Saturday, April 24, 2010

Updated: Ibn-e-SAFI reviewed upon occasion of 1st English translation

Credit for the portrait of Ibn-e-Safi goes to the official home page

UPDATED 11th May, 2010 NOTE: There is more information on a new post as of 10th May, 2010 from Rashid - as well as in the Comments below this post. Add your own. However, none anonymous, plz, due to problems with these. Please, readers and followers of our beloved writer of the Imran series - do let us know where some of us in other countries might order BOTH the English "House of Fear" and the URDU version at the same time! Some of us are really perplexed and sad not to be able to get our hands and eyes on this first English copy both for our own reading as well as for a language tool. Thanx for stopping by! Connie

NOTE: At end of post I have added a few more links sent by an astute regular follower of items related to the great writer, Ibn-e-Safi ...

“ Nuclear and Hydrogen Bomb experiments were beyond their comprehension. They could not figure out why a person is incarcerated in a mental asylum when he turns mad and why when a nation turns mad, we start calling it a Power ” Ibn-e Safi


Here's a condensed review of Pakistani's Most Prolific and most Popular Writer Over Time - a small collection of updated old and new information. Please add your own favorite sources, quotes, books and more under post in Comments.

Happily, with the first Ibn-e Safi book just brought out in English (Random House, India, is the only source I can find right now), readers will also be able to find a growing amount of material on this famous author on the web. Recently, someone who knows the Safi work well suggested that reading these novels can help teach and improve one's URDU. (Perhaps with the new English volume to use at the beginning?) I am eagerly awaiting my Urdu and English version - with the preface by Ibn-e Safi's youngest son.

For the official site, go here This Ibne Safi website is maintained by Mohammad Hanif Saheb) Also for more material considered part of this official information - Go here

Ibne Safi (1928-1980) is the pen name of Asrar Ahmad, the best-selling and most popular author of mystery and detective novels in the history of the Indian Subcontinent’s Urdu literature. His initial works date back to the early 1940s, when he wrote from India. After the partition in 1947, he migrated to Pakistan, and penned his later novels there. So strong was Ibne Safi’s impact on the Subcontinent’s literary scene that his novels were translated into several regional languages. It was not unusual for Safi's books to be sold at black market prices in Pakistan and India, where they were originally published every month...

The settings in Ibne Safi's novels are such that the reader is never told the national origin of the heroes. Since Jasoosi Duniya was created before the Partition of the Subcontinent, the names of the characters and their locales suggest that the novel takes place in India. The advent of Imran Series came post-Partition, and the reader is set up to assume that the narrative is situated in Pakistan.

Besides their native countries, the main characters of both Jasoosi Duniya and Imran Series have had adventures around the world – Spain, Italy, England, Scotland, Pacific Islands, Zanzibar, South Africa, the United States of America, and various other places. Considering that Ibne Safi never left the Indian Subcontinent, the detailed descriptions he provides of the diverse localities are surprisingly accurate.

Many a time, Ibne Safi created fictitious settings for his stories. The magical web of his writing is so captivating that these fantasy lands have become real in the minds of readers. Avid fans of the author are experts on the people and cultures of Shakraal, Karaghaal, Maqlaaq, Zeroland, and many other imaginary domains.

In cities around India and Pakistan, one can find discotheques, bars, night clubs, and hotels named after venues found in Ibne Safi's novels. Some places worth mentioning are: Dilkusha, Fizaro, Niagara, Tip Top, High Circle, etc.

This below is from freebase dot com - first excerpts:

According to one of his autobiographical essays, someone in a literary meeting claimed that Urdu literature had little scope for anything but sexual themes. To challenge this notion, Ibn-e-Safi began writing detective stories in January 1952 in the monthly Nikhat, naming the series Jasoosi Dunya. In the preface of Jasoosi Dunya's platinum jubilee number Zameen Kay Baadal, he mentioned those novels of Jasoosi Dunya whose main plot were taken from Western literature and which included Daler Mujrim, Pur-asraar Ajnabi,, Raqqasah ka Qatal, Heeray ki Kaan and Khooni Pathar. Furthermore, he also mentioned some characters, which were borrowed from English fiction, such as Khaufnak Hangamah’s Professor Durrani and Paharron ki Malikah’s White Queen and Gorilla. He claimed that other than those novels and characters, his stories were his own creation, and even the mentioned novels had borrowed only ideas and were not translations.

Ibne Safi created the Imran Series in 1955 when he migrated to Karachi, where he lived until pancreatic cancer caused his death in 1980 on July 26, on his 52nd birthday. Coincidently, his date of birth and date of death is same i.e. July 26. His characters were as well-known and popular among his readers as legendary fictional characters like Sherlock Homes...

A few latest updates on Ibne Safi can be seen at here including coverage of an official program which was held in Karachi arts Council for the first time in 29 years at an official level.

...His son Dr. Ahmad Safi (who is the Managing Director of a Software House and himself is a literary person) told me (the archive-keeper) that when his (Ahmed's) elder brother visited Italy, he was surprised to see Lake Como as it was so truly depicted by Ibne Safi in one of his best serial Adlava. Considering that Ibne Safi never left the Indian Subcontinent, the detailed descriptions he provides of the diverse localities are surprisingly accurate.

The question of Ibne Safi’s literary merit is still unsettled yet according to Khurrum Ali Shafique (researcher, writer) " it seems as if the tables have already started tilting in his favor. One obvious reason is that those who used to read his novels, hiding themselves from their elders under bed-sheets, are now well into their forties and fifties. They are teachers, professors, writers and parents. But they are also old friends of Safi's like Dr Abul Khair Kashfi (died May 15, 2008), one of the few senior critics of that generation...

Mr Kahild Javed (Dehli-India)gave the names of those great western writers who have created detective characters in their novels/works, this includes Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849), Zadig by Voltaire (1694-1778), Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas (1802-1870), Human Comedy by Balzac 1799-1850), Adventures of Cabb Williams by William Garden , Moonstone by Wilkie Collins (1824-1889), Bleak House by Charles Dickens (1812-1870), A Gun for Sale by Graham Green etc. Many literary personnel generously admired Ibne Safi including Poet, Ajmad Islam Amjad, Columnist Hasan Nisar, Writer Bushra Rehman, Indian Poet/Writer Javed Akhtar (in an interview to Ms. Munni Kabir), Dr. Gopi Chand Narang etc. However, at a seminar in Mumbai in 2007, legendary Urdu writer Intizar Husain, who apparently tried to shock the audience with the comment that he ‘had neither read Ibne Safi nor felt he was important enough‘, invited flak for his comments. There was severe criticism of the comment on the stage itself. Several litterateurs reminded Intezar Hussain that though one may be entitled to his personal views, and his literary status apart, Ibne Safi can’t be simply dismissed as just another writer.

Find much more at freebase dot com here

Some choice and unexpected quotes here

Find another thorough site with many topics on Ibn-e-Safi here

For an enormous and well-organized library of many archived materials, go here

From Wikipedia where there is some great basic information (some not widely-known) on this prolific, beloved author and hopefully room for more yet - where experts can edit if needed:

Sir Ibn-e-Safi (also spelled as Ibne Safi) (Urdu: ابنِ صفی) was the pen name of Asrar Ahmad (Urdu: اسرار احمد), a best-selling and prolific fiction writer, novelist and poet of Urdu. The word Ibn-e-Safi is an Arabian expression which literally means Son of Safi, where the word Safi means chaste or righteous. He wrote from the 1940s in India, and later Pakistan after the partition of British India in 1947.

His main works were the 125-book series Jasoosi Dunya (The Spy World) and the 120-book Imran Series, with a small canon of satirical works and poetry. His novels were characterized by a blend of mystery, adventure, suspense, violence, romance and comedy, achieving massive popularity across a broad readership in South Asia.

Agatha Christie once said, "I don't know Urdu but have knowledge of detective novels of the Subcontinent. There is only one original writer - Ibn-e-Safi."

Here are two ordering venues if you are in the right location and maybe more opportunities will open up soon! here and here

Details of Book:
The House Of Fear
Author: Ibn E Safi



Publisher: Random House
Number of Pages: 228

Hello, I just received the following delightful collection of items (including some in URDU) on 4th May 2010 from Mr. Rashid Ashraf – Administrator of one of the most thorough and interesting sites covering the works, history and related items for Ibn-e Safi...

(see recent comment below for original note)

"The information is worth reading. Thanks for referencing (site) here and my Business Recorder article on Ibne Safi. I also invite you to read my fresh articles on Ibne Safi sahab...:


To watch videos of different literary personalites/friends of Safi sahab, just visit the youtube Achieve: here

This year on July 26, Ibne Safi lovers will be surprised to watch a wonderful program on Safi sahab. Details will be revealed later.


Thinking said...

Wow...Dearest Connie...

What a post !

I really liked the way you wrote all about favourite author and thanks to Shafique Sahib for reminding....

However, remaining article is superb...thank you so much for caring so much...

Take Care of yourself.

Akhtar Wasim Dar said...

A very informative and detailed post, with useful links about the legendary IBNE SAFI. The portrait at the top is classic and very interestingly poised.

Connie L. Nash said...

Thanx to each and all who have commented and corrected...I will try to correct very soon...I was wondering why that info was different than the official site...It is right out of another site? (often there are good reasons to check out the official versions. :)

By the way, Shafique Sahib, would you please say something about the Consensus literature of Pakistan and why Ibn-e Safi may well have been the first? And/or what is the best link to those articles which I believe you wrote?

Or refer to the RR website...

I really appreciated and agreed with your "take" on the portrait, Dar Sahib...and loved your enthusiasm, Thinking, and knowing that Ibn-e Safi is your favorite!

Now, if ONLY I can find a way to order this book to reach me!!! I and two Pakistani friends here are VERY eager...

And I would LOVE the preface to that book by (Dr) Ahmed Safi, the author's youngest son...I had it and now can't find??? (for another post.)

THANX to all of you at The Republic of Rumi web and blogsite!

Connie L. Nash said...

Do let me know if there is anything else at all that needs correction - I don't mind at all :) and would be most grateful.

Also, I really want to do another post as soon as able to read the English version and later again upon reading it with the URDU.

And let's see some of your own reviews if you (have read) are able to read the URDU or the new English version...

Rashid said...

The information is worth reading.Thanks for refereing and my Business Recorder article on Ibne Safi. I also invite you to read my fresh articles on ibne safi sahab, link of which are as follows:

To watch videoz of different literary personalites/friends of Safi sahab, just visit the youtube Achieve:

This year on July 26, ibne safi lovers will be surprised to watch a wonderful program on safi sahab. Details will be revealled later.


Connie said...

Thank You, Mr. RASHID ASHRAF! I am amazed at your prolific work. Do keep reminding us here of every new/fresh item to come as you are doing here. Also, how might Pakistanis and others "abroad" purchase a copy of both the new and older versions of "The House of Fear"?

Availability of this first English version would be of great interest in itself both for literary value, role-modeling, entertainment and also for language learning of both Englsih and Urdu. Your information in this regard may well help to sell many copies.

Rashid said...

Dear Nash!
I have written a fresh article on Ibne Safi which was published in Daily Business Recorder, pakistan on June 19, 2010. Here is the link:

It had to be published on July 26, 2010 on the occassion of 30th anniversary of Ibne Safi Sahab, however, for some particular reason, editor of the newspaper decided to publish a little earlier.

The third last paragraph is of immense sifnificance as this request was not made by anyone before this.

Connie L. Nash said...

I have saved much more information from Rashid Sahib for re-organizing at a later time.

Connie L. Nash said...

Plz see updates on Ibne Safi TV program (with family present)and more for June 23 and July 26 with new book purchasing info on this site...

Rashid said...

Hi Nash!

Despite sereval requests, Geo Tv's management have only added two episodes of the program telecasted on Ibne Safi sahab. The program was aired on July 24, 2010 and since than a considerable time has been lapsed.

In the meantime, Mr Amin Bhayani from Atlanta has added the complete program at Utube, however, these Utube links have recently been removed by him.

Recently, an Internet based site who manages private Tv clips have added the said program in 5 episodes, the link of which is given here: