“I am looking forward to your writers getting published in India and ours in Pakistan,” said Narendra Kumar, while speaking at the launching ceremony of “Memoirs: The untold story of India’s oldest Muslim industrial family”, a robust narrative which collectively tells Humayun Naseer Sheikh’s stories, as well as a few about Pakistan.
Kumar is an internationally known personality when it comes to the business of books. He has been lauded as being a living legend by the Washington Post and has been a great educationist, one that has a network of schools, i.e. Delhi Public Schools, which caters to over 400,000 students.
At the event Kumar added his own flavour to that of the book by sharing his own memories and experiences linked with the author. He said he was delighted to be present in the literary capital of the sub-continent and was of the view that writers from both the countries can play a positive role in fostering relations and building harmony. He expressed a deep interest in returning to Pakistan and visiting his hometown Dera Ghazi Khan.
Shahid Malik, ex high commissioner of Pakistan in India, and a friend of the author, was the chief guest of the event. He spoke at length about his relation with the author’s family. He talked about their business in Pakistan and overseas. He recalled how Humayun Sheikh had once had to sell carpets in the streets of London like a hawker, and he is now one of the leading names in the textile industry in Pakistan.
Malik recommended the industrial and corporate sector of the country to read Sheikh’s inspirational story in order to get glimpses of the author’s life. The chief guest lauded the services made by a ‘non-writer’ in the realm of fiction. The author presented his story in a humours and light style that provides the reader a great deal of amusement.
Malik had his own stories to tell at the event from a time when he was posted in Delhi. He told the participants that he had to go to the event of a book launch on the very first day of his appointment in Delhi. He also shared with the audience that in the very last week of his posting he had the pleasure to go to the book launch of the legendry late Khushwant Singh. The experience left a sweet imprint on his mind which he remembers even today.
There should be a strong commitment that folks from both countries enjoy good relations at the people to people level, like this event, he said. He termed the literature festivals of Jaipur, Kolkata, Lahore and Islamabad as would be game changers that could help foster Indo-Pak relations.
Aalia Manoo, the daughter of the author who helped her father in drafting the initial draft of the book also spoke on the occasion and paid rich tribute to her father as a writer and mentor. She described him the best father and friend with a great sense of humour, and someone who had an innovative mind in the field of business.
In the end, author talked about his maiden book that starts with short stories and ends with a family chronicle. He termed the launching of the book a great moment as the book was written in Pakistan and got published in India. He paid his gratitude to the participants and the publisher and ended with a wish that peace be given a chance.
Former foreign minister Khursheed Mahmood Qasuri, Mian Imran Masood, Begum Zakiya Shahnawaz, Mian Muhammad Mansha, Nayyar Ali Dada, and Arif Nizami also attended the event.
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