reamers, Thinkers, and Doers: People, Places and Ideas of our Time a collection of articles by Dr Arif Azad, published in various newspapers and journals in the last two years.
The book seeks to uncover a variety of contemporary political, social and literary issues and is a compelling account of some of those who have influenced intellectual discourse at local and international levels. With a clear understanding of the issues, innovation and creativity, Arif weaves facts and analyzes them in a way that arouses interest in the readers and adds value to their experience. in the modern world. Without using clichéd words, the author explains the problems in a real way. He takes readers on a journey to explore problems rather than grappling with glib answers. The pleasant language, the new features and the fun style of the author remind one of Khalid Hassan’s story.
Part One of the book discusses contemporary discourses on world literature. Some of the essays, such as The Treatment of Night in Literature and The Nations and National Literature provide new insights into the symbolism and politics of literature. He examines Naipaul’s colonial legacy and discusses the debate between anglophiles and post-colonial writers about his intellectual and political views. His essay on Shakespeare after 400 years beautifully shows the connection of the bard, the influence on the minds of the people and the theater in Pakistan and the world.
The second part is about movies, TV serials and filmmakers. A detailed statement about their films, political views and pictures will introduce these artists to the readers. Here, Arif illuminates the simple beauty of art. For example, while discussing a film on Anna Karenina, Arif explains how the themes of faith, love and trust, justice and individual freedom are created in inside the movie.
Part Three presents some popular books. A review of a book on Jeremy Corbyn, who knew Arif personally, gives a detailed account of the man and his political style. This section also discusses Stoner – a forgotten but rediscovered story of campus life and its charm. In Part Four, Arif presents an in-depth analysis of various political movements and their impact on life in different parts of the world. This includes the impact of radical anti-racism, the liberation and socialist movements of 1968 on world politics, the rise and fall of the Russian Revolution after a century, the rise of the right wing in Europe, Bernie Sanders and the political landscape of today. Pakistan.
Arif Azad collects facts and presents them in such a way as to create interest in the readers and add value to their understanding of the modern world..
A section of the book is dedicated to some successful journals like Lotus, Thoughts a South. The Lotuspublished from Beirut, it was edited by Faiz Ahmad Faiz and featured progressive voices from around the world, especially from the Middle East. Thoughts, a weekly published from Lahore, under the editorship of Mazhar Ali Khan and his team of eminent journalists like Prof Amin Mughal, IA Rehman and Zafar Iqbal Mirza, boldly opposed the the greatest fear of the Zia regime in Pakistan. Another part about Arif’s stay between Warsaw and Zagreb-Belgrade road shows a deep analysis of the change of societies in the Balkans.
Part Seven highlights some Pakistani personalities like ZA Bhutto, Suhrawardis, SM Burke, Alys Faiz, Patras Bokhari, Nawabzada Nasrullah Khan and Malik Meraj Khalid. Among the far-left political leaders, this episode is about the life of Alys Faiz, Sheikh Mohammad Rashid. but Baba-i-Socialism, journalist Abdullah Malik, academic Hamza Alvi, and Zafaryab Ahmed. Hamza Alvi presented a comprehensive overview of the developed state of Pakistan. Zafaryab Ahmed represented the spirit of Lahore’s southern youth. Those who know Zafaryab will want to read this write-up about that friendly, cheerful, funny, and non-controversial camp worker in Pakistan. Arif also praises the radical and serious Trotskyite leader, who always seeks with passion to paint the world red – Dr Lal Khan. Finally, the colorful story of the nightingale of Pakistan, a multitalented artist Noor Jehan, adds beauty to this famous house.
The final section deals with people who have influenced political and literary discourse around the world. While Naipaul, in this section, represents the concept of white supremacy, Sivanandan, an anti-racist campaigner, represents the anti-colonial sentiment around the world. This section also includes other important literary works such as Philip Roth, Norman Mailer, the brilliant Marxist historian Eric Hobsbawm, the Marxist scholar and translator of Faiz’s poetry Victor Kiernan, who novelist Joan Didion, and the great Polish political theorist and theorist Kolakowski. This section also includes live coverage of the lives of politicians and scholars such as Fidel Castro, Nelson Mandela, Tony Benn, Edward Kennedy, Helmut Kohl, Joyti Basu and Christopher Hitchens.
Arif has a positive approach to life, influenced by new knowledge – enlightened and inspired by local and international human rights movements. The work reflects Arif’s in-depth knowledge and experience in various academic fields and active participation in social and political movements. I first knew Arif when he was a young medical student in Lahore, an avid reader of English literature – always involved in literary and political debates. He then moved to the UK, where he became involved in human rights debates against racism and for the rights of immigrants and the defense of the political rights of marginalized groups. Later, he studied public policy at Birkbeck College, where Eric Hobsbawm taught. After that, he went to Umea University, Sweden, to get his master’s degree in public health. He has worked in Pakistan and the Middle East with Doctors without Borders as a global policy consultant and health expert.
The book describes the intellectual journey of a man who is passionate about literature and has a lot of experience working as a social scientist and human rights activist, both locally and internationally.
Book: Dreamers, Thinkers, and Doers: People, Places and Ideas of our Time
Author: Dr Arif Azad
Publisher: IRD-IIU, 2022
Price: Rs 750
The reviewer is a journalist and translator