Book launch and hero rat

"The books of Farzana Aqib will never distract or dismay you. She is a poet and a novelist, and writes effortlessly both in English and Urdu"

After a long time, the Quaid-e-Azam Library in Lawrence Garden opened its door to a book launch ceremony on Sunday. The launch of 11 books by poet, and a longtime family friend Farzana Aqib, offered many delights. It was a sight to see that a good number of people braving cold weather and the usual Sunday laziness, attended the ceremony and bought the books as well. The people who have nothing to do with the sinless pleasure called book reading, often claim that book reading is a dying tradition. This launch ceremony was an occasion to prove their claims wrong. People love to read books, if they are provided with good quality books. The books of Farzana Aqib will never distract or dismay you. She is a poet, a quotation creator and a novelist, and writes effortlessly both in English and Urdu. Right now, her books on my shelf are: Saffron in the Hay Yard; Blur Monday of Love; Caramel Sunset; Muhabbat Ki Bhalla Kab Umr Hoti Hi; Mohabbat Hamsafar Rakhna; Tumharay Sath Phir Jee Lain; A Thousand Obolos Coins; I don’t write, life writes itself; and In the name of God.

And after a long time, I am reading poetry. In fact, I’ve started loving poetry. Here’s a poem by Farzana Aqib, and hopefully, after going through it, you’ll also consider yourself a permanent part of the congregation of poetry lovers.

People are Temporary

Friendship is


So are the foes

and woes

Places are transitory

We are passing


It’s a fact indeed

I know it’s true …

But who made you


That love is

Temporary too

I was thinking to write on some hard political issue when this news caught my attention.

The news is that the Cambodians are mourning the death of a landmine-sniffing rat named Magawa, who died recently in retirement. The hero rat, employed with an international charity tasked with discovering and defusing boobytraps, took officials to more than 100 landmines and explosives during a five-year career.

One hundred landmines?

That is a huge number. The rat deserves salutes for saving so many human lives. According to Reuters, the HeroRat died at the age of 8, “leaving a lasting legacy of saved lives in the Southeast Asian nation”.

“Magawa was in good health and spent most of last week playing with his usual enthusiasm, but towards the weekend he started to slow down, napping more and showing less interest in food in his last days,” the charity noted in a statement.

Taking a cue from Cambodian example, our charities and government agencies should employ rats to discover land-mined evils like theft, corruption and irregularities. A Megawa employed by the Sindh Food Department could have led the anti-corruption watchdogs towards the “rats” which have eaten up wheat bags worth billions. Rats work without being influenced by media reports, political situation and so on. With every case discovered by rats, the suspects would have called the rats ‘corrupt’ and ‘politically-motivated detectors’. Whatever the case, our country would have improved its ranking on the corruption perception index. Ours would have a better world.