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Literary journals thing of the past?

Urdu literary journals in Lahore
Lahore, Oct 16: They say that a literary journal is doomed to die sooner or later. This saying seems to be more valid in Lahore, the country's centre of literary and cultural activities of yore. The two main literary movements of the country -the Progressive Writers Movement and the Halqa Arbab-e-Zauq -flourished here and a large number of literary icons from Allama Iqbal to Faiz made it their abode.

One of the main functions of literary journals is to introduce young budding writers to readers providing them with an outlet for reaching out to society and gaining readership. Other main functions include maintaining the critical standards by publishing critical essays and providing the intelligentsia with a platform to share their knowledge and guide and prepare a new generation of writers. But now such journals, which are mostly monthlies, are disappearing one after the other at a fast pace and one can hardly find a literary journal at any bookstall or bookshop. The few journals which are still being printed are struggling to survive owing to multiple reasons.

Urdu literary journals, including Funoon, Adab-e-Latif and Takhleeq, used to keep lovers of literature updated on happenings in literary circles and upcoming writers. With separate sections of poetry, short stories and essays, they nurtured the budding writers for a long time. Urdu poetry especially thrived under the benign influence of literary journals and their Ghazal and Nazm sections always remained popular. They also came out with special editions on great writers from time to time containing rare writings which could not be found in any book.

In Lahore, some literary journals represented groups as well which were spearheaded by great literary figures like the late Ahmed Nadeem Qasmi and Wazir Agha. The former was the editor of Funoon, which was continuously published for 43 years till the death of Qasmi Sahib in 2006, while the latter came out with Auraq and both groups remained at odds with each other.

It is debatable whether these groups had damaged or benefited the literary scene of Lahore but certainly both of them had produced writers and hence promoted literature in the country. Siddiqa Begum, editor of Adab-e-Latif for past 30 years, thinks that groups were beneficial to literary journals as they provided an opportunity for difference of ideas to flourish and at least those affiliated with the groups were getting and reading editions of the journal of the opposite group.

Adab-e-Latif was founded by Siddiqa Begum's father Chaudhry Barkat Ali in 1935 and after his death she took over and carried on publishing it without a break despite her failing health. But she is not very hopeful about the future of her journal and says that there is nobody to take over her job. She says that there is no monetary profit in publishing a literary journal and one cannot do it as a business. She is of the opinion that she was successful in publishing Adab-e-Latif as she belonged to a well-to-do family and did not have any financial constraints which had afflicted most of the literary journals. She says that most of the 1,100 copies of her journal are dispatched as complimentary copies so there is no question of earning any profit and whatever money is generated from advertisement is spent on postal charges. Moreover, bookshop owners are not willing to give place to literary journals in their shops on the pretext that they have no buyers, she maintains.

Azhar Javed, editor of monthly Takhleeq, says anybody willing to bring out a literary journal requires commitment as well as capital. He says he has been doing other jobs to support his journal which he founded in 1971. Talking about the problems faced by literary journals, he says publishing a literary journal is becoming more expensive day by day. He says that literary pages by daily newspapers have damaged the literary journals most as a piece of writing printed in a daily along with the writer's picture got more attraction for him. He says that with the passage of time the demands by the companies which give adverts have also increased as they demand colour pages now which are more expensive than the black and white ones.

Azhar Javed complains that renowned writers and poets also give a cold shoulder to literary journals and they take the journals for granted though most of 1,000 copies of Takhleeq are dispatched as complimentary to writers and poets.

He says that the government has recently increased the postal charges which are difficult to bear, especially if a copy is sent abroad. Nayar Hayat Qasmi, the grandson of Ahmed Nadeem Qasmi, is trying to revive Funoon whose special issue on Qasmi Sahib appeared on his death anniversary in June. Though the effort for the revival of the literary journal got a positive feedback and orders have been place for reprinting of 300 more copies of Funoon's June edition, Nayar complains about the financial constraints. He says that there are few companies willing to give adverts and bearing the expenses of the journal is a mammoth task. He says that the number of serious writers is decreasing while the attitude of established and renowned writers is also not encouraging as he was able to get their creations only after repeated requests. He also complains about increase in the charges by post office which causes a considerable increase in the expenses of the journal. -By Irfan Aslam (The writer works as a sub with the newspaper and can be reached at rindd@yahoo.com) -The news

Your Comments
"Adab Azhar Uncle, My name is Sarmad Iqbal and I am Son-In-Law of your Darwaish (Saint) Late Mr. Shams Naghman (Mr. Shams-ul-Haq Khan). I & my wife (their daughter "Sobia") was a frequent reader of "Monthly Takhleeq" but after the death of Uncle Shams, this golden oppurtunity is no more. Uncle Shams told me several times that I must write at least "Letters" after thorough reading every edition of "Takhleeq" as a critic reader but as a "1st Flight of a Young Bird". I thought many times on it but was shy of doing so. You also know that I wrote my first letter to you about the death of Uncle Shams & it was also published in Januarys 2005 Edition. This has encouraged me to write. Sobia & me thought several times that we would request you for this oppurtunity to send us "Takhleeq" again on Monthly Basis. In the light of all above facts & your old relations with Uncle Shams, we both are requesting you to kindly add us in your mailing list for the "Monthly Takhleeq". Also please inform me about the subcription of yearly membership and any other official requirment. We hope that you will not turn down our humble request. My mailing address is: Sarmad Iqbal, Programm Coordinator, Center for Advanced Studies in Engineering (CASE), Sir Syed Memorial Building, 19-Attaturk Avenue, G-5/1, Islamabad. Mob.# ****-*******,Off # ***-*******, Ext-*** and ***. Anxiously waiting for a favorable reply. Humble regards, Sarmad Iqbal"
Name: Sarmad Iqbal
Email: sarmad@case.edu.pk
City, Country: Islamabad, Pakistan.

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UAF begins probe into attack on VC's house
Faisalabad: The University of Agriculture Faisalabad (UAF) administration initiated a probe into an attack on the house of the vice-chancellor by issuing a charge-sheet against 13 students of different hostels, sources said on Friday.

The probe against students has been started as the warden office, directorate of students' affairs and state department after two weeks of investigation have pointed out some firebrand boarders with some evidence.

A 10-member disciplinary advisory committee, comprising one professor from each faculty, will complete the probe within two weeks.

Hundreds of boarders attacked vice-chancellor Dr Iqrar Ahmed's house on the campus on the night between Oct 1 and 2 to press the university administration for the acceptance of their demands.

Protesters want relief for students belonging to flood-hit areas, payment of internship and admission to students having less than 3 CGPA to postgraduate courses.

They were also protesting delay in declaration of results and admissions to postgraduate courses, non-cooperation of sanitary, electricity and civil work staff and the "improper attitude of some teachers, hostel staffers, security guards and others".

On the complaint of security officer Nasir, the Civil Lines police had registered a case against some 25 unidentified students. Instead of arresting the accused student, the police deemed it fit to seal the FIR.Students also injured four constables when the police were called in, forcing the uniformed men to stay away from the furious mob.

Raising slogans against the university administration and the VC, using filthy language, damaging the university property, setting ablaze a security vehicle, pelting the VC's house with stones inflicting injuries to principal officer Dr Farooq Ahmed and misbehaving with the university faculty were the six charges leveled against the accused students in the charge-sheet.

Guilty students will be punished under Section 4 of the Student Discipline and Conduct Regulations 1978.

Sources said the inquiry committee had conducted its probe on Thursday and Friday and quizzed the accused students one by one. But, they said, the committee could expand its scope of investigation to other students as well.

To avert such incidents in future, the deans committee of the academia had decided in its meeting that various committees would be constituted to run the hostel affairs.

A university officer claimed that the vice-chancellor had issued directions to incumbents of the treasury office and endowment funds for the issuance of internship stipend to students.

Receiving of fee from students hailing from flood-hit areas have also been deferred and they were asked to continue their studies without any fear. A counseling center was also being set up for the solution of students' problems, he added.

He said the financial assistance of donor agencies were being requested for the construction of hostels that would lessen the burden of boarders from 18 university hostels.

He said five new hostels were under-construction on Jhang Road and one of them had been handed over to the university administration.

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BoGs in 26 colleges: LHC suspends govt notification
Multan: Lahore High Court's Multan bench on Friday suspended a notification of the Punjab government regarding formation of boards of governors in 26 colleges of the province.

The court also suspended transfer orders of six protesting teachers issued by the Punjab higher education secretary on Oct 8.

Justice Mian Shahid Iqbal suspended the notification issued by Governor Salmaan Taseer on Aug 31 regarding formation of boards of governors in 26 colleges of Punjab.

The writ petition was filed by Punjab Professors and Lecturers Association general secretary Tanveer Ahmad Shah, Sajid Hussain, Salahuddin, Niyaz Qureshi, Rana Dilshad and Shamshad Tirmizi against the formation of boards of governors and their transfers.

The petitioners' counsel Sheikh Jamshed Hayat said the boards of governors were formed under Section 8(d) of the Institutions and Training Centres Ordinance 1960, which was replaced by the Services Act of 1970. He told the court that the protesting teachers had been transferred to colleges of Attock and Jhang that were not being run by the boards of governors. Dawn

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PU magazine
Lahore: A speacial meeting of the Editorial Board of the Punjab University's magazine Mehwar was held on Friday to finalise arrangements for publication of 50-year Golden Jubilee number of the magazine which would be brought out in December. Punjab University (PU) Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Mujahid Kamran chaired a meeting while members of the Editorial Board, including Atta-ul Haq-Qasmi, Amjad Islam Amjad, Dr Ajmal Niazi, Safdar Saleem Sial, Saleem Mansoor Khalid and Seemab Fur Bukhari, attended the meeting. The meeting discussed various proposals with regard to publication of special golden jubilee number of the magazine and was informed that members of the Editorial Board had already given final touches to selection of articles, poetry, humorous writings which appeared in the Mehwar since its inception in 1959.

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Research stressed
Lahore: University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences (UVAS) Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Muhammad Nawaz has urged the newly-admitted students to devote themselves to acquire research oriented knowledge to earn high place of honour. Addressing postgraduate students at a concluding ceremony on Student Orientation Programme on Friday, he added UVAS was the only university in Pakistan which was conducting online examination to maintain the process of transparency, said a press release.

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School of Tomorrow moot on Nov 5
Lahore: The Beaconhouse Group is hosting a two-day international conference "School of Tomorrow: Freedom to Learn" starting from November 5 to discuss the future of schools in Pakistan.

This was stated by Chairperson of Beaconhouse and leading educationist Nasreen Mahmud Kasuri while addressing a press conference at a local hotel on Thursday. Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Beaconhouse School System (BSS) Kasim Kasuri, Director Studies Roohi Haq and Manager Career Guidance Afsa Babar were also present.

Terming deteriorating standard of education and lack of opportunities biggest challenges faced by country, Kasuri said the conference would be a great help for the government as well as private sector, as a number of local and foreign researchers would talk about future of education.

She further said conference was being held on completion of 35 years of Beaconhouse, adding it would bring together scholars, educationists, classroom practitioners, policymakers and experienced professionals to discuss educational challenges of the future. Besides Pakistan, delegates from UK, USA, New Zealand and India will attend the conference, she added.

Mrs Kasuri also highlighted a role of media, saying it should initiate debate over this crucial issue, adding unfortunately media was ignoring this issue.

Kasim Kasuri also talked about the upcoming conference and termed it an opportunity to find out solutions to challenges being faced by public and private schools in country.

Speaking on the occasion, Roohi Haq explained themes of conference which included Power of Diversity: New Ways of Teaching and Learning, Teacher Education for Sustainable Development, Reframing Early Childhood Education and Changing Education: Leadership, Innovation and Development. Afsa Babar briefed the mediapersons about participating speakers of the conference. The news

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