Views of dignitaries

Views of dignitaries on works of Sohail Ahmed Siddiqui-I

Credit goes to Sohail Ahmed Siddiqui, who brought out the first issue of quarterly Haiku International in July, 1998 and in July-September, 1999 brought out its third issue. Paying tributes to Mohsin Bhopali who is the progenitor of Urdu Haiku, a portion of it has been reserved for Mohsin Bhopali. The quarterly under review is the maiden journal of Haiku in the sub-continent of South-East Asia.
The quarterly under review covers 115 pages in Urdu portion and 28 pages in English portion. The journal under review is also a special issue on Mohsin Bhopali, the progenitor of Urdu Haiku. The journal under review contains in itself highly crudités and thought provoking articles and critical appreciations, penned by eminent writers and critics like Dr. Muhammad Amin, Professor Muhammad Rais Alvi, Wazahat Nasim, Iqbal Haider, Ishrat Roomani and Taj Saeed. It also contains Mohsin Bhopali’s interview, conducted by outstanding Haikuist, Jamal Naqvi. Besides the above specimens of prose and poetic creations of Mohsin Bhopali have also been given eminence in the quarterly under review.
The English portion of the journal under review consummately edited by Sohail Ahmed Siddiqui contains the Editor’s introductory article about the works of Mohsin Bhopali. In addition to above, some translations of Japanese and French Haiku have also been given.
Sohail Ahmed Siddiqui is a renowned Haikuist in himself. He is a freelancer and TV writer, as well as he had been a regular contributor to the Daily New, from 1990 to 1995.
The Urdu portion covers nineteen chapters, wherein the Haiku writings of Mohsin Bhopali have been projected, by eminent writers in detail. Besides the above, thought provoking articles on stature and craft of Haiku together with original and translated Haiku composed in various languages have been put forth. Eminent among them is the contribution of Sohail Ahmed Siddiqui himself.
“Haiku ke baarey mein” (About Haiku) written by Mohsin Bhopali included in the journal under review fully elucidates the Urdu Haiku. Indeed it is a highly informative, thought provoking and highly praiseworthy treatise.
In the Urdu portion of the journal under review, besides others there is a highly adorable article entitled, “Haiku Ka Jamal” (Beauty of Haiku) written by Professor Muhammad Rais Alvi. The author eulogises the personality of Haikuist, Jamal Naqvi. Says he (English rendering done by the writer of this treatise):
“In Jamal Naqvi’s Haiku there is a natural beauty, tenderness, ache, bewilderment and colour of seasons. It also possess the shadow of love, the ache of memories, the balance, the experiment, the observation, the diction, the inner passion and the communication of love. Jamal Naqvi in Urdu language is standing in the midst of a few consummate Haiku writers. To deny his consummation is not possible for anyone now. I am sure, new Haiku writers will surely gain a lot from his creations. Innumerable readers and listeners of his beautiful Haiku will go on admiring him”.
The author in his aforesaid article focuses the external attributes of Lucknow, like its beautiful surroundings and magnificent dwellings which have way for the projection of natural beauty. These attributes were the real source of promoting Jamal Naqvi’s inner talent.
An interview of Mohsin Bhopali, conducted by such an aforesaid distinguished person, Jamal Naqvi, is included in the journal under review. This interview is entitled, “Mohsin Bhopali aur Japani Shairi” (Mohsin Bhopali and Japanese poetry).
In reply to a question put forth by Jamal Naqvi that when so many collections of Urdu Haiku have been published what is his opinion that how far Japanese poetry has influenced Urdu poets, Mohsin Bhopali replied (English rendering done by the writer of this treatise):
“Japanese Haiku has given opportunity to Urdu poets to pay attention towards the exposition of nature and make it common a tendency of including it in their poetic compositions. Owing to the popularity Haiku, the tendency of writing Mahiya (a species of Punjabi poetry) increased in Pakistan and India, more particularly in Punjab. Nowadays, in various literary magazines the Haiku and Mahiya are seen published side by side close to each other and since previous year Haiku poetry and its critical appreciation. The publication of Haiku International is a very commendable step.”
In nutshell this interview is a highly informative and thought provoking one.
[The News International, Karachi]

Views of dignitaries on works of Sohail Ahmed Siddiqui-II
Professor Muhammad Rais Alvi-Additional Secretary, Education (Sindh)-Chief Guest
Sohail Ahmed Siddiqui is the only person who with his profound labour and efforts keeps the literary work thriving.
[An excerpt of his speech quoted by the columnist which he delivered at the launch of Haiku International Special Issue on Wazahat Nasim]
In fact, he paid tribute to Sohail for his efforts to promote Haiku in South Asia. Literary Roundup by Khurshid Ahmer: Daily News- Saturday, June 3, 2000.
Sohail Siddiqui Deserves Commendation
S.A.H. Naqvi (Excerpt)
Credit goes to Sohail Siddiqui for producing Haiku International, the distinguished book series on Haiku in the subcontinent with the sole aim of promoting Haiku in Urdu and local languages of Pakistan.
The under review fourth issue of Haiku International has been made special issue for projecting the works of Wazahat Naseem, a renowned Haikuist."Wazahat Naseem as I know her” is a good and authentic article penned by Sohail Ahmed Siddiqui included in the English portion of the Haiku International under review.
There is another outstanding article entitled "Zard Phoolon ki Khushboo per eik Tairana Nazar"(A bird-eye view on fragrance of yellow flowers), written by Sohail Ahmed Siddiqui. The article under reference brings to light life and deeds of Dr. Mohammad Amin. Sohail Siddiqui deserves commendation for producing such a fine and alluring literary journal.
["Praise worthy special issue of Haiku International on Wazahat Naseem”: Daily News, Friday May 26, 2000.]
Haiku in Urdu
By Hassan Abidi
James Kirkup's English writing on Haiku and Sohail Ahmed Siddiqui's essay in English on Mohsin Bhopali "The Master Mind of Urdu Haiku" both give an insight in to this delicate poetic form gaining popularity with the passage of time. Sohail Siddiqui's efforts, himself being a Haiku poet, in popularising this borrowed poetic form from Japan shall be acknowledged with a sense for gratitude.
[Daily Dawn, Karachi, 6-2-2000]
Bilingual Quarterly Haiku International--Auspicious efforts of Sohail Siddiqui
By. S.A.H. Naqvi
Excerpt: The outstanding article in the English portion of the journal under review is Sohail Ahmed Siddiqui's article entitled ‘Mohsin Bhopali -- The Mastermind of Urdu Haiku'. In it the writer has paid heartfelt tribute to the consumption of Haiku writing in Urdu by Moshin Bhopali.
Sohail Ahmed Siddiqui is a renowned Haikuist in himself. He is a freelancer and a TV writer as well as he had regularly contributed to the Daily News from 1990 to 1995. [Daily News, November 19, 1999]
Haiku Poet honoured
Jamiluddin Aali also profusely praised the young editor of the journal (Haiku International) who had brought out five issues of the Haiku International, including three special numbers. Kazumi Dekiba, the honourable Consul General of Japan admired Sohail Ahmed Siddiqui for bringing out the special number and said “I read the English portion of the magazine and am glad to observe that how immaculately he has highlighted Mr. Iqbal Haider's significant contribution and devotion to the promotion of Haiku poetry in Pakistan. [Reported by Hassan Abidi, Dawn, 16-2-2001]
Simply over whelmed
Janab Sohail Ahmed Siddiqui,

Simply, I am over whelmed with appreciation and gratitude. I must thank you from the core of my heart for the splendid mission you have undertaken to promote my writings.
Again, I am happy to know that you are arranging reviews by famous writers and critics. My heart is bent with a sense of deep gratitude for you. Yes, I’ll be sending more copies of my books including Bangla to you as soon as possible.
For your information, I must add that there is a book called ‘Imagery of the Sub-continent’. The contemporary English poetry of Bangladesh, India and Pakistan by Mofizar Rahman, published by Commonwealth Publications, Canada, has dealt with my poems along with those of others in the Sub-continent. Though I love Haiku…
Professor Dr. Halima Khatun,
Institute of Education & Research,
University of Dhaka, Bangladesh
[An excerpt of letter dated 30-06-1998]
* The learned poetess, renowned educationist and former UNESCO Advisor (to Equal Access of Women to Education project in Nepal, for two years), has kindly provided few of her stories to be included in two books of Sohail on SAARC. As a friendly gesture, Sohail has introduced her literary works, especially her poetry in Pakistan, by writing in both English and Urdu, besides getting her works translated from English and Bangla by some well-known poets and authors.
Janab S.A. Siddiqui,
As Salamo-Alaikum,
Received Haiku International today. It’s a great pleasure to have it. Though I love Haiku, I can’t make it. Haiku looks easy, but it is difficult to produce. I think there should be a section in the magazine for the learners or beginners, a sort of kindergarten or Haiku lab, so to say, where intending students can try and practice Haiku. The masters can help them how to handle the brush as to make perfect Haiku masterpiece. Your magazine provoked me to try. And I am trying to write Haiku. Here are some lame ones.
My favourite pastime is to write rhymes for children. Sometimes the rhymes suggest Haikuish thought faintly. Sending some for you to laugh at.
Professor Dr. Halima Khatun
[An excerpt of letter dated 30-07-1998]

Views of dignitaries on works of Sohail Ahmed Siddiqui-III
Brilliant Review
I am very grateful to you for all the good things you are bestowing upon me. The review of ‘The Rest of the Time’* is brilliant. I am again over whelmed with joy for the sincerity and the uniqueness of the tribute you paid for my poems. Frankly speaking yours is the first formal newspaper review of this book. So thank you so much.
Professor Dr. Halima Khatun
[An excerpt of letter dated 04-10-1998]
• One of the two English anthologies of the poetess, presented to Sohail, as a gift, besides one in Bangla. Sohail has also thrown some light on her collection of poems, ‘Silhouette and Starlight’ through his article published by an English daily.
Some are jealous, others are silent.
Janab Siddiqui,
Thank you so much for your kind enterprise regarding my book of poems.
May Allah bless you! I am really happy to receive the review in SHE. I am a lonely person. Here, I
am known as a writer of juvenile literature. Regarding my pomes, some are jealous, others are silent.
Professor Dr. Halima Khatun
[An excerpt of letter dated 07-12-1998]
Appreciation of Urdu translation
I appreciate my ‘Love in Mirror’, in Urdu though I can’t read it.
Professor Dr. Halima Khatun
[An excerpt of letter dated 21-03-1999]
Words fail to express
Dear Mr. Sohail Ahmed Siddiqui,
Works fail to express our gratitude for your kindness in sending us, “Haiku International”. THE DAIDO LIFE FOUNDATION
(May 28, 1999)
Deeply impressed
Dear Editor, Sohail Ahmed Siddiqui,
Many thanks for your kind letter, which arrived last week. We apologize for our delay in replying. We received ‘Haiku International’, (Book Two: October/December, 1998), in May last year from you directly. We deeply impressed with your study of Haiku, because we did not dream that Haiku would be popular in Pakistan. We all appreciate what you did and hope you continue your work for a friendship between Pakistan and Japan.
Thank you for your cooperation.
Secretary General
The Daido Life Foundation
Chairman World Haiku Club praises the untiring efforts of Sohail
Sohail Ahmed Siddiqui,
Haiku International, Karachi, Pakistan.
Dear Sohail,
Iqbal Haider is coming to visit me tomorrow (Thursday, 6 September 2001) here at the headquarters of the World Haiku Club (WHC). He is on his literary tour in the UK, after USA and has asked for this special meeting.* I wish to extend my warm welcome to him and feel most pleased and honoured to receive such a distinguished guest from Pakistan. Also, I hope from the bottom of my heart that this meeting will be a start of a long and significant friendship between WHC and the Haiku community in Pakistan.
Do you have a website of Haiku International, ** or of the Pakistan Haiku Society?
I have read the wonderful edition of Book V of Haiku International, featuring Iqbal, as well as Book VI featuring Rais Alvi with whom I also would like to make my acquaintance. As you say in the Editorial of the latter, also still regret deeply that you were not able to attend our World Haiku Festival-2000 London-Oxford Conference, 25-30 August 2000, due to the bureaucratic red tape.*** It was a resounding success and most definitely would have been made even more significant by your presence and contribution. I hope you will be able to attend a future World Haiku Festival of WHC.
Iqbal and I will be having a formal recorded interview tomorrow, which will be edited and published in our November issue of World Haiku Review, the comprehensive worldwide online official magazine of WHC. I will give a copy of this recording to Iqbal, which may be you are interested to publish it in Haiku International, but please discuss it with him when he is back.
I saw in one of the photos of Book V Mr. Sadaaki Numata, ambassador of Japan, who is a good friend of mine. Please give my warmest regard to him when you next see him. While he was posted in the UK, Mr. Numata kindly helped me to establish the World Haiku Club, which has now become a full-fledged worldwide network of Haiku lovers across the world. When Mr. Numata was here in the UK, WHC was only a small acorn. Now it has grown into a young tree and still growing.
We have just published the August issue of World Haiku Review. Please take a look at it at:
I will let you know how my meeting with Iqbal has gone. In the meantime, my best wishes to you and your family and to your magazine.

Susumu Takiguchi,
President, WHC,
(Through E-mail)
• Mr. Iqbal Haider visited the headquarters of World Haiku Club, at Sohail’s recommendations. • Official website of Haiku International is underway.
• Sohail tried hard, but could not enter into the office of Deputy High Commission, UK, crossing long queues, for three times.
Furthering Haiku on the Sub-continent
Dear Mr. Siddiqui,
Thank you very much for the copy of Mr. Naqvi’s book of Haiku, ‘Songs of the Land of the Rising Sun’ * which arrived today. I am pleased to see that you are furthering Haiku on the Sub-continent and especially so that the work appears in Urdu, a language long associated with great poetry.
Please convey my congratulations to Mr. Naqvi.
Best wishes,
Bill Higginson,
United States of America
* Sohail has translated the entire Haiku collection of Jamal Naqvi, entitled ‘Naghmay Suraj Des ke’ into English under the title, ‘Songs of the Land of Rising Sun’, published on January 01, 2000.
It looks great!
Dear Sohail,
Sorry I didn’t writer sooner. We were planning to run some of your English translations in the Spring issue, but ran out of space. Perhaps this Fall?
Thank you for the copy of your issue. It looks great. It was a nice touch to place the entire letter in Japanophile letterhead in the issue. It makes for good advertising!
Susan Lapp,
Ml, USA (04-09-1999)
Indeed, this book is unique in the sense that the Haiku composed in it have been presented with the translation in English and Japanese by Mr. Sohail Ahmed Siddiqui and Mr. Shigeyuki Ataka respectively...............This could be taken as a good omen for the literary scene of Pakistan, since for the first time, Haiku composed in Urdu will be introduced to the world through its perfect translation in English and Japanese languages.
Mr. Kazumi Dekiba, Consul General Of Japan, Karachi ( Excerpt from Speech delivered at the launch of 'Songs from the Land of Rising Sun':01012000)