Aasi, Joseph Saeed

Joseph Saeed  Aasi ( جوزف سعید عا صی  ) is a choir director (at Waris Pura Faisalabad), chief organizer (at Classic Recording Studios), a researcher and producer (at Aasi Psalm Ministry), producer at Jalali Jaltrang  ( جلالی جلترنگ ) and chief adviser at D&D ministries Sargodha, Pakistan. His father Mehar-uddin Aasi was  a distinguished teacher and a celebrated scholar of Urdu and Farsi (Persian). He published three anthologies; two in Urdu: Jalali Jaltrang ( جلالی جلترنگ ) and Saz-e-Janoon  (ساز جنوں), and one in Punjabi 'Saran(ساراں). Hence, it can be rightly asserted that Joseph Saeed Aasi belongs to a very academic and literary family. He also has a deep love for music which he inherited from his maternal grandfather Sharam Dass Sahib. According to one very reliable source, cuwap.org has learned that the  Padri Sahib and tabla nawaz ,Padri Thakkur Dass of Naulakha Church, Lahore,  was a  pupil of Mr. Sharam Dass. Joseph Aasi himself learned the intricacies of the Eastern music from Peyaray Khan Sahib (maternal uncle of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan).  He has had the distinct honour of composing and presenting the poetry of his father into musical renditions which were broadcast from Pakistan Television (PTV) twice on Christmas and once during the Easter festivities.

  The Psalms arranged by him and others can be accessed directly by clicking on this link Psalms on YouTube

Joseph Aasi's father had great love and admiration for I.D. Shahbaz, and Joshua Fazal-uddin Sahib, and hounouring these sentiments, he has done some ground-breaking research work on these two literary giants of the Urdu speaking Christian world.

Ireen Farhat

Ms. Ireen Farhat hails from Karachi. She is a prolific writer and has contributed innumerable articles to various newspapers and magazines, inclding; Jang (جنگ ), Naw-e waqt (نواے وقت ) , Jsarat ( جسارت ), Aftab (آفتاب ), Na'ee batt ( نئی بات ),Akhbar-e Jiahan ( اخبار جہاں ) Magazine, Family (فیملی) Magazine, Ghazi( غازی ) Magazine, Dunya-e Adab (دنیا ادب ) Magazine, The Christ Times Magazine.

 She began writing poetry while at school. Her literary journy has continued without any let, and she has published her first book, Hawa ka rukh badalna chahtee houn ( ہوا کا رخ بدلنا چاہتی ہوں ).

In view of the amount of good quality poetry she has produced in relatively short period of her literary journey, it can be safely concluded that she will no doubt make a permanent  mark among her contemporaries.



Nazir Qasir

The literary and intellectual bridge of social understanding and literary cooperation between Muslims and Christians of Pakistan, Nazir Qasir has often risen above the petty and meaningless divisions that many unsocial elements would like to sow among the peaceful followers of their respective religions.

Nazir Qasir was born on 5th of January 1945 in Hooshiyarppur, India.  A few days later his mother passed away promptoing his father to take him to Jehlam (now in Pakistan) where his father Aziz Masih's close friend, lala Ootar Narayan Gujral lived. Nazir Qasir lived and received his early education in the Gujral household, and was treated as none of their own children.

Inder Kumar Gujal, Prime minster of India (April 1997 to March 1998), was the son of htis same lals Oatar Nayan Gujral. At the creation of Pskistan in 1947, Nazir Qair's father served with the peace keeping troops of UNO and chose to stay in Pakistan despite the insistence of the the Gujrals to accompany them to Inida.

Qasir's literary journey  began in 1958, and in a few short years he began to be appreciated by the literary giants of his time. When in 1968 his book Ankahin, chehra, hath hit the market, he received glowing reviews and compliments form Faiz Ahmad Faiz, Ahmad Nadeem Qasmi, Sufi Tabassam, Nasir Qazmi, Zafar Iqbal, Munir Niazi and other such prominent poets and literary critics.

Qaisar's poetry, like his personality, is inviting and absorbing. I first read his bookd Zaitoon di Patti during school days, and was impressed by his ability to convy deep concetps and delicate emotions uring very simple word and common phraseology. Indeed I was nto the only one impressed by this master artisan of word, for soon after I learned that Nazir Qasir was awarded the Adam Jee Award for his publication. I was pleased at this news.

Many years later in the late nineties I had the privilege of meeing Qasir on several occasions, and foun him to be just like his books, interesting, and though provoking.

His published books are:

  • Ankhain, chehra, hath  (آنکھیں ، چہرہ ہاتھ ) poetry, 1968.
  •  Ankhain, chehara, hath poetry, 1968.
  •  Zaitoon the patti - Punjabi poetry (زیتون دی پتی) Punjabi poetry, 1979.
  • Teree Duneiya (تیسری دنیا ) long poem, 1979.
  •  Gunbad-e-khouf  say basharrat (گنبد خوف سے بشارت ) poetry, 1984.
  • Rujhanat (رجحانات ) collection of articles, 1984.
  • Naiy ehd kay geet ( نئے عہد کے گیت ) Christian songs, 1984.
  • Temharay shehar ka maosam (تمھارے شہر کا موسم )  poetry, 1992.
  •  Aye shaam humsukhan ho (اے شام ہمسوخن ہو )  poetry, 1995
  • Haray Krishna (ہرے کرشنا ) long poem, 1993.
  • Qasam fajar day taray dee (قسم فجر دے تارے دی ) Punjabi poetry, 2003.
  • Danish ka buhran (دانش کا بحران) A philosophical treatise, 2004.
  •  Muhabat mayra mausam hai ( محبت میرا موسم ہے ) poetry, 2013 
  •  Yas'oo (یسوع) novel, 2013.
  • Dhool main dhanak (دھول میں دھنک) Autobiography, in the publication process, 2014.
  •  Koonjan bharya asman ( کونجاں بھریا آسمان ) Punjabi poetry, 2014.
  • Masihiyat ki tashkeel-e-nau (مسیحیت کی تشکیل نو) An analysis, 2014.
  • Mausam  ( موسم ) Compilation of various works, 2014.
  • Ay hawa moazan ho ( اے ہوا مؤزن ہو ) poetry. 

 His ghazzals have been sung by the greats of the music world: Ustad Ghulam Ali, sang, woohi palkoon ka japakna woohi jadoo tayray وہی پلکوں کا جھپکنا وہی جادوتیرے ),  Madam Noor Jehan  sang, Aa ja ray, Aa ja mayray pass ray آ جا رے، آ جا میرے پاس رے ) and Gulsha Ara Sayed sang the blockbuster hit ghazzal, Temharay shehar ka maosam (تمھارے شہر کا موسم ).  His other all time favorite which has been sung by various artists is Dewaroon say batein karna acha lagta hai (دیواروں سے باتیں کرنا اAa ja ray, Aa ja mayray pass ray was filmed in the Neya Sooraj ( نیا سورج ) which was released in 1977 and become one of the top cinema sensations of its time.

The following is a  complete list of his  awards:

  •  Adam Jee Award
  •  Pakistan National Cultural Award
  •  Presidential award for literature
  • Loke Adab Award
  • Masood Khadar Poshe Award
  • Urdu Foundation Award
  •  Peace Award (European Union)
  • Shawl of Honour from Prime Minister of India      

The literary journey of Nazir Qasir continues, and so does the on-going appreciation of CUWAP for this one-of-a kind master of Urdu and Punjabi poetry.

Shakir, Pyarelal (d.1956)

Pyarelal Shakir was the maternal grandfather Meena Kumari, the famous "tragedy queen" of bollywood world,  and has been acknowledged as the first Urdu journalist of the Indian subcontinent. Mr. Shanommagon (India) writing about Meena Kumari states in  Behind the Curtains - Bollywood that  Pyarelal Shakir married Sundri Devi, Meena Kumairi's maternal grandmother, after the death of her first husband. However, for our purposes, here, his following observations are more noteworthy: "Pyarelal is knows (sic) as the first Urdu journalist of the Indian sub-continent, and it is interesting to note that the first Urdu journalist was a Christian (emphasis supplied). In Urdu literature, he is known as Pyarelal Merathi, as he hailed form Merath (Meerut). He as (sic) known as a revolutionary journalist and the periodical he published was described as rebellious".*

Pyarelal Shakir, was the son of a local evangelist of Asrapur Attari. Despite Shakir's towering figure as a linguist, writer, scholar of Urdu and Farsi (Persian), translator and  poet, not much could be gleaned about his life story.  Bishop  W. G Young records: "It is said that his poetry was of the calibre of that of Iqbal".* Among the few facts known of his many literary services are his editorial activities. He edited several Urdu magazines, Toufa-e Sarhad ( تحفہ   سرحد )(Banu), Sada-e Bashir (صداۓ بشیر ) (Gujrat), Adeeb (ادیب ) and Ala'sar ( العصر )(Allahabad).  He published a long poem about the life and miracles of Lord Jesus entitled Shahzada (شہزادہ), .  From the information available it seems very likely that he spent the last years of his life in Faiz Bazar of Delhi, India, and died in dire difficult financial circumstances.  The Government of India had agreed to pay him some pension if recognition of his literary services. His song, Aj Roshan is jehan mein ik sitara ho gaya  (آج روشن اس جہاں میں اک ستارہ  ہو گیا  ), is included in the Sialkot Convention Geet Ki Kitab (سیالکوٹ کنونشن گیت کتاب )***

* Source: http://www.filmsandnews.com/2007/04/meena-kumari-poluglot-product.html

** Referent here is Allama Dr. Muhammad Iqbal, the poet-heliosphere of Pakistan

***This book is still in publication and is widely used by Urdu speaking  Christians world-wide.

Saleem, Naeem

Naeem Saleem ( نعیم سلیم ) is a singer and a poet, but I've never been able to make up my mind as to which of the two is his real talent or calling.  When I first listened to his singing I thought of advising him not to waste his creative energies on writing poetry; and then I read his poetry and since then have never found the courage to advise him about anything. This dilemma was not mine alone, for Dr. David Paul  who honoured with the title Ambassador of Peace, notes: "There is (sic) many positive aspects of his life and sometimes  (these) make it difficult to work out a real introduction as to who he actually is."

He sings  beautifully, plays several musical instruments and writes soul-nourishing poetry.  Saleem hails from Lahore, and belong to a  very musically talented family.

He has recorded various audio cassettes and CDs. I had the privilege of being present at the opening ceremony of one entitled: Shukriya ( شکریہ )His album Love Pakistan was released in 1996 which won praise and appreciation even from the President of Pakistan. To  date he has released sixteen music albums, and is considered a trend-setter in the music industry of Pakistan.  He has a passionate commitment to Christianity and has been teaching "Biblical Survey of Music for the past seven years.

His published works include:

Aman ka shehzada (امن کا شہزادہ)

Geetan dee ghurti ( گیتاں دی گھڑتی )

Dharti pay sulah ( دھرتی پہ صلح )

Kazi Javed, Director of Academy of Letters Pakistan, states "I understand that the South Asian Christian cultural  heritage has gone a long way in the making of his humanist outlook.  Naeem Saleem has given us verses that carry new ideas and insights into the nature of like, love and human relationships. His poetry is passionate and is composed in easy-to understand language and charming style."