What Is Pakistan Reading: An Alternative Tour of the Karachi International Book Fair

Posted on December 30, 2010
Filed Under >Daroon-e-Khanna, Books, Society
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The 6th Karachi International Book Fair was held in Karachi this week. More than 300 publishers/ booksellers, more than a quarter million visitors over five days. You might have read about the importance of such events, you might have heard about the achievements of the fair and you might have been told about the diversity on offer.

But since more than 70 percent of the stalls were trying to make money by making the readers better Muslims, we concentrated on the free goodies on offer. Here is our alternative tour of the 6th Karachi International Book Fair.

Things We Got For Free

A DVD of the first-ever documentary about Maulana Maududi’s life, produced by Al Khidmat, Jamaat Islami’s charity wing.

A CD of the Jamaat’s current Ameer Maulana Munawar Hassan’s speeches. We accepted it under extreme duress.

Four pamphlets:

  1. Sins of the Tongue (the Urdu version is called Zaban ka Gunah)
    Not what you think. It’s all about Islamic punishments for gossiping and backbiting.
  2. Music: Quran aur Sunnat Mein [Music According to the Quran and Sunnat]
    More haraam than you ever thought. It leads to road accidents and zina.
  3. Quaid-e-Azam Speaks
    … And it seems he couldn’t utter a sentence without quoting from the Quran or invoking Islam.
  4. How Good is Your Child’s School?
    They perform Shakespeare’s plays? They celebrate Halloween? They have sleepovers at their friends’ house? You need to find a more Islamic school.

We were also given a newsletter by the Pakistan Librarians’ Association. Their favourite word seems to be ‘decline.’

One Thing We Thought Was For Free But Wasn’t

A DVD on goras converting to Islam.

We assumed it was for free because we were promised that everything on this particular stall was for free. But then we were told that this DVD was an exception. 80 rupees.

Things We Admired But Found To Be Way Out Of Our Budget

Kaaba Fun Game
Masjid Fun Game
Salat Fun Game

Things We Could Have Got For Free But Didn’t

Complete Quran audio download to our mobile phone. Takes only five minutes to download, we were assured.

Books We Wanted To Buy But Then Looked At The Last Chapter

Two new biographies of Mohammad Bin Qasim, both with happy endings. Dude marries Raja Dahar’s daughter and lives happily ever after. And we thought he was called back, tortured and executed by being sewn alive into a hide and drowned by the then khalifa.

Books We Didn’t Even Know Existed

Collected works of Dale Carnegie (of How to Make Friends and Influence People fame) in Urdu. This was definitely the heftiest volume we have ever seen in the Urdu language.

A new translation of The Brothers Karamazov by a gentleman called Shahid Siddiqi.

One Thing We Did Buy

A funky looking mug which reads ‘Smile, it’s Sunnah.’

Editors Note: Daroon-e-Khanna blogs at Cafe Pyala, where this post first appeared.

41 responses to “What Is Pakistan Reading: An Alternative Tour of the Karachi International Book Fair”

  1. Fawad says:

    These are the type of things that create and increase intolerance. And we know teh deadly results of intolerance.

  2. Lubna says:

    Funny post. But I must say I am glad for the fair. We need to get into the habit of reading that is the important thing.

  3. Gifts Pakistan says:

    Book reading has been decreasing day by day.

  4. Kamaal Mustafa says:


    “My friend, don’t go to Adam, I think you better need to find out the history of “1st MAN” in your ancestors first. Once you find out then we will discuss whether Adam(AS) was the real man or not.”

    Adnan, my friend, if you really think that there was a primordial couple of man and woman from which the entire humanity has emerged, then guess what, you win.I don’t really have patience to spoon feed someone at kindergarten level.

    “BTW, How do I believe you exist as well? Because as they say,”On Internet, no body knows you are a dog” :-)”

    So, this is the best counterargument you can come up in defense of Adam as a historical person? Fine. I do not exist. If my non-existence helps you believe in your fairy tales, good for you. Enjoy.

    “BTW Adam is not a Muslim figure only. Jews and Christians also believe in both Adam and Gabriel so ironically you are taking Panga with 3 nations ;)”

    There. You said it.

    You correctly say that Muslims, Jews and Christians all *believe in* Adam and Gabriel. Now if you really think that *belief* in the existence of an entity is *evidence* of its existence, then may be you are in the wrong forum.

  5. lidaliqa says:

    If this was a religious book fair then more power to them. By power I don’t want them running the country :).
    This Book Fair is a reflection of whats going on in Pakistan.

    The Mullahs are winning and in ten years these book reading people will take over Pakistan. All the seculars will leave and Fazullul Rahman will be our next prime minister.

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