Daily Archives: April 22, 2008

Ahmed Bashir’s wayward heart

by Akmal Aleemi

In all the years that I have lived in America – 35 to be exact – and in the four years since Ahmed Bashir died at the age of 81 from liver cancer, I never once dreamt about him, except some days ago. I dreamed that I was walking out of the Smithsonian Museum in Washington, D.C. with my wife, Mumtaz. I ask her to wait for me in an area where there are several food outlets and to meet me in half an hour at the main entrance. I go out looking for my car which I had parked at some distance. I notice a group of people sitting out on a kind of porch. Among them, I see Ahmed Bashir, the intellectual, journalist and novelist, whom I used to call Lala. I was a friend of his talented younger brother, Akhtar Aksi, who died in his youth in Lahore in the 1950s.

In the dream, Ahmed Bashir sees me, smiles, but says nothing. I sit down in front of him and ask, “Lala, I have read Dil Bhatkay Ga . You call it a novel but it is a mix of journalism and fiction. Why?”

He seems to want to answer my question but fails to do so. I suddenly realise that he cannot talk. Then with some difficulty and much effort, all he says is, “Master Madan.” Master Madan was a boy prodigy who died in his teens but whose voice continues to haunt us through the few recordings he left behind. I remember that Mumtaz is by now waiting for me and I leave. Continue reading

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Never Too Late

Faced with problems of commerce and trade,
In slogans we raise, our misery and fate
Great comfort we draw from rallies and protest
From voices we raise, from beatings we take
Remain there in place, the old hate in wait
From practitioners and proponents of their faith
Hold us in nearness as we move into this state
As change will come as it’s never too late!

Kashkin

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Filed under Democracy, History, Media, Pakistan, poetry, Politics, Society, Writers