A literary and cultural magazine, Arzhang, published by the Arts Council of Pakistan was launched on its premises on Tuesday.
Speaking on the occasion, poetess Zehra Nigah said she had seen many magazines and journals see the light of day and disappear into nothingness, which meant it was difficult to keep the quality of a magazine intact. She said she knew what the late Ahmed Nadim Qasmi had to go through to publishFunoon on a regular basis. She congratulated the Arts Council for undertaking such an important task.
Writer Hasina Moin, who is the editor of the magazine, said sometime back Ahmed Shah had come up with the proposition of bringing out a magazine for which he requested her and Prof Sahar Ansari to edit it. She said it was a difficult job but along the way she and Prof Ansari (chief editor) were helped by individuals such as Mubin Mirza.
She said she had to knock at many doors to request writers and poets to write for the publication; and in some cases sought permission of those who weren’t willing to write to print some of their old material. Gradually, she said, she gathered pieces which were later on handed over to Mubin Mirza. She said it was Prof Ansari who suggested the name Arzhang to which all others agreed.
She said the magazine contained not just literary pieces (short stories, a selection of Mir’s ghazals), but also had essays on other genres of art. They were not only useful for the contemporary reader but for generations to come, she added.
Writer Zahida Hina said if it had not been for Prof Ansari, the name Arzhangwould not have been given to the publication. She said Arzhang was the name of the nigar khana of the famous painter Mani. It was also a book, she said, which he had written on the genesis of the world. She said Prof Ansari was able to revive something which existed centuries ago. She touched upon the different writers’ works included in the book and especially mentioned two write-ups, one by Ambreen Hasib Ambar on Bollywood and the other by Razi Mujtaba on Paris.
Actor Munawwar Saeed said the magazine contained both cultural and literary materials. He told the attendees that Arzhang was the name of a Chinese painter.
Writer Mubin Mirza gave Ahmed Shah, Hasina Moin and Prof Ansari credit for publishing the magazine. He said he could see an ‘integrated vision’ behind the publication.
Writer Anwar Maqsood, in his trademark humorous style, first took a jibe at the two editors, who were not there (Hasina Moin arrived late because she was stuck in traffic). He then joked about the name of the magazine saying he was sure that even the Chinese parents of the child Arzhang wouldn’t know what the name meant.
Writer Asad Mohammad Khan said the Arts Council had become an example for other institutions in the country to follow. He said the magazine was a quality document which would enable the works of great writers to be preserved for future generations.
Eminent satirist Mushtaq Ahmed Yousufi was also sitting next to the speakers. Ahmed Shah hosted the event.