Book Review - Kashmakash

Kashmakash was launched on the 26th Nov. 2005, by the Deputy Prime Minister, Hon. Rashid Beebeejaun, in the presence of various dignitaries during the Eid Celebration festival held at the Droopnath Ramphul S.S.S. Souvenir and organised by Pamplemousses Triolet Muslim Association.

With the publication of his second book, Kashmakash (The Struggle), Farouq Rujul has put his name high in the history of Urdu Literature in Mauritius, cause that he has become the first Mauritian writer to have published two books in Urdu language. Besides, he has been the first to have written and produced a full length play, “Rishta”, in Urdu language

His first book ‘Aaina’ a satire was written with a touch of humour and sarcasm, in a successfully amusing way on some foolish established customs and mores of our society. Tragically, the book, Aaina, this piece of remarkable and outstanding creative writing, which has received its credence among many foreign Urdu Scholars, viz. Joginder Paul, Mirza Khonch, Shameem Hanafi, Shahid Mahuli, Dr. Zille Huma, to name but a few,  has been regarded with disdain by some local pseudo Urdu Scholars, who have themselves never produced anything worthy of note.

Kashmakash with an ‘Introduction’ by Mr. Aniff Caunhye. The author has come to present the texture and flavour of the modern Urdu short story, both as a daring experiment and as a more refined heir to the traditional form.

Kashmakash, with its 170 pages, succeeds remarkably in acquainting the uninformed outsider with a substantial amount of brilliant Urdu short fiction produced for the time in the history of Urdu in Mauritius. As a matter of fact, this collection goes much further in its highly informative and persuasively argued historical and critical introduction. Clearly, the book makes the recent Urdu short story eminently accessible to Urdu Lovers worldwide.

At the same time, and equally significantly, this anthology holds Urdu short fiction up to the scrutiny of Urdu readers and writers themselves, who can now see it in its surprisingly revealing and attractive form, much as “outsiders” and “foreigners” tend to see it.

To look at a familiar Urdu short story is to see it – at least momentarily – in all its freshness, to perceive its distinctiveness and achievement with greater clarity, and to experience its memorable effects again from unexpected angles.

This book has ten short stories, which are rated high among the short story writers of Urdu locally. The stories are based on his experiences and keen observation of life around him. They depict the life of Mauritian daily lives. Few are humorous and others satirical tale of true picture of rural life.

All the stories portray small and big problems of our lives, social and political phenomena with deep insight. This anthology will be appreciated by both critics and readers.

Book Review - Aaina


‘Aaina’ (The Mirror), the very title of the book clearly indicates what exactly the author, Mr. Farouq Rujul tries to impress upon the readers with sound observations based on his experiences and knowledge.
The book starts with:

Those who were boasting on their faith and duty
When shown to them the mirror, they got angry

and it has to be read honouring this plea.

At a time when everyone is faced with the most ever personal crisis of this centuries i.e. STRESS. ‘Aaina’ should make useful and relevant reading for Urdu Lovers. There may be lessons to draw from the author’s memories and reflections, which are replete with information and anecdotes of his experiences acquired over the years, conveying a scene of “déjà vu” or “déjà lu.” The memoirs are based on personal knowledge and observations of one who joined the realm of Urdu with an article written in the launching magazine of The National Urdu Institute in 1971. Having joined the educational sector as Primary Urdu Teacher to reach the level of Assistant Supervisor, he had that unique opportunity to be a player / witness to the events in the education sector from the inside, like looking to the storm through the eye of the storm itself. This explains the so many chapters related to education and learning / teaching process.

It seems to be authentic memoirs packed with information-factual-with a tinge of mysterious happenings here and there that sustains the interest of the reader. The most brilliant aspect of the memoirs is the wide spectrum covering the various topics starting from the National Flag, passing on the Speed Breaker, near the Zebra Crossing, directly to the Classroom situation, through the Studio of our National Radio and to land finally in Saudi Arabia for pilgrimage. However the description reveals the various aspects of the human nature also. This makes the narration appealing and instructive as well ‘Aaina’ according to Haniff Canhye, who wrote the introduction of the book, “ is full of information about the trivial and petty things of daily life.”

‘Aaina’ had been written with a touch of humour and at times with a degree of sarcasm, in a successfully amusing way just to show the foolishness of some established customs and mores, of our society.

The two characters viz. Altaf Nadeen Qaisar and Abdul Rahman Raheemi present throughout the whole book, sometimes pessimist and at times optimist depending on their mood, remind us strangely of the famous Birbal in the court of the Moghul Emperor and of Mulla Nashruddeen

From “Muft Khowr” (The Inconsiderate), the first one act play produced by him, at the Preliminaries in the first Urdu Drama Festival held in the year 1974, to ‘Rishta” the first ever Urdu full length play staged in Mauritius on the occasion of the 2dn Word Urdu conference, last year, Farouq Rujul has had no spare time in the propagation of Urdu language and Urdu culture, in the capacity of freelance at the Mauritius College of the Air, as Member of the Urdu Panel at the NCCRD and now as the President of the Urdu Drama Committee. He has proved himself to be a good short story writer and has written abundant one act plays and has won numerous prizes in this regard.

This book is apt to all level of readers, starting from the lower secondary students to the much more diehard readers. Scattered with verses of poetry makes perusal more interesting and the circumstances are related such that one can hardly avoid laughter.
In conclusion, I compliment the author for his noble and laudable efforts. A must-read for any Urdu Lover who wants to read for pleasure and for fun.

A Reader