It has been quite some time since I last attended a function of sorts at the Pakistan Academy Of Letters, so when I received this sms of invitation from Khurram Khiraam Siddiqui, the PAL editor of English I had to go there for one doesn’t always come across a person of the stature of Zulfikar Ghose, the US based poet, novelist and essayist, whom the gathering was arranged for.
I was fortunate to arrive earlier at the Editor’s office, meet the honorable Ghose sahib and exchange some pleasantries with him. Thats where I got my hands literally on a copy of the biannual anthology of the Pakistani writers, ‘The Pakistani Literature’ where translations from a variety of Pakistani languages as well as original English works of the prominent Pakistani literati are published. I flipped through pages and was pleasantly surprised to see the publication of four of my translated poems from Pushto. I conveyd my gratitude to Mr. Khiraam who enhanced my delight by showing me a heavier anthology which included pieces of translations as well as a selection of the original Pakistani English literature from 1947 to 2010, that again included a translation of mine. I requested for the contributor’s copies which the Editor generously handed me with compliments.
The function itself was a wonderful experience. Ghose sahib recited poems from his latest collection called ’50 Poems’ published by the Oxford University Press. In between the recitals of his inspiring poetry Ghose sahib delighted us with interesting anecdotes pertaining mostly to his experiences in life. There was a question-answer session in the end which again was full of information as we came to know how writers born in the third world are assigned labels in the West and how it limits the scope of a writer.
It was an evening to remember and one would like to be a part of such enlightening gatherings more often.