When we think of Urdu columnists, the image that comes to mind is of old men, always in shalwar Kameez / Pajama and resembling like poets. Sometimes (and not always) such columnists talk of their glorious past and also resort to sensationalism. We know this is a bit generalization but there has to be some truth to this widely perceived image. kuch to hai jis ki parda dari hai.
But as of recent it seems like a change is coming to the world of Urdu columnists and we are seeing some new faces who are not columnists by profession, but still have an urge to write effectively in Urdu. More often than not, this brings some new ideas in this field which traditionally was the forte of senior journalists.
Wajahat Ali Abbasi is part of this rare breed of young Pakistani Urdu Columnist who have recently started writing columns in various mainstream newspapers. At 32, he is a Computer Analyst by profession and currently living in New York but writes columns in Express newspaper pretty regularly. He also writes for UrduTimes USA, which is the oldest Pakistani Urdu Newspaper in the USA.
We got hold of his second book ‘silsila takalum ka’ which is a sequel to his first book ‘Andaz-e-Bayan Aur’. The book contains a collection of his columns which he has written in the past year. While reviewing his columns we found him to be a very sensitive person who wrote columns not only on the issues of Pakistanis back home but also the every-day struggle that Pakistani diaspora has to face abroad. Another interesting aspect he brings in is the variety of his topics e.g he has written Urdu columns on Facebook, Myspace, Internet Chatting which very informative as well as full of humor.
Being a proud Pakistani, he always tries to highlight the positive aspects of Pakistan and Pakistanis and in turn tries to downplay the negative impressions against them whether in a column on Barack Obama where his Pakistani friend helped him in the court to fight against the landlord of the apartment or an unknown Pakistani who did a favor to a foreigner.
Some of his columns have very interesting titles such as “bara-i-Mehrbani kuch der baad number milaiye” (Please dial again later) which hits on the changing cultural values of the society due to adoption of mobile technology. It also discusses the phenomenon of not actually calling but just sending a ring , sending sms, etc. Another interesting column which we thought of being humorous has the title “athanni si Zindagi”. It actually turns out to be a very touching column where he talks about the life of a person who committed suicide in Karachi because he was unable to pay the debt and the collection agencies came to his house and insulted his sisters for a meagre amount. This column clearly indicates that the author is a sensitive person and is very much concerned about their fellow Pakistanis back home.
The book launching ceremony for ‘silsila takalum ka’ was recently held in New York and was well attended by the lovers of Urdu Language. It was heartening to see that there were quite a few of younger generation Pakistanis present at the occasion.
Following is one of the chapters from Wajahat Abbasi’s book ‘silsila takallum ka’