Ek Jahan Aur Bhi Hai

In the realm of literature, perhaps its most popular form is the novel. Through its variety of themes and characters and also through kaleidoscopic projection of life, its appeals to wide interests.

During recent years, publishers in Pakistan too have preferred novels to short stories with the result that today our book-stalls are flooded with Urdu novels. Surprisingly, during recent years, women writers have come into foreground and most of the 'best-sellers' have been from the pen of women novelists.

Although the authoress of the book under review does not belong to the category of women writers who enjoy considerable popularity with the teen-agers - usually in middle class homes, she occupies an important place of her own. Endowed with a vivid sense of dramatic romance, she is distinguished for her deep insight into problems of the post-war generation, for her emotional sincerity, character delineations and her gift of 'innocent laughter.'

Although she has been writing good short stories and plays for over a decade, the authoress came into prominence with the publication of her first novel, AABLA PA which won for her, in 1964, the Adamji Prize for Literature. Between 1964 to date she has been writing short stories, plays and novels. So far two new collections of short stories and a short novel INTEZAR-I-MAUSAM-I-GUL have already appeared, besides, of course, the novel under review. These details reflect well on her prolific pen.

Ek Jahan Aur Bhi Hai centers upon the events that come into the life of a sensitive girl, Neelam, who is married to a widower, Asghar, a father of many children from his three previous marriages.

Neelam is young and full of life, Asghar is old and devoid of the throbbing energy of life. In addition he is a heart patient. Into their dull life comes Khawar who is a doctor. Ignoring the ailing husband, he immediately falls in love with her. Into this triangle, the novelist has filled in many other characters who go through the pangs of love and separation with the ebb and flow of life till the poignant end when the second heroine, Zarina, is married to someone else, not the lovable Azhar, and Neelam is once again lost in the labyrinth of her romantic fancy.

Although the characters have been drawn with sympathy and the plot is simple, the book follows a rather complex technique of 'flash-back' from events in the characters of one group to another.

- Anwar Enayetullah, DAWN March 15, 1970

    Copyright © 2004 Razia Fasih Ahmad