Writers

Patrick, Professor Victoria

A living legend, worthy of honourable mention here, Professor Victoria Patrick is a writer, teacher, translator, poetess, songwriter, educator and educationalist. Professor Patrick has 37 years of teaching experience, having taught for 32 years at Kinnaird College for Women, Lahore and 5 years at Foreman Christian College (C.U.), Lahore.
 
In her long and productive life, she has published extensively. Her titles include, "Rehmat" (poems on women's issues) with cassette, and "Ao karobar karen" (sponsored by UNICEF), "Deep deep ujala" (educational poems and songs), "Pankharian" (32 poems for children published by Nirali Kitabein as a textbook), and "Rahein" (booklet on problem-solving for neo-literates sponsored by UNESCO). At present she is working on her 2 forthcoming books for the National Commission for Human Development, Islamabad.":Pyar kay rishtay" and "Sunehary Din". Her other works under process of publication include, "Chandi dhuan dhuan" (poetry), "Sadhran"(Punjabi poems), "Nae ufaq kay Geet" (poetry for women) and "Lehr lehr roshni"(religious poems and songs). 
 
Prof. Patrick has translated more than 70 books from English into Urdu. Some of her main works in this area are listed here: "The upper room" for 10 years and prepared 5 cycles of "Daily Bread" for Scripture Union Pakistan. The other organizations for which she has translated include: the Pakistan Bible Society , Masihi Ishayat Khana, the Director of Social Welfare Government of Punjab, Good News Ministry, Jesus Christ Television (regular translator of 700 club and In-touch Ministries) and N.C.C.P. (National Council of Churches in Pakistan). Her original Urdu articles have appeared in many reputable, and nationally circulated newspapers and magazines including: Nawa-e waqt, Caritas, Naqeeb, Nai Dyniya, Qasid-e Jadeed, Shadab, Sawan, Humsukhan, and Tadeeb. Between 1959 and 1961 her short stories appeared in "Hilal", a Pakistan Army weekly.
 
Over the years, she has earned honours and awards which number more than 60, a few of which are listed here: Best Poetess Award (Masihi Bazm-e Danish 1982), Sitara-e Pakistan (Girl Guide Association 1984), Best Poetess Award (Caritas Pakistan 1986-1988), Adbi Wirsa Award for Poetry (1998), I. D. Shahabaz Award (Christian Writers' Guild 2003), Lyricist Award (Waves Studio 2002), Fatima Jinnah Gold Medal in recognition of educational and literary services (12th Governor of Punjab 2004), Silver Jubilee Cerebration Award (LRI 2008), LCC Church (2009), B.M. Yad Award (2010).
 
Prof. Patrick also has made her mark in musical realms, and lyrics written by her have been sung by some of the most popular singers: Maan di chunni chavway, (sung by Usatand Nurat Fateh Alli Khan), Jey maan Mrryam (Noor Jehan), Ao ahl-e jehan hum chraghan karain (A. Nayyar and Mehnaz), Ehd karien and Aman ka panchi (Benjamin sisters), Nai zamin ho niya asman (A. Nayyar), Rabba putran de phutt (Saira Khanam) and Mann Mariyam banai khuda ney (Surrya Khanam). Her song Roshni roshni sara alam huwa is included in the Sialkot Convention song book.
 
Prof. Patrick, used to read a radio column for the women's programme Hamari Duniya and co-ordinated Christmas and Easter programmes for T.V, radio and various institutions and organizations. She planned programmes and lessons for adult literacy, reproductive health and religious curricula , and conducted literacy programmes and worked for literacy development with Kinnaird College Senior Guides. Though officially retired, she still performs her educational and literary activities as a continuation of her lifetime contributions. Her current activities include producing educational materials for young children in the form of CDs, and DVDs.

Alam, Pastor Bashir

Pastor Bashir Alam is undoubtedly the most prolific original Urdu writer the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Pakistan has produced in the last one hundred years and more. His contributions to the world of Christian Urdu literature are numerous and noteworthy. His books include, Sila-e-Nijjat and Suchi Kahaniyan Hamara Virsa. The former is a collection of his sermons and articles which had previously appeared in Qasid-e-Jadeed, the latter a compilation of his articles about important Biblical themes. Both volumes are an eloquent testimony of Alam's love for his Lord, deep commitment to his religion and mastery of the intricacies of Urdu language. In addition to his published books, he has also authored scores of other articles in Qasid-e-Jadeed and Sehat, the two monthly magazines published by the church's headquarters in Lahore. He has the distinct honour of being appointed twice, the editor of these magazines. In 1999, the Seventh-day Adventist Church administration, recognizing his contributions presented him with a Shield of Appreciation.

 
Pastor Bashir Alam has also translated, form English into Urdu, eight books, three of which are by Mrs. Ellen G White, one of the founders of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Mrs. White's books are are held in very high esteem by its members and are believed to be and often referred to as the Spirit of Prophecy books. The EGW books he translated are: The Desire of Ages (Zamanoon ki Umang), The Ministry of Healing (Shifa kay Chashmay) and Acts of the Apostles (Ibtadai Kelisia Kay Darakhshan Sitary). The other books he translated are, Eight sure steps to health and happiness (Shahra-e-Shifa), The truth will set you free (Sachai Tumay Azad Karey Gee), Sweet Poison (Zehar-e-Laziz), Sunday Law (Yeh Haqiqat woh Afsana), and Where There is No Doctor (Jehan Doctor Nahien, Nau tarmeem edition 2008).
 
In his long and productive service to the Seventh-day Adventist Church he has taught Urdu and theology at Pakistan Adventist Seminary, ministered as a church pastor, authored books, edited magazines and served as a church administrator. He, though officially retired from active service in 1999 as the president of the Northern Section, continues his literary activities and continues to be a beacon of light for his many readers.
 
Pastor Alam's track record as an Urdu writer in the SDA Church is one that will be hard to break in the near future.

Paul, Asst. Professor Jacob (b. 1958)

Jacob Paul is the son of well known Christian scholar, Shamsul Ullama, Allama Paul Ernest, and hails from the village Khushpur, Chank no. 51. District Faisalabad, Pakistan.
 
He obtained his elementary eduaction from Domnic Convent School, Khushpur, and passed his matriculation from St. THomas High school. He then proceeded to  Governmnet Degree College Gojra, where he  graduated with a BA. Later  he earned,  B. Ed. (Government Colleg of Education Faisalabad), M.A. (Urdu) (from Governmtnet Colleged Dhobi Ghat, Faisalabd, M.Ed. (Institute of Education and Research, Pujab University Lahore). M.Phil.(Urdu) (Allama Iqbal Open University, Islamabad). He also has done postgraduate studies at Pastoril Institute Multan and Nastional Institutee of Journalism, Islamabad. 
 
Mr. Paul has always been active in academic and para-academic activities right from his school days, and continued relentless pursuit of academic execellence through his college and univeristy career. While at Government St. Thomas High School he served as Secretary to the Bazm-e Adab; at Government College of Education he was the Secretary Bazm-e adb and Student Editor for the publiscation Ustad; at Government College Faisalabad he was Secretary Social activieties (Dept of Urdu), and Student Editor for Rooshani; at the University of Punjab,   he was Student Editor for Aaghi; later at the Fransiscian Institue Lahore the edited, Safeer
 
His journey as a lecturar began with  appointment in the department of Urdu at Government PST College Kamaliya in 1987 . There he served untill  Septermber 2004, whend  he was called to join FC College University Lahore, where he taught till June 2006. During this period Dr. Christy Munir, waws the Vice Principal and Professor Akhtar  Shumar headed the deparetment of Urdu at this prestigious institution. In 2006, the Government of the Punjab again called him to Government College Kamaliya . He progressed to the rank of Assistant Professor in 2008 and was appointed as such at Government Islamia College, Qasoor . His qualifications coupled with his long standing  commitment to the academics have helped him carve a place of significance  in the academic spheres of Pakistan.
 
He has also carved for himself an equally significant place in the literary circles of Christian writers. His first write-up Nijjat khoon mangti hai (salvation demands blood) was published in Naqeeb (Urdu monthly). Since then J. Paul has written no less than twenty-five plays, of which three have been staged in Pakistan. His stage drama Insan numa farishta, was staged by the Qaumi Catholic Idara Pakistan.
 
In 1996 his play Angan main khushboo was telecasted by Pakistan Television (PTV) Lahore. His other notable plays are, Ujaloon ki Janat, Khusboo ka shehar, and Doosra Doozakh. Although Jacob Paul's main claim to prominence among the Christian writers aare his plays, he has also authored over one hundred and fifty published articles.
 
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Gill, Mubasher Ejaz

Mubasher Ejaz Gill is a man of Gad and also a man of society, carefully observing and engaging with the social and religious issues facing the Christian community of Pakistan. He is a contemporary writer who has in the last few years made his mark among the literary elite of Pakistani Christians by making significant contributions primarily to magazines like Humsukhan and Qasid-e-Jadeed. Indeed his articles have also appeared in other Christian magazines and national news papers.
 
Gill has exposited on some very important, though controversial theological issues, like Sabbath and Easter. His article Sabbath abdi eh'd was published in two parts in Qasid-e-Jadeed. This is, in my view a well written article and for those who believe Sabbath is the Seventh-day of the week (Saturday) it has some powerful arguments. Doctrines which have different theological interpretations are often difficult to address with sensitivity, however, this article is an eloquent proof that this is an art which Gill has mastered. It also is a proof of his extensive Biblical study as the piece is studded with Biblical texts and historical references, which makes the reader stop and think more than once. (q.v. Qasid-e-Jadeed, February 2010, and March 2010).
 
 
Ejaz Gill's understanding of the history of Christian church is also worth mentioning here. He has penned several articles in this area, only a couple will be referred here to serve as examples. Bible ka neya sal, (Qasid-e-Jadeed (February 2009), and 325 ka inqlab (Qasid-e-Jadeed March 2009).The former is a comparative study of various lunar and solar calendars and how these relate to the Christian calendar, while the latter is an incisive look into the historic reasons for the term Easter, often used to describe the celebratory event of Lord Jesus Christ's resurrection. This article is a polemic against the use of word Easter to celebrate the resurrection of Lord Jesus Christ. Gill believes that "Easter", originally referred to a pagan goddess. It is of utmost importance here to note that he believes in the victorious resurrection of Lord Jesus Christ, and of His victory over the grave, but disagrees that this historic event should carry the name of a pagan goddess. His argument is against the name of the celebration and not against the validity or the significance of the event.
 
On the socio-political front Gill assesses the historical trends effecting all Pakistanis generally, and minorities, and especially the Christian minority particularly. Around the time when the Pakistani nation was busy preparing for 62nd celebrations of Pakistan's  Independence day (August 14, 1947), his article, Arz-e Pak mayree azadi kehan hai? (published in various newspapers and magazines, q.v.  Humqlam vol 1. no.2, July/August 2010), was an eye-opener for any one who cared to read it. It was aimed at both the ruling elite and also the majority that feel that Pakistan is their exclusive homeland, and that only they love her. Gill pointed  from the pages of history and the scared texts of the Bible that Christians were responsible and patriotic citizens of Pakistan, and yet left to ask the questions pertaining to their treatment in their own homeland.
 
As the tide of  history moves on with its usual twists and turns, with its uncanny defiance for predictability,  I am reminded of the saying "There is no holiday from history", and I feel safe to state here that as long as we have watchful observers like Ejaz Gill, no significant event of history, or any debate arising out of it, will go unnoticed, unrecorded or uncommented by our writers.

Khair Ullah, Dr. Frank Safi-Ullah (1914 - 1997)

Dr. Frank Safi-Ullah Khair Ullah was an outstanding educationalist, teacher, churchman and writer whose most enduring contibution to the Urdu-speaking Christians is his monumental work in the form of an Urdu Bible Dictionary, Qamus. It is a compilation of over 5000 entries, many of which were written by Khair Ullah himself. His other noteworthy contribution is Hebrew-Urdu primer (first published in 1992).

 
Khair Ullah hailed from Nowshera, and was a son of Qazi Khair Ullah, an Afghan convert, who later served with the Church Missionary Society. He had his initial education at the Baring High School, Batala, India. He later studied at Forman Christian College, Lahore, where he earned an MA in English in 1933. In 1954, he was awarded a PhD at Edinburgh University.
 
At the professional level, from 1942, he served as a lecturer in the English Department at Murray College, Sialkot, Pakistan, where he later became the Head of that Department. In 1964 he was appointed Principal of Murray College, a position he held untill 1972, when the institution was nationalized. In his latter years he was ordained a presbyter of the Church of Paksitan and appointed Vicar of St. Andrew's Church in Lahore Diocese. He left for Canada in 1994 where he died in 1997.
 
(I would like to express my appreciation to Ms. Vivienne Stacey (UK) for many of the facts in this short article).

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