Plagiarism and literary spying
Plagiarism, world literature and literary spying
Karachi, Aug 17: "If you steal from one author, it's plagiarism; if you steal from many,
it's research," goes the well-known witticism. But jokes aside,
benefiting from many authors is not plagiarism if proper
acknowledgements are made in the reference section and bibliography.
However, that's exactly what many don't do - intentionally - pretending
that it's their own work and run the risk of attracting the derogatory
title of plagiarist.
Plagiarism by definition is the act of
taking the work or an idea of someone else and passing it off as one's
own. Let me clarify first that the definition quoted above is derived
from the Concise Oxford English Dictionary lest I should be accused of
the reprehensible practice I am writing about.
When it comes to
plagiarism in research papers and PhD theses, Pakistani universities
and the Higher Education Commission act quite swiftly and deal with the
problem very sternly these days. A few academics have lately been sacked
on charges of plagiarism by some universities. Plagiarism, however, has
been around for centuries and - if past is any yardstick to predict
future patterns - would probably continue to haunt research and higher
education institutions for quite some time.
Both the academic
world and literary circles have long since been involved in it, in one
form or another. For instance, it is a well-known fact that Homer,
Shakespeare and Molière "borrowed" themes from old ballads and oral
traditions. Dante has apparently drawn heavily from some Islamic and
Christian traditions in his "Divine Comedy" which talks of Paradise,
Hell and Lucifer, or Iblees. A recent research proves that Dante owes
much to Ibn-e-Arabi for his "masterpiece". Ghalib, it is often said,
benefited greatly from Persian poetry and many of his Urdu couplets are
but an echo of the original Persian couplet - if not a beautiful
translation. In the words of J.A. Cuddon, "much plagiarism has been
lifting, filching or pirating of other people's works; a very common
practice among dramatists during the Elizabethan period when
hack-writers blatantly stole the plays of others and presented them as
their own. These days [and for long past] such thieving is rare and
authors are now fairly well protected by copyright". Well, maybe. But
the scholars who have researched such "thieving" tell us that until
recently, at least in this part of the world, the curse continued.A few
years ago a student of Islamia University, Bahawalpur, was awarded a PhD
on his thesis that thoroughly thrashed out the tradition of plagiarism
in Urdu. As far as I know, the dissertation has not yet been published,
though many like me have been waiting for its publication quite
impatiently. But recently, three Urdu publications have discussed
plagiarism and going through them makes one see plagiarism in its
historical perspective and one realises that plagiarism is as old and
widespread as perhaps literature itself.
The first of the three
publications is "Sahil", a monthly published from Karachi, but since
much of its contents discuss some religious personalities and their
"plagiarism", we would rather avoid it. Another publication that carries
a very informative research article on plagiarism is "Daryaft", the
research journal of Islamabad's National University of Modern Languages
(NUML). Written by Prof (Dr) Moinuddin Aqeel and published in Daryaft's
2010 issue, the article says that plagiarism is a global issue and ages
old. The examples of plagiarism are found in literature of almost all
the languages. Recent research has revealed that some eminent writers
who have been involved in plagiarism include Marco Polo and
Ibn-e-Batuta, says Dr Aqeel.
But the publication that has
thoroughly discussed the much talked-about issue of plagiarism is
brought out by Karachi University's Bureau of Composition, Compilation
and Translation (BCC&T). The book's title 'Che dilawar ast' is an
allusion to a much-quoted event. Legend has it that a king's precious
necklace was stolen. Worried, he at night decided to have a 'faal' or
cast a spell with the help of Divan of Hafiz of Shiraz to know the fact.
(Interestingly, Divan of Hafiz was used by soothsayers for
fortune-telling and some still believe in it, hence the title given to
Hafiz: lisaan-ul-ghaib, or, literally, "the tongue of the unknown"). The
king ordered a maid to bring a lamp so that by its light he could read
the divan and take an omen from it. The maid brought the lamp and held
it in her hand. The line cast from the book read: Che dilawar ast duzde ke bakaf chiraagh darad which can roughly be translated as: how daring is the thief that has a
lamp on his/her palm. The king held the maid responsible for the missing
necklace and she admitted to have stolen it.
By alluding to
this line, the editors have pointed out that a criminal leaves the marks
and signs behind them with which they can be traced. This kind of
literary spying was done by a literary magazine named "Mehr-e-neemroz"
('the midday sun' literally). Launched from Karachi in February 1956 by
Hasan Musanna Nadvi and Ali Akber Qasid, the magazine decided that
enough was enough and the mask from every plagiarist's face be snatched.
Abul-Khair Kashfi too joined them and the magazine sent tremors across
the literary world of the subcontinent. Some eminent scholars such as
Abul-Lais Siddiqi and well-known writers such as Mumtaz Mufti helped the
magazine by providing it with hints and raw material while others such
as Farman Fatehpuri, Qazi Abdul Wadood and Nazeer Siddiqi contributed
articles (or were the "literary detectives", to quote the magazine) in
addition to the three editors who sometimes had to finance the magazine
that, true to its name, rose and set intermittently.
the articles published in 'Mehr-e-neemroz' unearthed plagiaristic pieces
that we would hardly believe in, since they involved some real big and
Some of the articles remained unpublished which
also included an article that traces Dante's "Divine Comedy' to
Ibn-e-Arabi's 'Futuhaat-e-Makkiya' and tells us that even the minute
details have been taken by Dante, sometimes word for word.
the BCC&T has compiled all those published and unpublished articles
in "Che dilawar ast" along with a very elaborate foreword that not only
traces the history of plagiarism in world literature, including Arabic,
Persian and some western languages, but also "absolves" some innocent
writers who were wrongly charged with the stigma. Dawn
"please inform me about the date of nts for m.sc. thanks"
City, Country: pindi
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UoP announces test dates
Peshawar: The University of Peshawar admission test into BS
four-year programme for pre-medical students would be held on Monday
August 30 at 9am under the National Testing Service, said a spokesman
for UoP here on Monday.
The tests of pre-engineering,
inter-science and arts students would remain unchanged and for these
students the test would be held on August 29 as previously announced.
However, the test of pre-engineering would be held on August 29 in the
morning session starting from 9am instead of evening session.
the medical students the change in allocation of the halls would be
communicated to them through telephone numbers given in their admission
form by the National Testing Service accordingly.
The tests date,
timings and halls of the general science and arts group would remain
unchanged and these tests would be conducted on August 29 at the times
given in students' admission test roll number cards. app
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FDE employees without salary for 16 months
Islamabad: Federal Directorate of Education
(FDE) employees, who have not received salary for the last 16 months,
are still struggling hard for the payments, as promises made by the
Ministry of Education officials remain unfulfilled.
It has been
learnt that more than 500 teachers on contract want their salaries as
well as regularisation of their services, while the FDE has yet to
receive funds from the Accountant General of Pakistan Revenues (AGPR)
for teachers and non-teaching staff both, as the AGPR stopped releasing
salary grants to them by raising various objections.
The teachers said they had taken out protest rallies and
met ministry and FDE officials time and again but they had yet to
receive their salaries.
They said deadline given by the ministry
and FDE officials to release grants and arrears to the teachers expired
on March 15. "Sadly, no progress has been made in this regard so far,"
It has been learnt that AGPR stopped payment of
salaries to teachers as well as non-teaching staff, as the posts were
not created properly and the AGPR had no record pertaining to the posts.
Teachers of different subjects including Computer Sciences,
English and non-teaching staff were appointed in different schools and
colleges without following the rules and proper creation of posts by the
directorate and they have never been regularised despite working for
Contracts of some employees have expired and not renewed
by the directorate. They are working on the verbal assurances given by
the directorate officials.
"We appeal to Minister for Education
Sardar Assef Ahmed Ali and Secretary Education Imtiaz Hussain Qazi to
ensure release of our salaries as we have been teaching without salaries
for the last many months. We have not been getting anything in return.
Instead we are paying heavy price for our jobs," remarked a female
Sources in FDE said thousands of teachers and
non-teaching staff were appointed without following the rules of
contracts and proper creation of posts by the directorate. "The staff
was never regularized. That's why the issue has raised its head now,"
"Whole mess and confusion at the directorate has
been created by the retired army officers who ruled the directorate for
years. We hear a new story everyday narrating violations of policies
and rules," sources added.
When contacted, Acting FDE DG Shaheen
Khan, said, "There is no such issue existing now in FDE as majority of
cases have been settled amicably," she said. She, however, refused to
divulge how the matter stood resolved when employees were still
complaining and agitating. Daily times
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