Moulach by Dr Saghir – A Pahari novel deeply immersed in our Local traditions

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Prof Khalid Akbar
Pahari is an ancient language belonging to the Indo-Aryan family of languages. It is spoken in Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and some areas of Pakistan. According to statistics, there are more than four million speakers of this language in Jammu and Kashmir. It is the largest south Asian language in Great Britain. To the minimum, it is the medium of expression of more than ten million Kashmiri inhabitants living in the United Kingdom. The author of this novel underviewed is Dr. Muhammad Saghir khan – a professor of Urdu, currently serving as a principal at Govt.Model Science College Rawalakot. Over the years, he has proven himself as a great scholar and widely published writer of Pahari language and literature ranging from research articles to literature, chiefly in fiction. Therefore? his role in documenting and resurrecting a marginalized vernacular- Pahari is key and paramount .It is a language(uncodified) which has a little considerable written literary capital. Dr. Khan has already written and compiled the ‘ Folk Pahari Songs’, ‘ Pahari Proverbs’ and ‘Folk Tales’ of Pahari and ‘Sat Burga na Phul ‘ and so on; which are, in essence, a pretty unique and worthwhile endeavor.These volumes are great repertoire of research for the language scholars. However, the under reviewed offering is his first collection of Pahari novel. The title of the book – Moulach is symbolic, having deep connotations. The love story of Moulach mainly revolves around Young, Dalwar- a new employee in the bank of Muzaffarabad and the mysterious beautiful character of Tayaba who is also an employee and his village fellow serving in another bank. Basically, It is the fantastic story of one sided unreciprocated love shrouded in the veil of restrain and hard taboos supposed to be ended up in a happy wedding.However, as opposed to the mode of poetic justice,the story ends vice versa. Nevertheless, Moulach presents a spell bound story and keeps you enthralled until the last page. It leaves the reader reflective and wanting more.The main character Dalawar finds himself in a vortex following his first encounter with Tayyaba and Neelofur- both are bank employees and his colleagues. However, naturally he was attracted towards Tayyba who is more beautiful and has nice personal traits. Infatuated by Tayyba persona crazily.he feels inexplicable restless state of mind: ( He does not mind even the foul talking of others in those days.Perhaps, this state of mind is called love).He tenders his proposal asking for her hand. Yet, she keeps his offering lingering under one pretext or another :and all cosy bond between them ends up in a smoke.The most endearing character is of the mother who typically symbolises simplicity, innocence and purity- an erstwhile worthy mother who is sadly no more in existence.The learned novelist through this typical character imparts his didactic teachings.In one place as she advises her son: (May the hot winds not touch you; do take care of the people whom you are supposed to deal with. Do treat others with benevolence so that the same would be bestowed upon you). That conventional role of mother has dwindled now and been replaced by sophisticated mother in some different way. Presumably,the writer seeks to explore that old mother nostologicay in the characterization of the character of mother. The writer invests into her and also in the character of his sister, Rabia such ingenuity and veracity that a reader like me feel carried away and sometimes tears tend to roll down spontaneously. If literature is reflection of life as said by Mathew Arnold ?then Moulach reflects the pahari culture and civilisation in true spirit and letter.The local conventions wrapped in local terminology find full expression in this book. The use of figures of speech such as similes and metaphor forming beautiful imagery from the everyday use of pahari is innovative, making you see the world differently around you. The author sets the model example for the other writers of the region to come out from the oblivion and inferiority complex and contribute somehow in empowering our mother tongue which is historically much older than Urdu and Hindi. Mr. Khan, of course, is harbinger of the drive of resurrecting Phari by documenting and penning down different pieces of literary writing.He has demonstrated practically that our mother tongue has rich capacity to be the representative of all existing literary genres.Therefore, he experimented all forms of its literature by penning down almost half dozen books. To conclude I would say I have found this novella absolutely interesting and engrossing despite some technical gaps namely,its nonconformity to the unity of time and action.I started reading Moulach with great difficulty as I find myself hard to pronounce words whose meanings are saturated to the depth of my soul.However, after reading a chapter I found my natural flow and fluency. I was immediately drawn to the beautiful story of a self made character , Dalwar and Tayaba whose ordinary behaviour and mode of procedures, even their pure love, reflect our unique village culture and our time tested taboos. Dr saghir’s sincerity and commitment to the soil is above board. And, his undaunting efforts and role as a lone trumpet beater of pahari to stir and wake others deserve our high esteem and cheers! This book is published by kitaabnaghar Lahore and is available on local book stalls as well as kitaabnagr.com. The reviewer is an assistant professor and chairman of the English department at Boys Degree College Trarkhel Sudnohti

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