC.


  8. TAMEEM says:
    November 18th, 2009 10:54 am

    I wish all the special numbers of inspector jamshed.I have previously written you a letter but for your easy understanding I am writing it again.And I have written a novel too please paste it on “bachon ka islam”.

Comment Pages: [15] 14 13 12 11 10 9 8 7 6 51 » Show All

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