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Syed Qasim Mahmood
--: Biography of Syed Qasim Mahmood :--




Syed Qasim Mahmood

Syed Qasim Mahmood born on17 November 1928 and died 31 March 2010. Pakistani intellectual and Urdu short story writer, novelist, editor, publisher, translator and for most encyclopedist of Pakistan. He compiled fifteen encyclopedias and one dictionary, (Seven encyclopedias can’t be completed), produced three collections of short stories, write one novel and one novelette, five dramas for Radio Pakistan, wrote story of one film, Bagi Spahi (rebel army man), translated master pieces of international fiction and Science & Technology, edited nine literary and Social Magazines and bring out nine Scientific and literary magazines. From his publishing companies, he published 211 Scientific and literary books, wrote many articles on Literature, Science, Politics, Sociology extra in national newspapers and magazines. It is his lifelong mission to spread knowledge and literature in his country through writing and publishing books & magazines where literacy rate is below normal. He was truly a jihadi … but against ignorance, illiteracy and fanaticism. In Pakistan a few of writers can bear their expenses from earning of pen; Qasim is included in this short list.

Syed Qasim Ali Shah was born in Kharkhoda, a town in district Sonipat, India. His ancestors were descendants of Imam Hassan, grandson of the prophet of Islam, Mohammed. His father, Syed Hashim Ali Shah was a landlord. Syed Hashim's father left behind many acres of land, but he could not mange this property. So he sells some land every year to bear his home & family expanses.

Syed Hashim was illiterate man and don’t like new western education which Sir Syed Ahmed Khan, famous Muslim reformer of India want to give to young Muslims. He called it “Kufur” (Disbelief). But Qasim’s Mother, Firdausi Begum wants to educate his beloved eldest son in school after madras education. She not only faces husband’s oppression but also sells her only Gold bangle, so with enough money Qasim can take admission in Town’s School. Qasim also didn’t disappoint mother and in 1940, stood first in Primary School Examination in whole Punjab province. He got 40 marks out of 40. Then Chief Minister Punjab, Sir Sikandar Hayat Khan (Punjabi politician) Came Kharkhauda to give Qasim a reward. Qasim become first Muslim child in Punjab who stood first in Primary Examination. In 1947 in Matriculation exam from Punjab University and again stood first in Ambala division of Punjab Province.

Qasim also took part in Pakistan movement. He was a joint sectary of Kharkhoda Primary Muslim league. Qasim's mother family live in Delhi. So during summer holidays, all children have a good time in Indian Capital. In 1946, after Matriculation exam, Qasim get a job in Hamdard dawakhana, Delhi and worked with well known intellectual, Hakim Said for some Months.

In 1947 Indians Muslims got a new country, Pakistan. Now millions of Indian Muslims embark on migration to Pakistan. At that time Qasim's parents are in Delhi, with all their children. Only Qasim is in Kharkhauda with his uncle. In August 1947, suddenly people of surrounding villages besieged Kharkhauda so they can kill all the Muslim of town. On 17 September, in a rainy night all Muslims silently come out from homes and begin walking towards Pakistan. But near Kharkhauda, thousand of people ambushed them. Except Qasim and four other people, all Muslims of town are slaughtered. Qasim hid in bushes and saved his life.

When assailants are gone, he walked on desolate ways and reach Delhi. But his parents and relatives, all are gone to Lahore, Pakistan. So Qasim also reach Lahore by Train. When Qasim reach Lahore, his pocket is empty and he is alone. But he knows, God help those who help themselves.

With Ashfaq Ahmed, Prof Sajjad Baqar Rizvi and Poet, Syed Razi Tirmizi in praising ceremony of a book, National book Council, 1970

Now he starts doing small jobs to earn money. He sells newspaper in bazaar, take a job of peon, become wood cutter and finally telephone lineman. At last, ho get a permanent job in famous Urdu national daily, “Zamindar” as a jack of all trades. Because Qasim naturally liked writing and literary activity, he develops intimacy with great Urdu writers and journalists i.e. Maulana Zafar Ali Khan, Maulana Azar Amritsari, Haji Laqlaq, Maulana Murtaza Ahmad Khan Maikash and Maulana Abu Saeed Buzmi extra. He intellectually benefitted from them greatly.

In 1948, when he tending shoes of namazies (prayer people) outside Australasia mosque, Lahore to earn some Rupees, he discovers his separated father and brothers. His family is living in tent, in nearby area. Now Qasim start giving financial helps to his family. He give fees of his eights brothers and sisters and they all got proper education. Due to this reason, he married lately, in age of 38 years.

Same year i.e. in 1948, he begins working in Monthly “Alamgir” as a manager. Alamgir is the famous literary magazine in those days. Hafiz Mohammad Alam is its proprietor and editor. There Qasim build friendship with noted writers, like Mirza Adeeb and Sheikh Mohammed Ismail Panipati. In 1949 he worked in weekly “Khiam” and also do a job in Publishers United, a famous publishing company from 1951 to 1960.

In January 1950 Qasim went to Punjab University, Lahore to receive his matriculation certificate. In the office he met assistant registrar, Mohammed Afzal. Qasim education guts impress him greatly. Mr. Afzal give Qasim a high pay clerical job in University. (In General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq Government, Dr. Mohammed Afzal was Minister of Education). In Punjab University Qasim become very active to promote Urdu as a National Language of Pakistan.

After some months Qasim set up an organization “Urdu league”. From this plate form, he wants’ to promote this idea that university office work must be done in Urdu. He thinks that national Language (Urdu) is a base for educational, Political and economical progress and prosperity. In Punjab university administration some folks are against Urdu. So they oppose Qasim tooth and nail. He write down articles and pamphlets against them, in the pen name of Qasim Mahmood, so he can't be traced. Otherwise he can lose his Job.

Many well-known people of Urdu literature i.e. Maulana Salahuddin Ahmed, Dr. M.D. Taseer, Justice S. A. Rahman, Taj Mohammed Khaial extra become his supporters. At last syndicate of Punjab University approved that office work will be done in Urdu.

From August 1950, University starts publishing “Science” and “Mashiat” (Economics). These were monthly magazines of Maulvi Abdul Haq’s organization, Anjuman Taraqqi-i-Urdu, which head office was located in Karachi. In Lahore both magazines were published by Punjab University as agreement with Anjuman. Arrangement was that, University will bear expanses of paper, press, binding, extra.
In university, the management work of these magazines was done by Qasim Mahmood. He also read proofs of articles. So he started correspondence with Baba-e-Urdu, Maulvi Abdul Haq. He also wrote some articles in “Mashiat”. That's why, Baba-e-Urdu thinks, Qasim is professor in Punjab University, although he was just a clerk.

In December 1950 Punjab University started a huge project, “Urdu Da’ira Ma’arif-i-Islamiya” (Urdu Encyclopaedia of Islam). Basically this was translation of Encyclopedia of Islam, a project of Leiden University. Its editor in chief was famous Persian and Urdu scholar, Professor Dr. Muhammad Shafi. Now Qasim become his assistant for office work and other duties. And after becoming researcher, he also wrote articles for Da’ira Ma’arif-i-Islamiya.

In those days, Qasim works 5 to 9 daily, so he can earn enough money for home expanses. In morning he gives three hours to famous Urdu literary magazine, “Hamaiun”. There he works as a circulation manager. Then he arrived in Punjab University. In evening, 4 to 6:30, he worked in famous publishing company, Maktaba e Jaidid. There he was part-time jack of all trades.” In maktaba, he got acquaintance of famous Urdu writers i.e.Qurratulain Hyder, Mumtaz Sharian, Shafiq-ur-Rehman, Saadat Hasan Manto, Muhammad Hasan Askari, Qudrat Ullah Shahab extra. From 7 to 8:30 Qasim do accounts in a shop, Rajput Zari House.

He was also news editor of newspaper “Khwateen” (women) for some months. This was first Urdu newspaper exclusively for Pakistani women. It was published by Paisa Akhbar, a publishing firm founded by famous Urdu editor, journalist and writer, Maulana Mahboob Alam.

With Qudrat Ullah Shahab and Mohammad Tufail,editor of well-known Urdu literary magazine Naqoosh, in praising ceremony of Mumtaz Mufti book, labbaik,1972.
In October 1951 Punjab Govt formed an organization, “Majlis-Zaban-i-Daftri” (Official Language Committee), so English terms used in official works can translated to Urdu. Only MA candidates are wanted to do this Job. Accidentally, Qasim is doing same job, i.e. translation of English terms in Urdu, for about one year in his capacity. So he sends some of his translation matter to Majlis-Zaban-i-Daftri secretary, Hakim Ahmed Shuja. Hakim Sahib was noted Urdu dramatist and also Speaker of Punjab Assembly. He sends Job's examination form also to Qasim Mahmood.

Although Qasim is only matriculate, he stood first in examination, among 66 candidates. Because his education standered is below, Hakim Ahmed Shuja Send his special case to Governor Punjab and renowned Pakistan movement Politician, Sardar Abdur Rab Nishtar. On 18 August 1951 Qasim met with Nishtar sahib. He gave permission to include Qasim in Majlis. He also gives him three yearly increments and said to Qasim: “You are young and energetic youth. In Urdu we have many romantic stories and tales, but books on science & Technology are very rare. So work on these books.” It's the first time that young Qasim herd the name of Encyclopedia.

So Qasim quit his university job and become member of official language committee. In Majlis-Zaban-i-Daftri Qasim got blessing of distinguished legendary literary men i.e. Justice S. A. Rahman, Professor Mahmood Ahmed Khan, Professor Taj mohmmed Khial, Maulana Salahuddin Ahmed and Dr. Syed Abdullah. Qasim also start attending sittings of famous Urdu literacy circle, Halqa-e Arbab-e Zauq. He was also regular attendee of Anjuman Tarraqi Pasand Mussanafin, Pakistan (Progressive Writers' Movement) and Halqa Arbab Ilm. Halqa Arbab Ilm was founded by Khawaja Dil Muhammad and Aga Bedar Bakht. Both ware famous intellectuals of their time.

In 1952, Qasim translate his first novel, Guy de Maupassant great work, Une vie. In Urdu novel name is “Aik Dil” (one's heart). One day Qasim contact Saadat Hasan Manto, perhaps Urdu greatest short story writer, so he can write forward of Aik Dil.
At that time Manto sahib was intoxicated. He read some lines of novel and then said in irrational tone to Qasim “You never become writer, you can't write a word.” Then he threw away the novel. When Qasim come out from Manto's house, tears in his eyes, he vowed to himself “Soon Manto Sahib will see, I will become leading writer of Pakistan.”

Now Qasim left his lucrative Majlis Job and start reading short stories in Halqa Arbab Zauq meetings. He got praise from writers and public as well. In coming years he remain joint sectary of Halqa till 1972 and took active part to organize literary meetings. Pak Tea House was center of literary gatherings. Poets, Qayyum Nazar, Nasir Kazmi, Shurat Bukhari, Amjad Altaf and short story writers, Ijaz Hussain Batalv, Intizar Hussain and Ashfaq Ahmed are his good friends.

A part from literary activity, he did series of different private jobs also. So the cart of life can be driven. Also he continued his education privately. Till 1956 Qasim done different jobs in Maktaba Jadid, Gosha e adab and Railway book stall (Publishing Companies), “Humayun“, (literary Monthly magazine) “Ujala” and “Qandeel” (Weekly social magazine) and “Imroz” and Nawa-i-Waqt (National Dailes). In mean time he finished his graduation.

In 1955, he takes admission in Urdu Dept of The University Oriental College, to earn a master Degree. Dept head was Dr Syed Abdullah. But he can’t complete his masters, due to his tight schedule.

In 1956 Qasim take decision that now on, he only work as a free lancer, away from Government job's which lock his weapon…Pen.

As mention, Qasim sahib was admirer of Urdu language. He had done Urdu translation of many English terms. He then wrote five Urdu books for students of Political Science and Economics i.e. “Asan Mashiat” (Economic made easy), “Mashiat kay Jadid Nazeray” (New theories of Economics), “Mubadi Mashiat” (Basics of Economics) and “Usool Siasiat ” (Basics of Political Science). All books are taught in different Pakistani colleges for many years.

He also compiles general knowledge books. For Albian, the publishing house of noted intellectual, Hanif Ramay, he wrote “Cleopatra Kee Kahani” (Life of Queen Cleopatra) and “Sikander Azam Kee Kahani” (Life of Alexander the great). He also writes “Science kia haih” (what is Science) in easy language for general readers. In 1956 he works as a sub editor in fortnightly “Sadiq” (Truth). Its editor was proclaimed scholar and poet, Syed Abid Ali Abid.

With Ahmad Nadeem Qasmi and may be Poet, Bashir badar in praising ceremony of a book, National book Council, 1971

In 1957 he got a job as Assistant Editor in “Lailo -Nihar” (Night and Day). This is a very famous social and literary magazine of those days. Famous Poet, Faiz Ahmed Faiz was Editor in Chief, and famed writer, Syed Sibte Hassan work as an editor. They both are bigoted communist also. In coming month, Qasim Edited famed “Lailo -Nihar” number “So Sala Jang Azadi 1857 Number” (Hundred years of independence war, 1857 No.). His short stories also publish in magazine. But due to ideological differences, Qasim can't go along with his seniors.

One day Qasim write an article. On first page, on the forehead he writes down “Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim” (In the name of God, Most Gracious, and Most Merciful). This is a customary practice of Pakistani and Indian Muslims so they can get divine blessing. When Sibte Hassan edited this article, he said to Qasim. “Erase bismallah from forehead.” Qasim say's to him “Erase with your pen, I will never do this.” But Sibte sahib persistence remains. At last Qasim left the Lailo -Nihar, but he didn't sell his belief. His salary was 350 rupees, which is quite big in those days. So now he is tending his big family somewhat easily. But he quit.

Now Qasim start looking a new job. After two months suddenly he was captivated by spiritual ecstasy. He then remains out of his senses for about one year. Qasim spent this time in a cell of Data Darbar, shrine of famous Sufi saint, Abul Hassan Ali Hajvery. When he got his senses, practical life once again start on. Qasim used to says “This is the finest year of my life.”

In 1958, Qasim compile a book “Jansi Rasomat” (Sexual customs). In it he describes sexual customs of old Greece, Rome, India, China, Japan, Indonesia, England, Pacific islands extra. Punjab Govt banned this book, calling it obscene. And Qasim was book in a case. In court, many eminent Urdu writers testify that this book is a knowledgeable and scientific innovation. So Qasim was acquitted with honor.

In late 1958, he becomes assistant editor of bimonthly research journal, “Sahifa” (a book) which is edited by Abid Ali Abid. Then he opens his own publishing house, “Shish Mahal Kitab Ghar” (Glass Palace Book House). He wants to publish Scientific, Technological and literary books. Also to spread modern knowledge in Pakistan, he begins publishing monthly “Ilm” (knowledge). This magazine becomes popular in intellectual circles.

In 1958 Qasim also compiled “Farhang Mashiat”. This is the first dictionary of Economics in Urdu. In 1959 he wrote a Novella, “Pundit Jalaluddin Nehru”. Its topic is Kashmir problem. In 1960 Qasim first anthology of short stories “Dewar Pather Kee” (Wall of Stones) was published by Classics, a publishing firm of Lahore. The entire anthology stories deal with socio, political and economic problem of Pakistani society.

In those days, USA Govt wanted to promote American Arts & Culture in Third world countries through his books, so she connected big American publishers. They like this project. Now USA Govt and big American publishers in collaboration started “Franklin Book Program”, a nonprofit publishing company. Branches are open in Egypt, Iran and East & West Pakistan.

Its country head for West Pakistan was noted writer and intellectual, Maulana Hamid Ali Khan, brother of Maulana Zafar Ali Khan. Famous Pakistani writers i.e. Maulana Salahuddin Ahmed, Maulana Ghulam Rasool Mehr, Shahid Ahmed Dehlvi extra translated high-quality American books in Urdu. Qasim is also included in team of Franklin writers, and translated some scientific and sociological books.

Qasim saw that these very excellent books also goes to libraries of Govt institutions, schools and colleges and then remain locked up in cabinets. He gave a proposal to Maulana Hamid Ali Khan, that Franklin must publish paperback books also, so common people, particularly students can buy them. Maulana sahib said to Qasim “you can publish these paperbacks, we give you financial help.” So then Qasim start publishing good American books in shape of paperbacks.

In 1964 Shish Mahal Kitab Ghar was closed due to personal reasons. But after publishing 24 literary and scientific books, it becomes quite popular in country.

In 1963, Qasim's only novel, “Chalay Din Bahar Kay” was published. The theme of novel is Pakistan’s Society changing norms and moral values, due to modern material life coming from west.

In 1964 Qasim become Editor in chief of Urdu's second Digest, “Siara Digest”. Due to his sound editorship and toil, Siara Digest becomes known social literacy and knowledgeable magazine.

In 1965 he joined the team of “Urdu Encyclopedia”, as an editor. Well known publishing firm, Ferozsons was compiling and publishing this encyclopedia. Syed Sibte Hassan has edited articles of Urdu alphabet “alif” to “ray”, written by staff of Feroze sons. Now Qasim wrote articles of alphabets of “seen” to “yay”, and completed the encyclopedia. He also edited his articles. As a policy of Feroz Sons, they did not publish name of editor or writer in Urdu encyclopedia. So only Ferozsons’s chairman, Dr A Wahid name was publish as Editor in chief.

In 1966, for some months, Qasim also edited eminent Urdu literary magazine “Adab-e-Latif”. He gave a new shape and style to magazine. Same year, second anthology of his short stories was published i.e. “Qasim Kee Mendi” (Qasim's Henna). In 1966, Franklin book program decided to compile and publish “Urdu Jamia Encyclopedia”. Its base was to be English language “Columbia Encyclopedia.” Now a board of editors was formed. Qasim is included in board. He worked with Justice S. A. Rahman, Prof. Hameed Ahmed Khan (V C, Punjab University), and famous Urdu writer, Maulana Ghulam Rasool Mehr. He participated in making of Index and wrote articles about History, Sociology and Anthropology. “Urdu Jamia Encyclopedia” was published in 1982 in two volumes.

In 1966, Pakistan Government agency for book promoting, National Book Council is looking a suitable person for his Lahore office as a head. Council's director general and legendary Urdu writer, Ibn-e-Insha want to give this job to Qasim Mahmood. But Qasim decline his offer because this is Govt job. When Insha Sahib Persistence Continue, at last he accept the job.

After becoming National Book Council's Lahore office Head, Qasim whole heartedly begin promoting book loving and development activities. He started monthly “Kitab” (Book) magazine. In it all articles are about new and old books and publishing activity. Then he started book fairs on very large scale in different parks. Public like these fairs and took part in large numbers. Qasim also started explanation or praising ceremonies of new books. This tendency becomes a trend setter and every writer or publisher begins to hold an explanatory ceremony of his new book.

Qasim Mahmood with Jahangir Khan (cricketer) and Maulana Abdul Sattar Khan Niazi in Book Fair, 1969

In 1967 Qasim selected precious parts of Quaid e Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah speeches and writings and then translated them into Urdu. This anthology of Pakistan founder saying was published in the name of “Quaid-e-Azam ka pagam”. It is first Urdu book of this kind and instantly become famous. National Urdu dailies regularly published Quaid’s sayings from this book.

In 1969 Govt of Pakistan decided to write down Lahore (or Pakistan) and Delhi Resolutions on platform of Minar-e-Pakistan on, marble tablets, so new generation can remember them. These Resolutions had to write down on marble by Calligraphers in a beautiful way. Qasim Mahmood was selected as an editor of this valuable project. First Qasim translated English Resolution in Urdu, then he acquire world famous calligraphers i.e. Hafiz Yousaf Sadidi, Iqbal Ibn-e-Parveen Raqam, Sufi Khursheed Alam, Muhammad Siddique Almas Raqam extra to do the job. Then under his watchful eyes, this nationally important work was completed smoothly. This project was headed by famous writer and Govt civil officer, Mukhtar Masood.

In early 1971, Qasim begin publishing fortnightly “Khialat” (Ideas). This magazine was reserved for scientific and fine arts. Same year he also started “Maloomat” (knowledge)…. biggest general Encyclopedia of Pakistan in installments. Unfortunately Indo-Pak war ruined his plans. Qasim has collected some money with toil to start Maloomat. During war no one interested to buy this Encyclopedia, so after publishing some installments, all the money was spent. He has to close down Maloomat and Khialat.

In December 1971 he again joins “Siara Digest” as an editor in chief. He worked there till December 1974. During this tenure, Qasim edited proclaimed numbers of Siara Digest i.e. “Quran No” and “Rasool No (prophet Muhammad No) ”.

In 1975 he founded his famous publishing company, “Maktaba Shahkar” (Classic's books). From Maktaba shahkar Qasim execute some such experiments which are unique not in Pakistan but also in world.

Undertaking first experiment, he published books in shape of magazine. As a matter of fact, there are large size paperback books. Due to this innovation, Urdu literary & knowledge books become very cheap. Books prices came down almost 75 percent. For this reason, Shahkar books become very popular in Middle and lower classes. Thousands of poor Pakistani people buy “Shahkar Jiridi” (magazine) books and made their own library in home… and this is the dream of Qasim Mahmood. He made every book so cheap that now everyone can buy easily. For this achievement he was praised by Swedish, Japanese, Filipino, Indian and Nepalese publishers and intellectuals.

Qasim also published some books in shape of Newspaper, Digest and Pocket size. Till 1980, Maktaba Shahkar published one hundred Twenty five literary and scientific books. Then due to various reasons, this revolutionary publishing house was closed. First of all, other publishers feel jealousy from Shahkar books. They also start publishing their own Jirdi books. This was their right, but they secretly planted their moles in Maktba Shahkar, so they can know which books are coming in next weeks. (Qasim published one new book every week).

In meantime Pakistan's political panorama become very hot. Riots take place and closure of all shops become norm. In 1977 General Ziaul Haq imprisons Prime Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and proclaimed martial law in country. Qasim had ideological differences with Bhutto, but he was also staunch foe of dictatorship. So he fought a very vigorous war with generals who have executed the democracy. He had no personal interest attach to his effort. That's why when Bhutto’s daughter, Benazir Bhutto made mistakes during her premiership, Qasim boldly criticize her. He is a man of ideological principles.

With famous intellectuals of Pakistan, Maulana Hamid Ali Khan and his brother, Professor Hamid Ahmad Khan, ex Vice-Chancellor of University of the Punjab, in praising ceremony of a book, National book Council, 1968

In 1977, Qasim has started literary weekly magazine, “Qafla” (Caravan). He changed it into a political magazine and from his sword… i.e. pen initiate furious attack on Martial law Govt. Also from Maktaba Shahkar he published imperative political and intellectual book i.e. “Murda Bhutto, Zanda Bhutto” (Dead Bhutto, Alive Bhutto), “Qual Bhutto” (Sayings of Bhutto), Bhutto's biography, “Bhutto Takhtadar per” (Bhutto mount the Scafolled) extra. All books are written by noted writer and translator, Sattar Tahir.

Dictators of Pak Govt can't tolerate harsh critic of this kind. So Punjab governor, Lt Gen (r) Ghulam Jilani Khan send Qasim Mahmood this message “You have angered General Ziaul Haq. Now it's better for you to migrate Karachi and keep your mouth shut.” This is a soft message; side by side he also received threats that his books business will be ruined.

In those days, Qasim is writing great Urdu classic tale, “Talism Hoshruba” in easy Urdu for young generation. Punjab Govt banned this tale because of obscenity. So a great tale of Urdu literature adjudge indecent by dictators. This event becomes a matter of ridicule in Indian Urdu literary circles.

Due to the cunning tactics of dictators, miserable national conditions and other reasons, Maktaba Shahkar collapsed. Now Qasim is forced to migrate Karachi with his family. He migrates in state of helplessness…Second time in his life. When he arrived in Karachi, Qasim have some hundred rupees in pocket, but his heart was full of courage.

From 1976 to 1977, Qasim was one of the five members of Punjab Govt's Majlis-Zaban-i-Daftri. In this position he took part in compiling 500 pages dictionary of official terms (English to Urdu). Other members of the committee were Professor Mahmood Ahmed Khan, well known Poet, Sufi Ghulam Mustafa Tabassum, famous Urdu critic, Professor Waqar Azeem, Dr. Syed Abdulla and principle Govt College, Lahore, Dr. Nazir Ahmed.

Qasim Mahmood with Nobel laureate of Pakistan, Dr Abdus Salam in 1986
After reaching Karachi, he edited known Urdu magazine, “Alami Digest” for some months. He also translates master pieces of international fiction for well known magazine i.e. “Sabrang” and “Qaumi Digest”. Then Qasim work as a deputy editor “Nawa-i-Waqt”, Karachi. But he wants to continue his book Promoting mission. So when he got senses back, Qasim open his publishing house in the new name of Shahkar Book Foundation”. From this company he published 35 paperback books. Again they are very cheap, according to his lifelong mission, so poor people can also buy scientific and literary books.

In 1975, Qasim had start publishing “Shahkar Islami Encyclopedia” and “Baby encyclopedia” in installments, so poor also can buy. Due to shady circumstances, Urdu’s first encyclopedia for children, Baby Encyclopedia can't be completed. But Islamic Encyclopedia completed in time and this was a huge accomplish. Islamic Encyclopedia was published in 1984, in one volume. This is biggest Encyclopedia of Islam in Urdu, after Punjab University's Da’ira Ma’arif-i-Islamiya.

In 1985, Qasim founded monthly Urdu magazine, “Talib-e-Ilum” (Student). At first it was literary and intellectual magazine. But soon it was named “Science Magazine”. Now this magazine was reserved to promote science & technology in Pakistan. Science magazine took active part through articles to educate masses about modern Scientific and technological developments. His pupil and ex editor of Science Magazine, Aleem Ahmed is also publishing now only truly Urdu scientific monthly magazine, “Global Science”.

Science Magazine is the first Pakistani publication which published on its title, picture of country’s only Nobel laureate, Dr. Abdul Salam. Because Dr. Abdul Salam was an Ahmadi Muslim, Pakistani media didn’t give much attention to Dr. Sahib. Qasim Mahmood also published many writings of Dr. Abdul Salam and a biography is also printed.

One day, Qasim received a message from some religious leaders, declaring “Abdul Salam is Non Muslim, so refrain from him and his writings.” Qasim Sahib answered “I only publish his scientific views. I have no concern about his faith. I believe whole heartedly on Khatim an-Nabuwwah, but I think, there is no evil to publish Dr. Abdul Salam articles, along with those of a Jew Albert Einstein and Christians Newton or Carl Sagan.

Due to finical constrains, which Qasim faced whole his life, he again forced to shut down Science Magazine in 1995. The Pakistan Govt and people, both are more interested in politics and sports, instead of science, Technology and literature. In 1985 he edits and then publishes “Islamic Almanac”. It was sequence of Islamic encyclopedia and contains new and modern knowledge about world of Islam.

In 1986 Qasim edited and publish “Encyclopedia Falqiat” (Encyclopedia of Astronomy) in installments. This was completed successfully in 1987. Then he edited and publishes “Encyclopedia Ijadat” (encyclopedia of Inventions). It was also publish in installments and completed in time.

Actually these encyclopedias are part of much bigger “Encyclopedia Science”. Related to this, Qasim also wrote three books i.e. “Islamic Science”, “Muslim Science” and “Hamri Kianat” (Our Universe). In these books we found information about History of Science in Islamic World, human Friendly works of Muslim Scientist and their biographies. Hamari Kianat is about Cosmology. Unfortunately for Pakistanis, due to unscientific atmosphere, Encyclopedia of Science can't be completed.

In 1988, Qasim started “Afsana Digest”, a monthly magazine reserved for short stories. It's editor was his son, Syed Asim Mahmood. Afsana digest published works of art of international and national fiction and become popular in literary circles. In 1988, Qasim also edited “Pakistan Digest”. This magazine is reserved for Pakistan history, culture, literature, fine arts extra.

In 1990, he started “Pakistan Open University.” Its aim was to give wide-ranging knowledge of Pakistan Studies to new Pakistani generation. Many young students join the Open University, receive literature about Pakistan Studies, give examination and got a certificate.

Also in 1990, Qasim created his prominent compiling work “Ilm-e-Quran”. It contains, side by side, Arabic Quran, English translation of Quran by Allama Abdullah Yusuf Ali, Urdu translation of Maulana Fateh Mohammed Jalandhari and explanation by different religious intellectuals. In 1995 Ilm-e-Quran was published for Indian Muslims in five languages i.e. Arabic, English, Urdu, Hindi and Guajarati.
1991 to 2000

In 1992, Qasim started a new monthly magazine “Islami Digest”. Writing related to Islamic history, civilization, culture, politics, fine arts, science extra was publish in this magazine.

Also In 1992, he compiled two memorable books, “Roha Al Quran” (Soul of Quran) and “Roha Al Hadis” (Soul of Narrations of Prophet Muhammad). These books are selection of Quranic subjects and narrations and are popular in people.

Qasim set in motion work of another mile stone of his life “Encyclopedia Pakistanica” (Encyclopedia of a Pakistani) in 1995. This mammoth work was completed in 1997, but after quite agonizing time. Unfortunately, in late 1997, his right arm was paralyzed due to weakness. Qasim then pray to God, bestow health and strength to his arm, so he can complete Encyclopedia of Pakistan. God accepted his pray. Then Qasim's right arm become healthy and workable till death. Encyclopedia of Pakistan is first Urdu encyclopedia covering with detail, the History of Pakistan, Culture, Fine arts, Politics, Geography, people and etc.

In 1998 Qasim again migrated to Lahore, city of parks. Same year he begin working with Pakistan Academy of Letters as advisor of books. With finical help from Academy now he starts editing “Pakistani Bachioan ka Encyclopedia” (Encyclopedia for Pakistani Children). Also he plans to edit “Encyclopedia Adabiyat” (Encyclopedic of Literature). Unluckily when Nawaz Sharif Govt was ended by General Pervaiz Musharf, his plans were also abolished.

In 1999 Qasim begin editing and publishing “Encyclopedia Tarikh Insaniat” (Encyclopedia of Human Kind History). It was also published in installments. In this encyclopedia he wants describe humankind religious, political, economical, sociological, cultural, scientific, literary and technological history. But only 8 installments were published. He had to close this project due to adverse behavior of people; they have for science and knowledge.

In 2000 Qasim start writing and compiling “Seerat Encyclopedia”. In this encyclopedia all articles are about Muhammad’s life, childhood and early life, Career, Conquests, ideas extra. This work was completed in 2004.

In 2004 he becomes joint editor of weekly “Ahyia Khilafah”. This religious and political magazine is published by Tanzeem e Islami, organization of noted Islamic Scholar, Dr. Israr Ahmed. Qasim edited memorable numbers of Ahyia Khalafah, i.e. Pakistan no, Iqbal no, Pakistan Movement no, Theory of Pakistan no, Strengthen Pakistan no. and Kashmir Problem no. He also wrote a long series about Islamic movements of Muslim history in magazine.

In 2005, Qasim commence a new project, “Encyclopedia Muslim India”. In this work, he wanted to discuss political, economical, sociological and religious history of Muslims of sub continent. Twelve installments of this encyclopedia were published. Due to ill health, Encyclopedia Muslim India was not completed. Also in 2005 Qasim started a new and his last magazine, “Ahiya-e-Uloom” (Revival of Knowledge). From this platform, he wants to give this message to Pakistanis and all Muslims of world “Only through revival of science and technology, Muslims can grow and progress in new era.” In the magazine, all published articles are propagating this message. He also wants to write and edit “Ahiya-e-Islam Encyclopedia”, a detailed history of Muslim world 

In 2006 he becomes advisor of books in Iqbal Academy, Lahore. Qasim Mahmood was admirer of Subcontinent poet and philosopher, Mohammed Iqbal. He also wrote a book “Piaam Iqbal Ba Nojwan Milliat” (Message of Iqbal to new Generation), so Young Pakistanis Know the philosophy and meaning of their life, in the light of Iqbal's Sayings.

In 2007, third collection of Qasim's short stories “Syed Qasim Mahmood kay Afsaney” (Short stories of Qasim Mahmood) was published.

In 2008, as a translator, he did a marvelous job for Urdu world. He translated in Urdu, Origin of Species, a masterpiece, written by Charles Darwin. In Urdu its name is “Asal Anwaa.” It was published by National Language Authority, Islamabad.

In 2009, Qasim start writing his last work, “Encyclopedia of Quran.” In this gigantic book, he wanted to insert everything related to Quran. Six installments of this encyclopedia were published, then he died. Also in 2009 he conceived an idea for children encyclopedia on the behalf of AFAQ (Association for Academic Quality). In September 2010, his idea becomes reality and “Afaq Encyclopedia” for children starts publishing in installments.[9] His son, Asim Mahmood is associated with this encyclopedia.

Syed Qasim Mahmood was patient of Diabetes, Ulcer and diseases of heart and kidneys. In November 2009, suddenly he feels unwell and become constant companion of bed. He never recovered and in morning of 31 March 2010, he died peacefully.

In the heart, Qasim was a Sufi (Mystic) and loved all human kind, irrespective of religion, color, creed extra. He worked till last breath to distribute knowledge among Pakistanis and never thinks that he deserves award or reward.

Pakistan Govt want’s to give him some kind of award, but Qasim again and again refuses their proposals. Actually he thinks, after death of Quaid e Azam in 1948, there is not a single Pakistani Govt which come up to known standards of justice, good governance and obey law. That's why he refuse to take any kind of award from any Pakistani Govt, may be democratic or dictatorial. He used to say: “Any writer, which take a reward from Govt, in shape of employment, money, award or any other thing, for his services rendered to Pakistani people & Pakistan, he is puppet of Govt and a traitor of Pakistan." He married in 1967. His wife, Syeda Shamiam Gillani belongs to respectable family. They have two sons and two daughters. His eldest son, Syed Asim Mahmood is also researcher, editor, writer and Journalist.

Qasim was not angel, he have human flaws. His most imperfection was littleness of resolute mind. He grows erary soon and start a new project. That's why his some projects remain incomplete.

Qasim as a thinker feels, Muslims of 21st century must embrace Science & technology, for this is an only way for progress and prosperity of Ummah. But they should not abandon the ethics of their religion and eastern moral codes, which are different from western codes in connection with obscenity. Otherwise he thinks, the ethics of mostly first world people is better than many Muslims, and in the line of teachings of Islam.


Short story anthologies, novels

Dewar Pather Kee (Wall of Stones)
Qasim Kee Mendi (Qasim's Henna).
Syed Qasim Mahmood kay Afsaney (Short stories of Qasim Mahmood)
Chalay Din Bahar Kay (By gone days of spring), Novel
Pundit Jalaluddin Nehru, novelette
Encyclopedias, edited and compiled
Urdu Encyclopedia
Urdu Jamia Encyclopedia
Maloomat (knowledge…. General Encyclopedia)
Shahkar Islami Encyclopedia
Baby encyclopedia
Islamic Almanac
Encyclopedia Falqiat (Encyclopedia of Astronomy)
Encyclopedia Ijadaat (encyclopedia of Inventions)
Encyclopedia Science
Encyclopedia Pakistanica (Encyclopedia of a Pakistani)
Pakistani Bachioan ka Encyclopedia (Encyclopedia for Pakistani Children).
Encyclopedia Tarikh Insaniat (Encyclopedia of Human Kind History).
Seerat Encyclopedia
Encyclopedia Muslim India
Encyclopedia of Quran
Edited magazines
Khwateen (women)
Ujala (dawn)
Qandeel (candle)
Sadiq (Truth)
Lailo -Nihar (Night and Day)
Sahifa (a book)
Siara Digest
Kitab (Book)
Khialat (Ideas)
Qafla (Caravan)
Alami Digest
Talib-e-Ilum (Student)
Science Magazine
Afsana Digest
Pakistan Digest
Islami Digest
Ahyia Khilafah
Ahiya-e-Uloom (Revival of Knowledge).
Books, written or compiled
Asan Mashiat (Economic made easy)
Mashiat kay Jadid Nazeray (New theories of Economics)
Mubadi Mashiat (Basics of Economics)
Usool Siasiat (Basics of Political Science).
Cleopatra Kee Kahani (Life of Queen Cleopatra)
Sikander Azam Kee Kahani (Life of Alexander the great)
Science kia haih (what is Science)
Jansi Rasomat (Sexual customs)
Farhang Mashiat (dictionary of Economics)
Quaid-e-Azam ka Pagam (Quaid e Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah speeches and writings)
Besiwian Sadi Aur Amriat (Twentieth Century and Dictatorship)
Roha Al Quran (Soul of Quran)
Roha Al Hadis (Soul of Narrations of Prophet Muhammad)
Nawab Muhammad Ismail Khan (life and achievements of the well-known luminary of Pakistan Movement )
Piaam Iqbal Ba Nojwan Milliat (Message of Iqbal to new Generation)
An introduction to contemporary knowledge, C. E. M. Joad
Origin of Species, Charles Darwin
Islam and Pakistan's Identity, Justice Javed Iqbal
The Physiology of Sex, Kenneth walker
The Immense Journey, Loren Eiseley
The Great Ascent, Robert L. Heilbroner
Inventivity, Robert E. Mueller
Patterns of Culture, Ruth Benedict
What is a Classic? TS Eliot


A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens
Sea Of Grass, Conrad Richter
Weathering Heights, Emily Brontë
The Gambler, Fyodor Dostoevsky
Une vie, Guy de Maupassant
Lust for Life, Irving Stone
Bhowani Junction by John Masters
Captain Caution, Kenneth Roberts
The Death of Ivan Ilyich, Leo Tolstoy


Tamerlane, Christopher Marlowe
A Doll's House, ibsen
Justice, John Galsworthy
La Mort de Tintagiles, Maurice Maeterlinck
Antony and Cleopatra, William Shakespeare
Macbeth, William Shakespeare
Othello, William Shakespeare
Hamlet, William Shakespeare
Romeo and Juliet, William Shakespeare

Short stories

The Dual (Alexander Pushkin), The Bet, The Kiss (Anton Chekhov), The Shirts (Carl Capek), The Horse-Dealer's Daughter, The Prussian Officer (D. H. Lawrence), The Wide Net (Eudora Welty), A Christmas Tree and a Wedding, The Thief (Fyodor Dostoevsky), Dove and Jackal (Frank Brownlee), A Passion in the Desert (Honoré de Balzac)

Source : Wikipedia



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