Kasur city is lucky to have Dr. Muhammad Riaz Anjum as the custodian of its literary potential.
Interview by Fraaz Mahmud Kasuri
Dr. Muhammad Riaz Anjum is simultaneously a researcher, a journalist, a poet, a writer, a critic, a translator, a historian and an educator. He has a keen eye on the history of Kasur as he has been doing scholarly and literary services to Kasur for last twenty three years. He has got many awards including ‘The Best Book Award’ from the Government of Punjab. In order to admit his services about the history of Kasur, the District Government Kasur had endorsed the award like Baba-e-Kasur for him in December 2015 which was awarded to him by Bulleh Shah Adbi Sangat Kasur. Many influential personalities of our beloved country Pakistan have rewarded him with some wonderful titles such as: ‘Columbus of Kasur’ by Prof. Ehsan Elahi Nawak, ‘Historian of Kasur’ by Nawabzada Sultan Ali Haider Khan Kasuria, ‘Bright Star of Kasur’ by AD Taseer, ‘Son of Kasur’ by Nawabzada Sultan Ali Hussain Khan Kasuria, ‘Pride of Kasur’ by Iqbal Qaiser, Fakh-r-Kasur byProf. Zafar Mansoor, Baba e Kasur by Abdul Razzaq Mohsin, Kasur ka Ultrasound by Allama Abdul Sattar Asim, Rustam e Kasur by Zia Sabri, ‘Father of Kasur’s History’ by Prof. Mohammad Nadeem, ‘Kasur’s Encyclopedia’ by Muhammad Sajid.
Moreover, poets have also paid tribute to him and given him the honour by using beautiful words for him such as:
In the words of Professor Munawar Ghani:
Riaz Anjum is that soul who always be remembered,
Evils, Hurdles, prejudice before him, all surrendered.
According to Muhammad Abbas Sauz:
کسی تحقیق،کسی کھوج میں جو گم ہوگا
وہ ریاض انجمنِ حرف کا انجم ہو گا
In the opinion of Yaqoob Parwaz:
اما نت دار تاریخِ ادب کا ، فہم ودانش کا
نگاہِ دُوربیں میں آنکھ والا ہے ریاض انجم
Muhammad Sharif Anjum says:
نِکی عمرتے کم نیں بوہت وڈے بَھیڑی نظرتوں رب محفوظ رکھے
جیہڑے کم نوں انجم نے ہتھ پایا لا جواب کیتا بے مثال کیتا۔
Q. Tell us something about you and your literary work?
A. My parents were the residential of Ferozpur [India]. At the time of partition, they migrated from India to Kasur. Here I was born on July 04, 1976. After getting education, I got associated with teaching which is a prophetic profession. Now-a-days, I am serving as an educator in the Education department of Punjab. In the last decade of 20th century, I began taking part in literary and journalistic activities. I am performing scholarly and literary services about the history of Kasur in languages like Urdu, Punjabi and English. So far, I have published 20 books on various aspects of Kasur.
Q .How did you got the idea of writing about Kasur and why are you called Baba-e-Kasur?
A .When I got the chance to sit in literary and academic circles, I also came in contact with libraries. One day, while visiting the personal library of Professor Ikram Hoshiyarpuri, I saw a book about the history of Lahore there. That time, I made it my aim to write about my District Kasur. I thought that instead of writing only one book by making chapters in it and adding a few famous personalities in it, I should give every chapter the shape of a book and so did I. Allah Almighty, being so kind, blessed me with success. My following books have earned big success after being publishing:
1۔ادبی تاریخ ضلع قصور 2۔ادبی ڈائریکٹری ضلع قصور
3۔قصرنام قصورہے 4۔سیاسی تاریخ ضلع قصور
5۔ قصور ضلعے دےکتاب لیکھک 6۔قصورماضی وحال
7۔برصغیردیاں تحریکاں وچ قصور دا حصہ
Due to these scholarly and literary services, Bulleh Shah Adbi Sangat Kasur on the basis of one of its resolution gave me the title of Baba-e-Kasur in 2015 that was endorsed by District Government of Kasur in December 2015. That is why, I am called ‘Baba-e-Kasur’.
Q .How many books you have published till now?
A .My twenty books have been published which are:
1۔ادبی تاریخ ضلع قصور(2002ء)
2۔ادبی ڈائریکٹری ضلع قصور(2003ء)
3۔شہید کربلا از ہمدم (2005ء)
4۔بُلھا !کیہ جاناں میں کون (2006ء)
6۔سیاسی تاریخ ضلع قصور(2009ء)
7۔ قصور ضلعے دےکتاب لیکھک (2010 ء)
8۔شاہ نامہ اسلام ہمدم (2012 ء)
9۔زبانِ غالب کا لسانی وساختیاتی مطالعہ(2013 ء)
10۔خوش بُو کے امین (2014 ء)
11۔۔قصورماضی وحال (2015 ء)
12۔سوکھے درخت اور زردپتے (2017 ء)
13۔مسٹر اُردو(2018 ء)
14۔علامہ مہرمحمد خان ہمدم (احوال وآثار،2018ء)
15۔مقصود حسنی کا افسانوی ادب(2018ء)
16۔مقصود حسنی کےمزاحیے(2019ء)
17۔جاپانی کا لسانیاتی نظام اوربول چال(2019ء)
18۔ برصغیردیاں تحریکاں وچ قصور دا حصہ(2020ء)
19۔گورنمنٹ اسلامیہ ہائی سکول قصور(تاریخ کے آئینے میں،2020ء)
20۔جہت مطالعات کا نیا تناظر(2021ء)
Q .What do you think about the future of Punjabi literature?
A. Disappointment and hopelessness are sins but no flash of hope seems to appear in the near future. The main reason of failure is the establishment of groups. The contractors sitting in the hubs use the innocent and simple writers for their purpose and when any influential person voices for the development of Punjabi language, these contractors make an issue of script and in this way the chance is lost. Unity and unanimity are the basic necessities for the bright future of Punjabi. On January 24, 2008, the Education Department of Punjab asked for the applications for the promotion of S.S.Ts. In the notification, there was only one condition: “Whosoever has passed M.A/M.Sc in any subject (except Punjabi)”, on February 20, 2008, I informed the great personalities of Punjabi through a brief letter quoting:
“A game is being played with the students of M.A Punjabi in Punjab. If we do not awake now, we shall not be able to find Punjabi readers in the near future even if we try to find them. I am sending the copies of notification as a proof. If you can do something?”
On February 29, 2008, Shafqat Tanveer Mirza [late] wrote a column in ‘Daily Dawn’ with the title, “Language of a Lesser Mother”; but all in vain because it had no effect on the authorities. Despite this, I am still hopeful that one day Punjabi language will regain its original status.
Q .What are your services for Punjabi other than Kasur?
A. I have started three major projects:
1. Punjabi Adbi Dunya (Information about Punjabi poets and writers of the whole world)
2. Punjabi Shayeran Tay Adeeban da Encyclopedia (Pakistani Poets & Writers)
3. Punjab vich Punjabi (History of Punjabi Literature)
Q .Since when you have been a poet and why your poetry collection is not published still?
A. My literary journey started from research. I started with a Punjabi Naat in the first decade of 21st century. My first Naat was published in June 2001 in Muhammad Iqbal Zakhmi’s monthly Likhari Lahore [Jild:13, Edition: 6]. But my passion of research took all my attention towards research, criticism, history, journalism and compilation. Then in the beginning of the 2nd decade of 21st century, I started regular practice of poetry by acting upon the advice of Abdul Razaq Mohsin [Punjabi poet, my neighbor]. I got the instructions of Punjabi expression from Muhammad Sharif Anjum and got my Azad poem’s [both Urdu and Punjabi] correction from Maqsood Hasni. The Punjabi poetry collection “جیون گلاں” will also be published in near future. [God Willingly].
Q .What do you mean by Muhammad Riaz Anjum as Maqsood Hasni Shnas?
A. My first encounter with Professor Maqsood Hasni happened in 1994. His son Kanwar Abbas was my class-fellow in Government Islamia College Kasur Who was famous as Bobby. Professor Hasni was serving as a teacher of Urdu in that college. I often met him there. I used to write a column in weekly “Fakhar-e-Kasur”, Kasur with a title “Fakhar-e-Kasur” and I also wrote about the literary and academic services of Maqsood Hasni in it on January 18, 2000. After that we had offhand meetings for almost one decade. I had frequent communication with him from 2011 to 2014. I did the following work with him during that time:
2۔زبانِ غالب کا لسانی وساختیاتی مطالعہ
In the beginning of 2015, the District Government of Kasur gave me an assignment to write the history of Kasur. This lessened my communication with him. One day in the end of 2017, he called me and expressed a desire to compile his works. As a result of which, the following books came into appearance:
1۔مقصود حسنی کا افسانوی ادب
2۔مقصود حسنی کےمزاحیے
3۔جاپان کا لسانیاتی نظام اوربول چال (رومن اُردو)
The work done about Maqsood Hasni [1951-2019] is appreciated by highly educated and intelligent people. Some of the response are given as:
Professor Dr. Akhtar Shumar:
Maqsood Hasni is lucky enough that he has got an intelligent and hardworking friend like Dr. Muhammad Riaz Anjum who is his well-wisher and companion in publishing and compiling his work.
Professor Dr. Tabassam Kashmeri:
Riaz Anjum deserves to be appreciated because he has started publishing the work of Maqsood Hasni.
Professor Dr. Ghulam Shabir Rana:
He has named Mr Hasni as a Dabistan ((دبستان:
1۔علم ہے نافع مگر قاری ہیں اکثر بے خبر
قصور میں کھولا دبستان ریاض نے سب سے جُدا
He also write that Dr. Riaz Anjum has the relation of affection and respect with Maqsood Hasni. This relation is similar to that which was of Molana Altaf Hussain Hali with Sir Syed Ahmed Khan in Ali Garh Movement.
Professor Dr. Muzafar Abbas:
Professor Maqsood Hasni is lucky enough to have a Hali like Sir Syed Ahmed Khan had in the form of Dr. Riaz Anjum.
Keeping in view these literary and academic services, Dr. Gullam Shabir Rana wrote an essay with a title “محمد ریاض انجم بہ طور مقصود حسنی شناس“ which is available on Hamari website and Urdu Net Japan.
Q. Tell us something about the establishment of Bulleh Shah Adbi Chopal and Kasur Arts Counsil?
A. The foundation of Kasur Arts Council and Bulleh Shah Adbi Chopal is my beautiful dream for litterateurs, poets and the youth of Kasur which seems to be true in the near future.
Bulleh Shah Adbi Chopal:
On June 13, 2017, I sent a news to the newspapers of the beloved country Pakistan for the establishment of Bulleh Shah Adbi Chopal for poets and litterateurs in Kasur Garden [Steel Bagh] on the model of Nasir Bagh Lahore which was published in June 14, 2017.
On June 18, 2017 on Sunday, a meeting of Bulleh Shah Adbi Sangat was held under my presidency in which I presented a resolution about the establishment of Bulleh Shah Adbi Chopal in District Kasur which was passed by the majority present in the meeting.
Writers Association Lahore, District Union of Journalists, Press Club Mustafa Abad [lalyani], etc. showed unity with my resolution and fully supported my demand.
On October 05 2020, I wrote an application to District Government of Kasur for the establishment of Bulleh Shah Adbi Chopal, which was passed by the DCO Kasur and he demanded the expenses [Diary no. Ps-752/06-10-2020] from DDD Kasur that he sent to Chief Officer Municipal Corporation on May 24, 2021[Diary no. DD(Dev)KSR/4-4-Complaint/2021/274] and ordered him to admit the feasibility report within three days positively. This application was registered in the office of CO, MC Kasur on May 29, 2021 [Diary No.880-CO]. Chief Officer forwarded it to XEN and XEN forwarded it to the engineer .The engineer, after survey made a report of expenses of Rs.21,00,000/- with 5% P.S.T for a hall [40*25], a washroom and a kitchen and submitted it for approval. The Chief Officer asked MO (F) for the budget report on June 17, 2021.
Kasur Arts Council:
I posted first application to the Executive Director Punjab Arts Council, Lahore for the establishment of Kasur Arts Council on May 24, 2021 but there was no response. I posted second application on June 17, 2021. On May 25, 2021, I sent a news to the newspapers of the beloved country Pakistan about the establishment of Kasur Arts Council which was published on June 26, 2021.
On June 04, 2021 on Friday, a meeting of Bulleh Shah Adbi Sangat (Regd.) was held under my presidency in which I presented a resolution for the establishment of Kasur Arts Council in Kasur to which majority agreed and passed it with unity.
On June 05 2021, I started a signatory campaign for the establishment of Kasur Arts Council and I did provisional visits not only in Kasur but also in other parts of Punjab [where people of Kasur are living] and got full support of many distinguished personalities belonging to different walks of life.
On August 03, 2021, Director of Punjab Arts Council demanded 12 acres state land for the building of Kasur Arts Council from District Government of Kasur.
Appreciating the work of Director Punjab Arts Council, I sent a news to the newspapers of the beloved country Pakistan about the demand of land be fulfilled as early as possible from of District Government of Kasur which was published on August 11,2021.
Q .Any piece of advice for young poets and litterateurs?
A. It is clear like a bright day that a poet and litterateur is a reflection of his age and represents it. He not only draws a picture of his age but also makes history. In my opinion, there are three things which can help him in walking forward steadily and making progress.
1 .Study or reading
4. One more thing that is very important is to come out of the shell of one’s self. It is necessary for a poet and litterateur to do his work with complete solidarity, true love and focus. It is my belief that a writer’s status and quality will be designed by his work and time automatically.