On the (book)shelf

Titles available at Books n Beans (Lahore) or through www.vanguardbooks.com

End of the Past: An Immediate Eyewitness History of a Troubled Nation
Nadeem Farooq Paracha
Vanguard Publishers (2016)

The book, End of the past, is a documentation of how the consequences of various ideological experiments over the last many decades in Pakistan seeped into the soul of the country, insulating future generations from the world and causing them to experience the worst kind of identity crisis. Paracha began his journalistic career as a reporter in 1990. He has been associated with Pakistan’s largest English language daily, Dawn, and its website, Dawn.com, as a columnist for over a decade now, and has a large readership in Pakistan, and among the South Asian diaspora in Europe and the United States. NFP’s observations and pithy prose - weaving in personal stories - stems from growing up as the son of a journalist and someone who eventually found a voice of his own as one of Pakistan’s leading cultural critics and satirists.

Nadeem F. Paracha is a Pakistani journalist, author and cultural critic. He writes a column in the Dawn newspaper under the title Smokers’ Corner.

The Murder of History: A Critique of History Textbooks Used in Pakistan
K. K. Aziz
Vanguard Publishers (1993)

In this volume, Aziz sets out to correct the injustice that has been committed in Pakistan ever since its creation, and still continues. The history text books in the country have been woefully distorted for political ends. In this book, he has critiqued and provided the corrections for 66 text books being taught in the Social Studies, Pakistan Studies and History disciplines to students from grades 1 to 14. It s indeed a courageous effort that unfortunately went unnoticed in his time. But then again, according to Aziz, he wrote this for posterity after all.
Khursheed Kamal Aziz, better known as K. K. Aziz, was a historian.

The Pakistan Anti-Hero: History of Pakistani nationalism through the lives of iconoclasts
Nadeem Farooq Paracha
Vanguard Publishers (2017)

In The Pakistan Anti-Hero, Paracha further explores the political and social evolution of Pakistan’s polity which he first investigated in his best-selling debut, End of the Past.

He expands this investigation by closely tracking the country’s social and political trajectory through the lives of ‘anti-heroes’ – or those men and women whose place in history has transcended model heroic characteristics.
From digging deeper into the psyches and histories of well-known men and women, to looking closer at the lives of those who have only briefly been explored, Paracha surveys the lives of scholars, ideologues, sportsmen, authors, politicians, militants, actors and even some obscure personalities that he met as a young man and then as a journalist.

He cuts through the mainstream historical accounts of certain famous as well as notorious figures to study them in a more detached and yet empathetic manner to gain a starker understanding of a nation which has continued to develop through multiple existential crisis.

Nadeem F. Paracha is a Pakistani journalist, author and cultural critic. He writes a column in the Dawn newspaper under the title Smokers’ Corner.

Points of Entry: Encounters at the Origin Sites of Pakistan
Nadeem Farooq Paracha
Tranquebar (2018)

Pakistan is more than the sum of its news-making parts. In these marvellous essays on history, politics and society, cultural critic Nadeem Farooq Paracha upturns various reductive readings of the country by revealing its multi-layered reality. With wit and insight, he investigates past events and their implications for modern-day society. Thus, one piece explores how and why Mohenjo-daro has been neglected as a historical site, and another examines how Muhammad-bin-Qasim, who briefly invaded Sindh in 713 CE, has come to be lionised as the original founder of Pakistan. There is a story about a Pakistani Jimi Hendrix who plays the guitar like a dream and also one about a medieval emperor who lives on in the swear words of a Punjabi peasant. There are essays on Pakistani pop music, on Afro-Pakistanis and on how Jhuley Lal came to be more than just a folk deity for Sindhi immigrants in India. Points of Entry examines the constant struggle between two distinct tendencies in Pakistani civic-nationalism—one modernist, the other theocratic—and the complex society it has birthed.

Layered and powerful, Paracha’s writing takes you beyond the fundamentalist mobs and the bazaar bomb blasts, the usual clichés, to present a nuanced picture of a complex nation caught, as the book flap suggests, between the modernist impulse and the theocratic one.

Nadeem F. Paracha is a Pakistani journalist, author and cultural critic. He writes a column in the Dawn newspaper under the title Smokers’ Corner.

Being Pakistani: Society, Culture and the Arts
Raza Rumi
HarperCollins Publishers India (2018)

How different is Pakistan’s culture from that of India? Exploring various aspects of the arts, literature and heritage of Pakistan, Raza Rumi argues that culture in Pakistan is not particularly unique to the nation, but rather a part of the cultural identities shared by South Asians. From the songs of Kabir and the ballads of Bulleh Shah to the cult of the feminine in the Sindh region, Rumi takes a kaleidoscopic view of the deep-set cultural mores that tie India and Pakistan together. Going further, he examines aspects of the visual arts, poetry, music and literature of Pakistan that impact global cultural narratives. Finally, he introduces readers to contemporary Pakistani writers and artists and the milieu in which they express their creativity, giving us a fascinating glimpse into cultural productions in Pakistan today. Being Pakistani is a riveting account of artistic traditions and their significance in present-day Pakistan, presenting an alternative view of the country, beyond the usual headlines that focus on political instability and terrorism.

Raza Ahmad Rumi is a Pakistani policy analyst, journalist and an author. Currently, he is the editor of Daily Times. He is Visiting Faculty at Cornell Institute for Public Affairs and has taught at Ithaca College and New York University. Rumi has been a fellow at United States Institute for Peace and National Endowment for Democracy. Earlier, he worked for the Asian Development Bank as a Governance Specialist and an officer in the Pakistan Administrative Service. Rumi is the author of Delhi by Heart: Impressions of a Pakistani Traveller, The Fractious Path: Pakistan’s Democratic Transition and Identity and Faith and Conflict.