I have a lot of books on Qavvaali from several publishers. They are, at best, small volumes that deal with a particular Gharaanah, a group of qavvaali performers, a small collection of Farsi Poems (I am sure there are Urdu, Punjab and Saraiki versions available). None has the ability or the range that this book covers.
The title of this remarkable book, by Dr Hasan Aziz,
is Kalaamé Aarifaañ.
Pushed through its collection and printing by his daughter Ayesha (His son, Arsalan, and wife, Ghazala, also appear in smaller letters in the dedication), this is an amazing collection of the poetry of Sufis and Mystics. Their whole family loves this genre and hold regular qavvaali sessions at their place.
It took over 10 years to write Kalaamé Aarifaañ
and the book is unique that it is in Urdu and English. It features the poetry, the transliteration, the meanings in English and Urdu, and the tafheem
as related by episodes and legends of the Sufis and Mystics.
The book is recommended to be read from right to left - traditional for Eastern books, and the English version is on the same page(s).
Kalaamé Aarifaañ has, apart from a remarkable collection of the famous poems on Persian, Urdu, Farsi, Saraiki and more — plus the writings about them — a lovely glossary, a starting comment, a timeline of the people mentioned, and a remarkable wonderful history of Qavvaali. All of them are, again, in English and Urdu, as are the words of Fehmida Riaz.
The Urdu was written by Dr Hasan Aziz and extremely well translated into English by Dr Zarine Mogal. Amazing how two doctors could do all this in their very spare time. Dr Aziz's late brother-in-law did a great job in helping him with the Persian work and the late and dear friend, Imran Mir, supervised the printing and the style of the book.
Photograph by Marvi Mazhar
Pity that Imran died just a few days before the launch. We missed him greatly at Karachi when the launch was done through the courtesy of Getz Pharma's CRP on 6th December. Getz Pharma also helped publish the book.
Kalaamé Aarifaañ will also be launched at
Islamabad on Saturday (13th: Kuchh Khas - 6pm)
and Lahore (14th: Faiz Ghar - 6pm).
In both places it will be sold at a reduced price.
Printed on good quality paper, the hard cover book of almost 600 pages is in colour, with a lovely golden edge of pages, and is offered in a book-safe cover. The size is 10"x13" and the book is an absolute delight to look at.
If the remarkable book was not all, there two DVDs in it. The first one features 6 modern sufi/qavvaali pieces in video from Coke Studio … but, much more important, is the second DVD that features 48 Audio pieces of Sufi Songs and Qavvaalis. An absolute treasure that comes with a small booklet that talks about these pieces.
"Isn't the book expensive at Rs 15000", asked a rather rich friend. I thought of the years that went by, the love of qavvaali and Sufi music, the collection of poems, the translation, the tremendous amount of research and writing, the collection of videos and audios, the permissions to have them published here, and the finally delightful publication of the gorgeous book. But I didn't say that to him at all. I just asked him that if he and his wife took out two friends for a good dinner at a stylish restaurant (never mind the rather odd costs of the drinks at home!), they'd spend that much. And the pleasure would be gone in a day or so. The book you'd have forever … and visit it often.
Incidentally, the book will be sold
for Rs 10000 only at the launches.
Still not convinced if its worth buying?
Download a PDF sample of the book from here
The book will also be available at T2F's bookstall. It will also have a website, soon, put together by PeaceNiche, where new stuff will be added to the book.