by Qudrat Ullah Shahab
Shahab Nama is one of the most interesting autobiographies I have ever read. It is a fantastic read which unfortunately was never translated into English.
Shahab Nama is the story of Qudrat Ullah Shahab, a Pakistani Bureaucrat who served in the Indian Civil Service before partition and volunteered during the famine of Bengal in 1943. Later he served as the Ambassador of Pakistan to Netherlands in 1962 and also the Secretary of Information and Education. He was an eminent writer and contributed to various newspapers and magazines in both Urdu and English language. A commemorative stamp bearing his picture was also issued in 2013 honoring the important writers of Pakistan.
I love this book because of its eloquence. The language is beautiful and the words are written in a simple manner. This book takes you back to earlier times when happiness could be found in small things and people mattered more than their status.
The beginning of the book talks about his life, career and everything around which in those times was so simple that its hard to imagine the same joys in this century. It’s the second part which mesmerize the audience. It follows his spiritual journey. Gates are opened to discussion on parapsychology. We read about his relationship to God which he refers to as “Ninety”. It is an out of this world, no words can describe kind of relationship.His spiritual journey has a feeling of “sukoon” or inner peace.
Written at a time when patriotism was real and people believed, it brings out hope and love . Shahab nama was published after the death of Qudrat Ullah Shahab and till today remains an important piece of Urdu literature and the most read Urdu book in Pakistan.
If you can read and understand Urdu I highly recommend getting you hands on this book.