By: Prof. Khalid Akbar
‘Kashmir Nama’ is the first volume of Dr. Mumtaz Sadiq who is the associate professor of Urdu serving in Boys Post Graduate College Rawalakot Azad Kashmir. Mumtaz is the son of renowned educationist, academic, and ex-principal- Mohammad Sadiq khan. In this sense, he was born and grew amid the learning charged and knowledge friendly environment. ‘Kashmir Nama’ consists of fourteen chapters including introductory ones. It has 216 pages with an eye-catching cover. The topics dealt with are local as well as general. It is overall, a blend of various varieties; you may find in this volume, history, personal memories, reminiscences, episodes, narratives and so on. It incorporates in its rainbow all colors and shades. So in this sense, it is nondescript and all-inclusive simultaneously.
Thematically, Mumtaz seems to have lived through these observations, events, and stories either by experiencing them or heard of them by his elders. Mostly, he has used his past memories and recollections as material for ‘Kashmir Nama’. All the twists of stuff are from real life which he observed, experienced, read, or heard of. The memories, reminiscences, personal observations involve in this book are dealt with the greater linguistic skill which in the hands of lesser author or inexperienced writer would have suffered; but with the brushstroke of Mumtaz along with his craft of finest communicative competence, all the narratives, and descriptions become thorough perfect. The language of Mumtaz is rich and flowery which makes his work wonderful and worth reading.
‘Kashmir Nama’ is so absorbing and arresting that once you start reading, you don’t feel bored and energy drained; rather you stick to reading and longs to finish it up straight away. Sometimes you burst into laughter and other time, in a smile, your lips spread generously, or to the least, you smile lavishly under your lips. Mumtaz seems to with you and tickling, as in real, it is the greatest feature of his personality. What impresses me tremendously that if the style is called the man, Mumtaz‘s offering speaks volumes of it in specific broader meanings. As you find him in his presence, the same you find him in a book.
Mumtaz has a graceful, lively, and smarter personality with a keen sense of wearing and delicacy giving a feminist touch. But, it’s always very sober and befitting to his personality. But in this book, what we additionally, found that he is also belly cheer as he says that he penned down this book relishing the dried fruits and beverages besides enjoying hearth in frosty snowy days in pearl valley Rawalakot.
The best part of this volume is Rawal Rang and Poonch Nama. It has been narrated and described with flourishes of language. It’s of course a classic part. Stephen Leacock says that humor is the artistic exposure of absurdities and social unevenness in an empathetic way. Mumtaz has employed a humorous way of exposing the absurdities and follies of past life to which he has himself the part, but he does not ridicule any person, nor does he ignore the instructive aspect of any doing or event. Even the first chapter of the book is about culture and civilization and every aspect centers on the concept of culture. His main weapon of humor is satire, according to Jonathan swift; satire is a mirror to show all except the writer himself. As satire is an indirect way of giving vent to your feeling, so it does not create any resentment and accepted without raising eyebrows. Though Mutaz Sadiq has employed all the main tools of humor like satire, irony, pun, light-hearted humor yet, he has used the weapon of satire very successfully. We also find in his scores of examples of this constructive humor running in every part of the book.
It’s a fact that Kashmir is divided into three parts –each part has no much social connection with one another other. So in this backdrop, Mumtaz’s ‘Kashmir Nama’ does not give any explicit hint that which part he focused to depict. Only the reading of the book suggests that this actually is the portrayal of that part of Kashmir administered by Pakistan. Importantly, to a larger extent, it is the delineation of the culture and reminiscences of past and present life of Poonch. However, he called it Kashmir Nama rightly, in a broader sense; as you may visualize a virtual picture of Kashmir if we see the things by reading between the lines. Mumtaz is, of course, a bigwig in the arena of men of letters in Kashmir. He has a very sophisticated persona, and the same flourish and beauty are demonstrated in ‘Kashmir Nama’
Mumtaz is in the early fifties and the best of his writing life may be starting. So this book must be taken as a trailer and his masterpiece rather; masterpieces can be anticipated. Ten original chapters of this book is not a single topic, it is a tapestry of several stories. Be it education deterioration, comparison of an old or new civilization, the hospitability of Mirpur division, the prospects in terms of prosperity or progress of Kashmir-all are dealt with in ‘Kashmir Nama’ with great craft and symmetry. We find pure humor that blossoms out of comparison. In Rawal Rung, he paints the living style of the old and new generation in such a humorous way that one can’t help restraining uproarious laughter, though mingled with pathos. In ‘Rawal Rung’ and ‘Poonch Nama’, he took all quakes and so-called so called self-declared surgeons by task ironically chiefly counterfeits dentists, who extract the teeth especially molar teeth of patients recklessly without anesthesia that their hue and cries could be heard miles away; yet the painting of this narration is highly humorous. The indifference and eccentricities of the old shopkeepers, vendors, butchers, retailers, hairdressers of old Rawalakot have been exposed very playfully and light-heartedly. This book is equally appealing to various segments of his readership. This volume is the maiden attempt of the learned author, yet it can withstand the test of time. It will virtually, enhance the stature of the author immensely, it will further the cause of preserving the deterioration of the glorious civilization of this region, as well as encourage the cause of absorbing the healthy principles of the new emerging trends and tendencies. The sum and substance of this discussion are that ‘Kashmir Nama’ is worthy of being hailed as laudable work of Dr. Mumtaz khan.
The Reviewer is the Chairman of the English Department atGovt.Boys Degree College
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