Pakistan embassy publishes book on Chinese poetry


The Embassy of Pakistan in Beijing has published The Call of the Trumpet, an anthology of early twentieth-century Chinese poetry translated into English by late Ahmed Ali, Pakistan’s first envoy (Chargé d’Affaires) to the People’s Republic of China.
Ahmed Ali was a man of many talents. A scholar, a writer, a poet, a diplomat par excellence, an art collector of exquisite taste, Ahmed Ali was the original ‘Sinologist’ – a man ahead of his time who, tasked with opening Pakistan’s embassy in Beijing in 1951, knew that the founding of ‘New China’ in 1949 marked a turning point in modern history.
Ahmed Ali’s association with China in fact predated his diplomatic assignment. He had been a Visiting Professor of English for the British Council at Nanjing Central University in 1946.
It was here that he witnessed the first stirrings of the revolution that culminated in the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949. As one of the founding figures of South Asia’s own “Progressive Writers’ Movement”, Ahmed Ali developed an interest in the work of revolutionary Chinese poets and took to translating their works into English. Nanjing had, of course, been the scene of some of the worst atrocities during the Second World War.
Ahmed Ali saw firsthand the pain and suffering of the Chinese people, and came to share their yearning for peace and freedom. It is this heartfelt feeling for China and Chinese people that runs through his meticulous rendition of Chinese poetry, and made him the obvious choice for Pakistan’s first envoy to China.
A complete volume of Ahmed Ali’s work on Chinese poetry had not been published previously. It only became possible now after Ahmed Ali’s son, Orooj Ahmed Ali, approached the Embassy with the idea of publishing his father’s anthology of translated Chinese poems.
The Call of the Trumpet is a fitting tribute to its author and his lifelong passion: forging an enduring and everlasting friendship between Pakistan and China.


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