Sunday, August 12, 2012

"Skeena" : Pakistan's Punjabi playwright Fauzia Rafique's debut English language novel

"Skeena" : Pakistani playwright Fauzia Rafique's debut English language novel 

Courageous Pakistani teenager Shamim Aftab's  real life story was presented by Pakistani television reporter Iqbal Husain in his documentary series "Such Ka Safar" (The Journey of Truth)

The character of Mona (played by Sandrine Bonnaire) in Agnes Varda's 1985 art film "Vagabond"  also reminds me of Skeena

This is Fauzia Rafique's first English language novel.  Fauzia Rafique is a Pakistani writer (now settled in Surrey, British Columbia, Canada) 

Ms. Rafique is known to Pakistanis for her brilliant Punjabi language screenplay (an adaptation of Fyodor Dostoevsky's novel "Poor Folk";  )  which was broadcast to national acclaim in the mid-1970's as a serialized teleplay (entitled "Aapay Ranjha Hoee") from the Lahore studios of Pakistan Television Corporation.

      Ms. Rafique's novel "Skeena"  is about a girl from a village in Punjab, Pakistan.  The main character is Skeena, the younger sister of an upper middle class feudal land owner (Bha). The novel begins in the post-1971 India-Pakistan war era when Skeena is learning to read and write in her village under strict supervision by Bha and Skeena' mom. Skeena' life journey unfolds further when she is shown as a young college girl living in Lahore's Ichhra-Shah Jamal Colony neighborhood in a 1980's Pakistan where the dictator General Zia ul Haq rules the populace with an iron hand. This is followed by Skeena's marriage and emigration to Canada where she spends a decade as a traditional Pakistani wife of a Pakistani-Canadian medical doctor in Toronto, Canada. Skeena's story terminates in the post-9/11 2001 days when other cataclysmic events engulf her in British Columbia, Canada.

       The novel is narrated in a calm, observant yet empathic tone and at times crescendos into gripping, high drama that takes your breath away.  Ms. Rafique recounts Skeena's story with utter candor and never strays from the path of realism in her account.

       This novel is available as a traditional format book as well as a Kindle electronic book from Amazon Fauzia+Rafique+Skeena&x=0&y=0

and can also be purchased as a Punjabi language version released for publication in 2007 in all major cities in Pakistan in traditional book format from Saanjh Publications, Lahore, Pakistan (Mr. Amjad Saleem, Tel. # 011 92 42 37355323; Email: ) .

    I read "Skeena" earlier this year and wrote the above post over the ensuing months as a review of sorts... my impressions after reading this moving novel by a Pakistani writer whom I have admired since my high school days in Lahore when I used to look forward to each episode of her teleplay "Aapay Ranjha Hoee."   

                              Bravo, Fauzia Rafique !!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Urdu Language Electronic Books and the Kindle e-Book Reader

InPage Professional 3.10 is an industry standard Urdu word processing software developed in India and used widely by Urdu language publishers located in Pakistan and in the Pakistani diaspora settled around the world.

Contact Info for purchasing InPage software (beginner’s package= US$ 99.00):
Concept Software Pvt. Ltd.:
27, Peach Tree Complex
Near Gold Souk C Block,
Sushant Lok I
Gurgaon - 122009 Haryana, India
Phone: +91 124 4051130, 4051131, 405113

Qur`an Calligraphic Research

14-Empress Road
Tel.: +92 42 6307639, 6307640
Web :
Ahmed Grafics & Computer Services
Farrukh Iqbal
Office # 18-19, 3rd Floor
Sohni Centre, Karimabad
F. B. Area, Block 4
Tel: (92-21) 6801721, 783 0831
Mobile: +(92-322) 223 4330, +(92321) 234 8257

United Kingdom
Multilingual Solutions
Kamran Rouhi
Unit 33 Barley Mow Business Centre
10, Barley Mow Passage
London W4 4PH
Ph : +44 20 7692 0629
E-Mail :
Irfan Nawaz
74, Chadwick Road, Bobbersmill
Nottingham, NG7 5NP
U. K.
Mobile : (0044) 7946866697
Web :

New Delhi & NCR
T J Enterprises
Tariq Jamal Siddiqui
1525, Ist Floor, Pataudi House
Darya Ganj
New Delhi - 110 002
Tele/Fax : 011-23271894, 23271396
Mobile : 9899378589, 20043185
E-Mail :
Web :

Andhra Pradesh
Scantech Info. Systems
Khaliq Imran
10-4-6/9/1A, First Floor
R K Chamber, Humayun Nagar
Masab Tank, Hyderabad - 500028 (AP)
Ph : 040- 23392930, 32305519
Mobile: 9246521390
E-Mail :
Web :

Jammu & Kashmir
T J Enterprises
Alim Ahmed
IInd Floor, JDA Building
Rail Head Complex
Vikas Bhawan
Jammu (J&K)
Mobile : +91 9810552540
Web :

West Bengal
Tanvirul Haque
12, Dargah Road
Calcutta - 700 017
Ph : 033-2401753