By Professor Dr. Saadat Saeed
Another intellectual turned travelogue writer A .B. Ashraf appeared on the horizon of Urdu literature as a research scholar and critic and served it rather resolutely. He is a university professor by profession and has some admirable creative work to. his credit. At present he is associated with the Urdu Department of the University of Ankara, Turkey. His maiden travelogue Zauq-e-Dasht Nawardi (love for wandering) has just appeared and has received tremendous response from literary circles for its dimensional approach and freshness of style. This travelogue contains the depictions of his experiences and observations during his visits to UK, Turkey, Greece, Yugoslavia, Italy, Hungary, Bulgaria, Syria, Jordan, Iraq and Egypt.
His explanations and literary comments about multifarious situations have a feeling of their own and he has the skill of depicting his experiences without falling back upon the rudiments of the undigested pieces of beliefs. Although he has been living in Turkey for the past many years, yet he has managed to keep intact his relationship with his national traditions.
Zauq-e-Dasbt Nawardi is a convincing documentation of his sensibility. He is working laboriously for the profundity of his native language.
He has many books to his credit. His love for literature is beyond doubt. Many Urdu critics have admired his incredible research and creative work on Agha Hashr, an Urdu playwright, Iqbal, the national poet,
Manto, a short story writer, Hakim Ahmad Shuja, a fiction writer and Ghalib, a phenomenal poet. Using his kaleidoscopic viewpoint he has also worked on the issues of social process and literature, Urdu stage drama, queries of literature and predicaments of Urdu drama.
In Zauq-e-Dasht Nawardi his literary taste seems at its peak. He visualises the cities of UK as paradise on earth. Enchantment of Turkish culture inspires him a lot. He calls Greece the land of Socrates, Austria, the oasis of beauty, romance, and peace. Czechoslovakia, the soil of mirror makers, Yugoslavia for him is a country of hills and grassy fields.
Zauq-e-Dasht Nawardi is full of cultural, social, political, literary and emotional details. In it a world decorated with beautiful faces and persons, is depicted and the writer seems to worship it.
A.B. Ashraf rightly says "Travelogue has become a regular form of literature. It possesses all well chosen qualities absorbed in the expressions of any other good form of literature.
As a sensitive visionary Dr A.B. Ashraf has attempted to encounter the world in his contact for his own self. When a reader flips through the pages of his travelogue, he finds himself at great ease because of the fluent and articulate language used in it. Everywhere in it we see an astonishing eye sparkling somewhere in the depths of his travelling universe which stops him not to adopt the commonly used weapons of bias, chauvinism, racism, sexism and partiality for degrading alien cultures. In his travelogue A.B. Ashraf has portrayed his amazement, bewilderment, detection, prototypes and morals in refined expressions.