Historical tale of Empress Bridge captured in ‘Anwasi’

A non-fictional novel by Hafeez Khan launched at RAC


DNA September 02, 2019
The usage of words in Urdu literature reflects soft and elegant lifestyle, which has gradually faded away into history, says Taimur Rehman of the band 'Laal'.

RAWALPINDI: A novel about the construction of the historic Empress Bridge over the Sutlej River in the late nineteenth century, “Anwasi” has been launched at the Rawalpindi Arts Council (RAC).

The historical novel has been written by Tamgha-e-Imtiaz winning critic, playwright, historian, columnist, short-story writer and intellectual Hafeez Khan.

The book launch ceremony was presided over by poet Iftikhar Arif and novelist Khalid Fateh. Senior poet and intellectual Professor Jalil Aali was the guest of honour. Other speakers included Dr Sheraz Dasti, Dr Humaira Ishfaq, Shoib Khaliq, Dr Bibi Ameena, RAC Deputy Director Sajjad Hussain and Munir Fayyaz.

Hafeez explained that Anawasi is a historical novel that recounts the construction of the famed bridge over the Sutlej River in the late nineteenth century.  On one hand, it represents the colonial methods of forceful violent actions, on the other hand, it showcases the moral decline of a defeated community of the Aadam Wahn village located on the banks of the Sutlej.

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He insisted that the tale narrated in the book is true and based on historical accounts.

The novel is unique in its style as it not only uses Seraiki words and phrases but also presents images of the nineteenth-century Waseb.

The central character is Sangri who adds some feministic streams to the work.

Arif said that Hafeez enjoyed a prominent place in Urdu literature and his new novel offers a forgotten reflection of the society of that era.

Novelist Fateh said that the novel presented psychological issues skillfully. Prof Aali was of the view that Anwasi is a standard novel.

A large number of literary figures attended the ceremony and termed it memorable.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 2nd, 2019.

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