Archive for Publishing

Waheed Murad’s biography released in Pakistan

Waheed Murad: His Life and Our Times cover

SK: The much-anticipated Pakistani edition of Waheed Murad: His Life and Our Times, which was published in the UK by Libredux Publishing last year, has just been released as of yesterday (16 August 2016). Below is Khurram Shafique’s announcement email:


My dear friends,

Please allow me to write this email on a personal note, and speak straight from the heart.

With my new book, I might be questioning our understanding of almost everything – I have myself experienced this paradigm shift due to the influence of Iqbal’s teachings, and now I’m sharing the crux of it all in my new book, Waheed Murad: His Life and Our Times.

Waheed Murad: His Life and Our Times cover

The title is deceptive.

The book is the story of Iqbal’s literary movement after his death in 1938. We know that the dreams of this movement came true when Iqbal’s party gained a spectacular victory in the election of 1945-46, paving the way for the birth of Pakistan (including the present-day Bangladesh). We also know that every school of thought except one had rejected this goal within the first seven years of the country’s existence.

In my book, I’m telling the story of the only school of thought that remained committed to the goal the nation had adopted under the Quaid. This school has been banished from our academic and intellectual life, and has been disinherited most treacherously.

Therefore, this is not the story of a filmstar. It is your story. It is our story. It is about how our dreams, our ideals, and perhaps even our souls got stolen and how we still do not know. Where did they go? This is what I’m trying to answer in Waheed Murad: His Life and Our Times.

The book is the result of my journey of discovery in the light of whatever I learnt from Iqbal. What I found in this journey, I’m sharing here with you, with a promise that after reading this book, your perception of Pakistan will change forever.

The book is now available in Pakistan through TCS, at their website (credit card is not needed). Special price of the Pakistani edition is Rs.300. It has been published by Libredux, who also published the UK-US edition last year, and is being distributed in Pakistan by Topline Publishers.

I hope that you will enjoy this book.

Regards

Khurram Ali Shafique

Waheed Murad: His Life and Our Times – Out Now

Waheed Murad Biography CoverLibredux Publishing is pleased to announce a brand new title: Khurram Ali Shafique’s book, Waheed Murad: His Life and Our Times, which went into print yesterday (16 September 2015) and is already available at Amazon’s US and UK sites. It’s the second title in a series of three titled Visionaries for Our Times. (The first of the series was Libredux’s previous publication: Iqbal: His Life and Our Times.) The third installment in the series, on the life of Cyrus the Great, will be released within the next year.

Following from the themes of the first book, this is not merely a biography of Pakistan’s greatest film star. It’s the story of a visionary whose films aimed to reflect the ideals of Iqbal.

Intro from the back cover follows.


 

The face that changed the way a nation saw itself

Presenting the first complete biography of Waheed Murad, covering the diverse aspects of his enchanting personality – filmmaker, writer, superstar and the man behind the legend. In these pages you will discover his unique vision for an ideal world: One that can be created through love and a strong will, where intellect and reason have failed to do so.

Khurram Ali Shafique is an internationally renowned scholar of Iqbal Studies, and a recipient of the Presidential Iqbal Award. He is also a screenwriter, educationist and historian. He began writing this book soon after the death of Waheed in 1983, but it took more than thirty years to piece together all the parts of this amazing story.

Iqbal: His Life and Our Times – Releasing 8 May 2014

(Reproduced with minor edits from my mailing list message dated today, 5 May 2014). Pass it on!

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Iqbal: His Life and His Times

Hello Folks,

As an update to my previous message, the UK/US edition of Iqbal: His Life and Our Times is due for release on Thursday 8 May at 8 p.m. British time. If you purchase a copy directly from CreateSpace in the first 72 hours, you will get a discount of 15% off the price (follow the instructions on that page). This discount applies to the US price but you will save money even if you are purchasing from outside the US (including but not exclusively Canada, Australia, UK and elsewhere in Europe). Don’t miss out!

The general edition will be released in Pakistan soon – date to be confirmed. If you would like updates on the Pakistani release, let me know and I’ll put you on a temporary mailing list for the purpose.

In the meantime, below is the introduction to the book by the directors of the Iqbal Academy and the ECO Cultural Institute, as taken from the author’s (Khurram Ali Shafique) mailing list and blog at the Marghdeen Learning Centre.

All the Best, & Take Care Folks,

Saleena

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Introduction
by
Muhammad Suheyl Umar, Director, Iqbal Academy Pakistan;
and Iftikhar Arif, Director, ECO Cultural Institute (ECI)

Dr. Sir Muhammad Iqbal (1877-1938) is the only poet and thinker in the history of world literature who has been credited with the birth of a new nation and a new state. It is therefore very befitting that a handbook about his life and thought should be brought out by an organization comprising of ten member states. The Economic Cooperation Organization’s Cultural Institute (ECI) is pleased to bring out this publication jointly with Iqbal Academy Pakistan.

In addition to his unique status in Pakistan, Iqbal also happens to be either a national poet or a household inspiration in several other countries including Iran, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and India. In Turkey, his symbolic grave stands in the compound of the mausoleum of Maulana Jalaluddin Rumi. In the universities of Heidelberg and Cambridge, there are chairs or fellowships in his name. Roads, buildings and monuments have been named after him in other countries too, including Mauritius.

Iqbal: His Life and Our Times fulfils the need for a simple and reliable introduction to the life and work of this unmatched genius, highlighting the practical relevance of his ideas for those who wish to consider them for implementation. The author, Khurram Ali Shafique, is well-known in the field of Iqbal Studies. The awards which he has received for his previous publications include the coveted Presidential Iqbal Award.

The present volume includes many findings that are the outcome of the author’s original research. Of special interest to the general readers as well as the experts would be the evidence, presented here for the first time, which establishes a historical connection between the political ideas of Iqbal, the American thinker Mary Parker Follett and the Bengali visionary C. R. Das.

We are hoping that this volume will offer much by way of looking at the present times from new avenues.

  • It is shown here that the views expressed by Iqbal in his poetry and prose formed a coherent system of thought, and the same was implemented by him through political and social action. This is to dispel the myth which has been preventing a deeper understanding of Iqbal’s thought until now, i.e. the false but widely perpetuated assumption that the ideas presented by Iqbal were either inconsistent with each other or they kept undergoing such perpetual changes throughout his life that they cannot be considered for implementation in any other time.
  • The system of his thought and its underlying principles are being presented here, perhaps for the first time. It is also being shown that in spite of its inner coherence, the system of Iqbal’s thought kept pace with the evolution of the collective life of his community.
  • This evolution can be studied by dividing the intellectual life of the poet-philosopher into three stages: inquiry, discovery and transcendence. The duration of each stage has been established here on the basis of biographical and textual evidence, and the book has been divided into three chapters accordingly.
  • Each of these three stages started in his mental life when his community adopted a new goal collectively. The goals, their relevance to the world and humanity, their implications for Iqbal, and his contribution towards achieving them are issues which are being discussed here in a fresh light. This may turn out be one of the most significant contributions which this book will make to the subject.

If the nations of the world desire to come closer in their hearts and minds, they cannot ignore to learn about the ideas, emotions and visions of each other. The Economic Cooperation Organization’s Cultural Institute (ECI), formed through a charter at the third summit meeting of the countries of ECO held at Islamabad in 1995, aims at fostering understanding and the preservation of the rich cultural heritage of its members through common projects in the fields of media, literature, art, philosophy, sport and education.

The present volume is being offered in line with this vision, and with the conviction that it is important for everybody to be informed about the ideas of Iqbal, since they may be counted among those cultural forces which have gone into shaping a significant part of our world.

This conviction is shared by Iqbal Academy Pakistan, a statutory body of the Government of Pakistan, originally established through an act of parliament in 1951 and reinforced through an ordinance in 1962. The aims and objectives of the Academy are to promote and disseminate the study and understanding of the works and teachings of Iqbal. The Academy has been translating its objectives into action and activity through a number of measures including publication programme, IT projects, outreach activities, Iqbal Award Programme, website, research and compilation, audio-video, multimedia, archive projects as well as exhibitions, conferences, seminars, projection abroad, research guidance, academic assistance, donations and library services.

We hope that the readers will benefit from the book which we are offering here jointly, and this will go a long way in achieving our common objectives.

Posted By Khurram Ali Shafique to Marghdeen at 5/05/2014 04:52:00 AM

Announcement: A Completely Different Book on Iqbal

(Reproduced with minor edits from my mailing list message dated today 21 April 2014). Feel free to pass it on!

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Hello Folks,
 

It’s been a while since I last sent out a message to this list, and to many of my friends, I have been completely out of touch for a long time (for reasons that are not important here). For that I apologise.

Today is the anniversary of Iqbal’s death, an annual day of remembering the poet-philosopher’s message and what it means not only for people in the Indian subcontinent but also humanity as a whole. Iqbal has been simultaneously been celebrated and misunderstood since the time he was alive, and numerous biographies have been written on him. I’m pleased to announce the imminent release of a new biography on Iqbal, of which Libredux Publishing is printing the UK/US edition.

But this book is unlike the standard biographies on Iqbal. For a start, its author is Khurram Ali Shafique, who is known by most of you as the man behind the Marghdeen Learning Centre, and whose previous biography on Iqbal won him the Presidential Iqbal Award. But to really explain why this book is different, I can do no better than to reproduce its blurb:

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-
Iqbal: His Life and His Times
THE MIND OF GOETHE,
THE HEART OF RUMI,
THE SPLENDOUR OF TAJ MAHAL. *

 

This was the unparalleled legacy of the poet-philosopher credited with birthing a nation and a state, and at no other time has the world been more ready to embrace his ideas than it is right now.

The story of his mind, and what he taught, as told herein from a new and compelling angle, leads us on a trail of discovery towards a new way of life. You’re invited to approach this as a handbook for implementing his life-giving ideas.

Written by a foremost authority on the subject, this is a tribute to Dr. Sir Muhammad Iqbal (1877-1938) by ten sovereign states: Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan are members of the Economic Cooperation Organization, whose Cultural Institute (ECI) has published this book jointly with Iqbal Academy Pakistan.

JOIN US NOW AS IQBAL’S LEGACY CONTINUES TO UNFOLD THROUGH THE LIVES OF US ALL.

 

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Release date is yet to be confirmed, but it will be in the next couple of weeks. Stay tuned for updates.
 
All the Best, & Take Care Folks,
 
Saleena

 

Postscript 26/Apr/2014 * Since the time of writing this, the line has been changed from The Splendour of Taj Mahal to The Message of the Quran.

 

Happy New Year 2013 and roundup of 2012

2012 has been an extremely eventful year for me. At the beginning of the year I published Systems and launched this blog soon afterwards (18 Jan). I thought I’d write the odd post here and there, but so much happened this year that I never got round to sharing some of the news here. So consider this post a roundup of 2012, with the previously untold news thrown in.

The Procrastinator reading Systems

The Procrastinator reading Systems

Systems

On 2 July, Systems (and its trailer) first became a part of a course (rather aptly, The Wisdom of Moses* course) at the Marghdeen Learning Centre, an associative educational body of Iqbal Academy Pakistan. By 11 October, with the commencement of the course on Biological Unity, Systems attained a permanent part of the reading material, alongside Iqbal’s Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam and Khurram Shafique’s 2017: The Battle for Marghdeen (which was published by Libredux Publishing). Anyone who joins these courses gets a free copy of the novel.

And Systems also made a brief appearance on the big screen, with the airing of my brother Shahid Karim’s Terminator spoof titled The Procrastinator at the Bang! Short Film Festival in Nottingham on 24 November.

* In Systems, Prof. Omar is very loosely based on Moses. He is from Egypt, his son is named Aaron, and parts of the Systems story line allude to Moses’ exodus. And of course, E3 is based on the tyrants who were also Moses’ opponents in his time.


Lbredux logo

Libredux Publishing

Systems was published under the imprint name Libredux Publishing. I had no other plans for Libredux, but it also became the publisher of Khurram Shafique’s 2017: The Battle for Marghdeen on 14 August (Pakistan Independence Day) and also the co-publisher of two other titles shortly afterwards (below).

 

The Qur'anic System of Sustenance

Translation work

This year saw the release of two titles edited and translated by myself and my father Fazal Karim: The Qur’anic  System of Sustenance and Did Quaid-e-Azam Want to Make Pakistan a Secular State?, both authored by G.A. Parwez (1906-1985). Both titles were co-published by Tolu-e-Islam Trust and Libredux Publishing.

At present, The Qur’anic System of Sustenance is also being turned into an audio book. My brother Shahid is the narrator.

Other publications

On 23 March this year this article of mine appeared in the Pakistani newspaper’s Dawn Special Report on the Lahore Resolution of 1940.

Deliver! logo

This year I collaborated with the think tank PakistanFirst on a paper for an ‘alternative economy’, inspired by a model that was covered in Shahid’s news show Deliver! in 2009 (aired on Venus TV in the UK. See the clip from that show here). The paper is on the verge of release.

 

Visionary Fiction Alliance logo

Visionary Fiction Alliance

I and eleven other authors founded the Visionary Fiction Alliance (17 August), dedicated to promoting fiction of the kind that explores human potential. I’m now one of its admins. The story of how we came together can be found here.

TV appearance

Most of you won’t know that I have taken part in a documentary on Dr. Iqbal’s philosophy, produced by the Iqbal Academy, Pakistan. Parts of it were shot in Cambridge. The filming of my part took four hours in a very hot room (it was the middle of July) but quite enjoyable considering that I have a total (and I mean, total) fear of public speaking. You probably won’t catch me in front of a camera again. :D The documentary is still in production and it should be televised some time in 2013.

… And that’s just about everything.

Coming up in 2013

1) The re-release of Systems (re-edited, and with extras)

2) Hitoshi’s song My Fate from Systems to be recorded

3) The Cohesive Ethics Theorem should get a formal write-up, but with a twist

4) Re-making of The Way: My brother’s first ever film, which can be described as having a visionary story line, is being re-made this year. I was the composer of its original soundtrack, and I’ll be the composer again for the remake.

5) More to come. Watch this space.

 

Happy New Year 2013.

Interview at Michelle Gordon’s blog

Today I’m being interviewed at Michelle Gordon’s blog. Michelle’s interest is in all things spiritual, and she is author of The Earth Angel Training Academy. She is also a founding member of the upcoming Visionary Fiction Alliance.

This explains why the questions she asked me were little different from the norm. I was asked about my ‘spiritual’ beliefs rather than just about my writing. Since this kind of stuff is so very fascinating to me, I got on my soapbox at one point. Briefly. :)

You can read the interview here. Do pop over and say hi.

 

What genre is your novel?

I wasn’t planning to post anything at all this week after having posted five entries last week – but this one’s been on my mind since even before I published Systems. How do you classify a novel that for some reason or other can’t fit into one specific – and known – category?

Whilst it seems as though there are a lot of genres for fiction, for novels like mine there are starkly few genres to choose from. I popped over to Amazon and reminded myself of the options I had to choose from when it came to classifying Systems. They included:

  • Literary
  • Mystery, Thriller & Suspense
  • Science Fiction and Fantasy
  • Religion & Spirituality (though this would encompass both fiction and non-fiction)

And in my case, that was about it. There are scores of categories on Amazon, and almost 20 of them are under ‘Literature & Fiction’ but only these come close. (Actually, I had a similar problem with SJ2. But it was still easier than Systems).

I didn’t want to pick Literary because my fiction is really styled more commercially.  Mystery, Thriller & Suspense was reasonably accurate, but the sci-fi element is louder. And as for Religion and Spirituality … that, I felt, gave off the wrong vibe. I prefer the unofficial genre ‘Visionary’ or ‘Metaphysical’, maybe even ‘Philosophical’, but these options just weren’t there. And ‘Speculative’ (again, not there) … isn’t that another way of saying ‘science fiction’?

So, for now I’ve stuck with classifying it as science fiction, albeit reluctantly. At various sites – depending on whom I’m addressing – I’ve also referred to it as ‘Islamic science fiction’ – though that’s a technicality and in reality the fiction is neither overtly religious nor does it aim at a specific faith, even if it is inspired by the Islamic worldview in philosophical terms.

But, there is an upside to this conundrum. I’m beginning to run into other authors who are calling for a genre to include ‘visionary’ elements without lumping them under either science fiction or fantasy. So, at least I’m finding some new fiction to read.

Have you self-published a novel? How did you decide what category it best fits into ?

Update: Five minutes after posting this, I found the Metaphysical category on Amazon, as a subsection of ‘Genre Fiction’. Go figure.

Thinking concepts for book covers

For writers who are traditionally published, the publisher is generally responsible for cover design – and this can lead to disappointment when the cover doesn’t really match the author’s expectations. But in self-publishing the cover design is the solely the responsibility of the author. This is both good and bad. You can create a cover that is true to your book’s contents, but if you’re not a graphic designer or artistic, you’re in danger of creating a cover that doesn’t look professional, even if it’s conceptually correct. So you should probably get help from someone who knows what they’re doing.

But let’s talk concepts. You know your book better than anyone. Aside from the major story, you know the little things, and even the symbolism. One article I read recently strongly advises against getting caught up in the symbolism, because the cover is really a kind of sales pitch and not art for the sake of it. At the same time, your book cover must reflect something about its core message. What is it about? What is it saying?

From Jinnah to Zia and Secular Jinnah coversMy first two books were non-fiction and the design was relatively easy. For SJ1, since the focus was on Chief Justice Munir’s From Jinnah to Zia I decided on a cover that would imitate the style of his cover as a gentle jibe. So I used a black silhouette of MA Jinnah on the front, and picked fonts that made the reader think about an exposé. 

 

Secular Jinnah & Pakistan coverSJ2’s cover took me a little longer. I thought: what is the central theme? The obvious answer was the Pakistan idea, but unlike SJ1, this title was also a biography on Jinnah. And yet I also didn’t want Jinnah on the cover a second time. Eventually I hit upon the idea that since the book discusses Jinnah’s vision for Pakistan, this is what needs to be on the cover. The result was what you see to the right: Jinnah’s famous monocle containing the crescent and star of the Pakistan flag (the crescent is the right way round!) and a pen indicating Jinnah’s constitutional approach. Vision. Get it? Now these were just my ideas. A professional graphic designer created the artwork based on what I described to him.

As for Systems, coming up with a concept was the most difficult. With fiction, you have literally created a universe and so you have endless possibilities. The core of the story may actually seem elusive to the author for a while (hard to believe, but true). For a long time I was going to put a devil and angel design on the cover. There’s an oil painting in the novel where the devil is white, and the angel black. This was a metaphor for the idea that things are not always as they seem. But whilst this is close to the core of the story, that’s not absolutely the statement I was after. In the end I went with something simple. Trees are everywhere in the novel. The opening line makes a reference to a tree. Place names likewise point at trees, and some key scenes take place in a forest. They represent the core of the story, as borrowed from an ancient metaphor linking trees and systems.

Systems coverI had a public domain image on my machine of a tree in a foggy sunset. When I added a certain kaleidoscope-type graphic effect, it turned that tree into the closeup of a neuron network. Or at least, that’s what I see. It could be the centre of a nebula. Or the tiny roots from a germinating seed. At any rate, it’s a familiar and recurring pattern in nature. It’s simple, it represents the metaphor nicely, and it has a mysterious mood (since there is a great deal of mystery in the story). The title uses a mix of bold fonts that make it at once old-looking and modern.

Whatever concept you come up with for your cover design, be sure it’s true to the inside of your book – its heart. At the end of the day, that’s what your potential readers want to know about.

And of course, a well-written blurb helps too. But that’s another subject.