Sunday, May 26

A review of Anjani Rahoon Ka Musafir

Reviewer: Mazhar Iqbal Mazhar

“Anjani Rahoon Ka Musafir” is the first published work by Imanat Ali. The book was recently published by Press for Peace Foundation (UK). As it is a travelog, the title of the book shows the cultural colors of Kenya and Turkey. The language is simple and the text is free of errors.

Whenever I read a travelogue, my imagination goes to the great travelers and authors. Who else could describe the travel stories of African and Eurasian countries better than Ibn Battuta and Baptista?

Yet, there is a symbolic relationship between ancient and modern travel writers. Whether the travel destination is the holy land of Mecca or the charismatic African countries, the authors of those mesmerizing accounts are not just concerned with the scenery or events; they are also interested in describing the journey of their own feelings while going through foreign lands.

If you read the travel stories of most enchanted and historic lands in the talismanic Asian destinations or the glittering coastal cities of Europe, many of those travel writers themselves are the liveliest characters of these adventures.

There are many travelogs in Urdu in which travelers (writers) have not only expressed their opinions and feelings openly and frankly, but also compared their host countries with their homeland. In most cases, they do this from the perspective of a sightseer.

And this is what makes this travelog of Imanat Ali so distinguished that he has made intentional attempts to make open and candid comparisons. He compares the tourist attractions of the visiting countries with the ones in his own country as a reformist.

Imanat Ali’s pen does not make comparisons for the sake of comparison but to learn and change. He must have cried the pain that rises in the hearts of every patriotic citizen of his country that visits abroad just to see things through the prism of experience.

The author has honestly stated in the “Foreword” the real reason for writing the travelogue. He believes that the visit to beautiful and historical places should not be taken as a holiday stopover but should be done to learn something from there.

Imanat Ali writes that his purpose is neither to narrate travel stories nor to entertain with interesting anecdotes but to learn from experience and bring about positive change in life.

The first part of this travelogue is written under the title of Ataturk’s Turkey. In which the cultural heritage of Turkey is also mentioned.

After a detailed description of the preparation for the trip to Turkey managed by the Qasim Ali Shah Foundation, the author takes us to Istanbul and begins to explore the history of the Ottoman Empire itself.

While roaming in the cities of foreign lands, his heart constantly cries over the neglect of the tourist places of his beloved country.

The author has taken special care to make the text attractive, effective, and interesting despite the historical references. He has described the tour of the Blue Mosque and the historical building Aya Sofia in a very interesting paragraph.

The author’s knowledge of the historical places of the visiting courtiers is also commendable. With reference to Maulana Jalal-ud-Din Rumi, he has used particular Sufi terms such as the caravan leader of love, mentor of love, and city of Sufism. All such references give depth and meaning to this travelogue.

The visit to the tomb of this great person buried in Konya and the description of the impressions connected with it shows that the author has not only academic and literary taste but also a good eye. Despite the melodious sound of Turkish music and flute, Konya city seems to the author to be surrounded by spirituality.

After traveling in Istanbul and the suburbs, the author along with his caravan arrives at the shrine of Hazrat Abu Ayub Ansari.

The first part of the journey comes to an end after a rich tour of the Aya (Hagia) Sophia Grand Mosque, which is one of the top cultural and historical places in Istanbul, Turkey. The author’s account of Sophia and Sufi poets is interesting.

The second part of the travelogue covers the author’s 17-day visit to Kenya. Since the author belongs to the teaching profession, he is very careful to explain his words with details of context, lessons, and reasons.

The author is seen in many places as an analyst, critic, and social leader. Since he mentioned in the beginning that he was traveling because of his connection with the social service sector, he did not have any difficulty in speaking his mind.

Before reaching Nairobi, the reader gets a good idea of ​​the purpose and goal of the journey of the author with a strong desire for social service and reform.

There is an element of painful realization of the lack of public awareness of the importance of cleanliness and respect for public property.

It would not be wrong to say that Imanat Ali’s travelog is a description of the scattered life around us.

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