Text Books by Pakistani Authors: Why the Dearth?

Posted on February 26, 2010
Filed Under >Owais Mughal, Books, Education
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Owais Mughal

In this post we will talk about two topics. One is the dearth of technical books in Urdu and second is the dearth of text books in any language by Pakistani authors at undergraduate and graduate level.

I have a habit. Every few days I like to sit in front of my book shelf and look at my collection. Last time I did that, my wandering eyes got stuck at one book which I had not noticed in while. It was my very own and very dear book of ‘bunyaadi (Basic) Engineering Drawing’ by M Iqbal Khan.

It was first published in 1978 and it used to be one of our text books in First-Year of Engineering(1990). Most of you may know that students in Pakistani Engineering colleges go through 40+ courses in their 4-year degree program but what may surprise you is that none of the text books for these courses are written by Pakistani authros — except for two that I know of. One of them is the bunyaadi (Basic) Engineering Drawing. This was also the only text book written in Urdu which was taught at undergrad level.

That was 20 years ago. Things must’ve changed by now. Hopefully for better. We all know that AutoCad and Solid Works have completely replaced the skills of technical drawing by hand and geometrical tools. The set of tools called ‘French curves’ may now appear as a reference to human anatomy to many. See a photo of French Curves here.

As I am writing this post, the book of M. Iqbal Khan is next to me and I am going to pick some ‘cheeda cheeda’ (selected) highlights from it. Iqbal Khan was an instructor at Jamia Millia Polytechnic Institute of Malir, Karachi and later taught at Balochistan Engineering College in Khuzdar. In the first 10 years of its publication (1978-88), this book sold 33550 copies.

The very first lesson is about ‘lettering’ and step by step the book proceeds to teach concepts of drawings conic sections, orthogonal projections, mechanical sectioning, threads (called chooriaN – literally meaning bangles in Urdu) etc.

Look at the image to the right above. It teaches how to draw mechanical threads.

I don’t want to bore our versatile readership with technical terms but this book was indeed the one which impressed myself and my colleagues a lot and we learnt our technical drawing concepts from it.

Besides the above mentioned book there is one more text book of graduate level book by a Pakistani author that I know of. It is called the ‘Introduction to Statistical Theory’ and is written by Professor Sher Mohammad Chaudhary.This book was a text book for Statistics for us in Bachelors. I know this book is also a prescribed text book Masters level programs.

Ok. so while I started this post with a narrow narrative about Iqbal Khan’s book, I now want to broaden up the scope. How about you let us know if you are privy to seeing or studying any other text book by a Pakistani author whether in English or Urdu at degree level. Let us know of the books and we will list them here.

I am aware that there are several technical books by Pakistani authors – but most of them are for reference studies. We are looking for names of text books.

So far the list is 16 books long. anymore names? sahibaan aur qadardaan?

List of Degree Level Text Books by Pakistani Authors:

1. bunyaadi Engineering Drawing by Mohammad Iqbal Khan
2. Introduction to Statistical Theory Part I and II by Professor Sher Mohammad Chaudhary, Published by Ilmi Kitab Khana
3. Mathematical Methods by S.M.Yousuf, Published by Ilmi Kitab Khana, 1999.
4. Calculus and Analytical Geometry by S.M.Yousuf
5. Comprehensive Book of Mechanics by Q.K. Ghori published by A.H. Publishers, Lahore
6. Analog and Digital Circuit Design by Shahzad Mahmood. First edition 2003.
7. Amplifiers and Receiver Circuits prescribed by NISTE (National Institute of Science and Technical Education, Islamabad. Published by National Book Foundation, Pakistan. 2002
8. Basic Engineering Drawing and CAD prescribed by NISTE (National Institute of Science and Technical Education, Islamabad. Published by National Book Foundation, Pakistan. 2002
9. Basics of Engnieering Drawing by Zahid Ahmed, Muhammad Ashraf and Shahid Ahmed. Published by Prince Book Depot, 2005.
10. Electronic Media published by National Book Foundation, Pakistan. 1998
11. Irrigation and Drainage Engineering by Iqtidar Siddiqui. published by Oxford 2007. ISBN 9780195473568.
12. Surface Water Hydrology by N.M.Awan, 2003
13. Surveying and Leveling – for architecture Technology – with Lab instruction manual. Prescribed by NISTE (National Institute of Science and Technical Education, Islamabad. Published by National Book Foundation, Pakistan. 2001
14. Theory of Automation and Computation by Sikandar Hayat Khiyal. Published by National Book Foundation, Pakistan. 2004
15. Voice of Civil Engineering by Abdul Hasan and Sarah Haider, 2003
16. Electronic Circuits and Devices by Dr. Manzar Saeed.
17. Fault Diagnosis and Testing of Digital Circuits with an introduction to Error Control Coding by Dr. Altaf Mukati. Published by HEC


1. Federal Urdu University of Arts, Science and Technology, Karachi and Islamabad.
2. National Institute of Science and Technical Education (NISTE), Ministry of Education, Government of Pakistan.
3. Oxford University Press, Pakistan – Books Catalog for Higher Education
4. National Book Foundation, Pakistan

44 responses to “Text Books by Pakistani Authors: Why the Dearth?”

  1. Owais Mughal says:

    Text book # 17 added to the list today.

  2. lidaliqa says:

    Not to put URDU down but if no work has been done on URDU especially in the field of Science then why use URDU???

    If orthographic has to be written in URDU and no URDU word is present or developed for that then whats the point???

  3. Owais Mughal says:

    Ebrahim, Noman, Khurram and Kashif. Thanks for your thoughful comments.

  4. Kashif says:

    Nostalgia is all well and good, but recognition of ground reality is equally important. We need to make a decision whether our higher education, especially professional education such as engineering, medicine, etc, should be in english or in urdu. And while making this decision, some basic facts should be considered – is urdu really a language that can handle the complexities of technical education without putting our students at a disadvantage? Can we really afford to make investments in developing professional education books in urdu when we know that existing research is mostly available in english and other western languages? Examples of Japan, France, Italy, etc teaching in their own languages at all levels are not very good examples for us to follow.

    Urdu must be developed and preserved as our national language, no doubt about that. However, we should avoid our emotional, nationalistic tendencies and make some pragmatic choices by recognizing we really have a lot of catching up to do in the world with very little funding going towards education as it is. Let’s use it for better equipping our universities and starting some research programs first.

  5. Khuram says:

    I do not intend diagressing from the topic under discussion but I thought I should bring to your notice ( I am sure it must be already in your knowledge) that currently an exhibition is on in London about the Muslim Heritage.The link is:
    http://www.1001inventions.com/.It is worth exploring fully to learn more about the “golden era” which is commonly remmembered as the “dark era” in Europe.It goes to the credit of Europians to remind us of Muslim heritage and they have done it well.May be we have such bright people amongst us even now!Sadly our media has not yet seen it perhaps.Regards

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