Aziz Bhatti Shaheed: My Brother, My Hero: Book Review

Aziz Bhatti Shaheed: My Brother, My Hero: Book Review

By: Mrs Syeda Rizvi

Sardar Ahmed Bhatti, the father of my dear friend Dr Shaheena Ayub Bhatti, is the author of the book, and although listed by the publishers as a biography, it is much more than that. It is a combination of family history, some glimpses of the author’s own life and, chiefly, a loving homage paid to a national hero, Raja Aziz Bhatti Shaheed (Nishan e Haidar).

Sardar Saheb’s style of writing is anecdotal. He calls it a labor of love, as he says, “It has taken time recollecting the past, and some memories are very painful.”

Book signing by Sardar Bhatti, the author, at the book launch

As the title suggests, the writer is the Shaheed’s brother and he projects the heroic qualities of his elder brother with respect, love and admiration. There is no doubt that Maj. Aziz Bhatti Shaheed had an extraordinary personality. Such characters find their niche whatever the circumstances.

Sardar Saheb’s style of writing is anecdotal. He calls it a labor of love, as he says, “It has taken time recollecting the past, and some memories are very painful.” The story of growing up in Hong Kong reinforces the fact that Sardar and Aziz were very close, sharing pranks, escapades and joint ventures where the young one always followed his elder brother unquestioningly.

After giving very brief sketches of his own life and that of his father’s, the author goes on to describe life in Hong Kong where the five Bhatti boys grew up. Descriptions of life at home and in school are intertwined forming the major part of the young boys’ transition to adulthood. In the background, there is a political narrative where the boys’ lives are pushed into the chaos created by Second World War. The British surrendered Hong Kong to the Japanese forces on the Christmas day in 1941. With this began a time of struggle and hardships.

With schools closed, no income and savings nullified, the Bhatti family needed the younger lot to pitch in. Even the building where they lived was bombarded. The various incidents in the war ravaged country are described with stoic resignation. The war also took the toll on one life from the clan. One brother, Bashir Ahmed, older than Aziz died in Japanese Naval Custody. When the war ended, the family returned to their village in Gujrat and the young men struggled to find employment opportunities. At this point in time, Pakistan came into being and the three elder siblings joined the armed forces of this newly established homeland created for the Muslims of the Subcontinent.

Most of the events of Aziz Bhatti’s life are written in chronological order in the biography. As for the narrative of his Shahadat, the author only gives us the text of the official citation for Major Aziz Bhatti who was posthumously awarded Nishan-e-Haider

Aziz Bhatti was an outstanding Cadet at the Pakistan Military Academy. He received the Sword of honor and the Norman medal for academic excellence. Later he attended the Canadian Staff College. Having got married during his Cadetship, he shouldered this new responsibility as a hero should. With a growing family of seven children, life of an army major must have been tough. He built a house in Tench Bhatta, Rawalpindi and also persuaded Sardar to build one in the same locality.

Most of the events of Aziz Bhatti’s life are written in chronological order in the biography. As for the narrative of his Shahadat, the author only gives us the text of the official citation for Major Aziz Bhatti who was posthumously awarded Nishan-e-Haider. Aziz Bhatti’s valor, courage, devotion to the duty and leadership qualities speak for themselves. And the author has not added to the national narrative with further comments. He was buried in a corner of his father’s garden in his ancestral village, and his aged mother and father bore this great loss with fortitude and faith in Allah’s will.

A number of photographs are included in the book and naturally they are black and white. But if possible their quality may be enhanced in future editions. The font is large and the printing is also of high quality. A must read for all Pakistanis especially the young generation lest we forget our heroes.

Group photo at the book launch of “Aziz Bhati Shaheed: My Brother, My Hero

The writer is visiting faculty, English Deptt, Fatima Jinnah Women University, Rawalpindi

  • AZIZ BHATTI SHAHEED: My Brother, My Hero
  • Author: Sardar Ahmed Bhatti
  • Publisher: Dastaan Publications
  • Pages: 230

Win a Chance to Represent Pakistan Internationally through Daastan!

Win a Chance to Represent Pakistan Internationally through Daastan!

This year in August, Daastan’s founder Syed Ommer Amer was selected to go on a trip to Bangkok, Thailand to take part in the Asia Pacific Youth Exchange program– a platform which brings together top young leaders from all around the Asia Pacific region. The program was organized by Urban Youth Academy (UYA) and powered by United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

The Program

The APYE is a two-weeks intensive program that aims at increasing awareness among youth about global problems and help them develop and enhance skills to combat those problems by taking initiative. Combining activity-based learning, immersion from local communities and leadership training, APYE encourages youth to take action furthering the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).

Daastan in APYE-2019

The theme for this year’s APYE was Sustainable Tourism and with 116 delegates from 15 countries, the competition could not get any tougher. The participants were divided into groups and had to devise applicable solutions to address some of the most pressing problems faced by Thai villages and their inhabitants.

Daastan’s CEO, Ommer Amer, leading a group of six dedicated and hardworking individuals from different countries came up with an innovative digital toolkit to help local businesses market themselves. For their unique idea, they bagged the 2nd prize at the APYE. From a cultural perspective, the experience was rich and enabled Ommer to take part in many interactive activities such as Canal Cleaning Drive, Mini marathon and Thai Cultural Dance.   

Your Chance to Shine in APYE-2020

After the success at the intercultural exchange event, Daastan decided to go one step ahead and partner with APYE to provide an all-expenses paid trip for next year’s programme. We’re looking for dedicated entrepreneurs, aged 18-28. You should have a basic understanding of SDGs in Action and posses critical thinking skills. Fluency in English and strong leadership qualities are a must and specialized skills such as ability to code, design, paint, write, sing, play, build and plan using digital technology would secure you an edge!

You will be able to learn and train with the 2nd prize winner of APYE and leader of his group: our very own founder, Mr. Syed Ommer Amer for 2 days. Learning from his experience and sharpening your social entrepreneurship skills. The challenge is to win the first prize at the APYE for Pakistan! The schedule for the 2-day training is as follows:

Day 1:

  • Intro to APYE
  • Identifying Problem and Interview Ethics
  • Mock Interviews of local leaders
  • Prototyping solutions

Day 2:

  • Project Exhibition
  • Project Pitching
  • Results

Regular fee including all expenses per delegate is around $2500. However, participants trained by Daastan only have to pay a non-refundable fee of 25,000 PKR— all other expenses including air fare and lodgings will be covered by us. Moreover, you can avail an additional discount of 5000 Rs by registering by 30th Sep, 2019.

Do you have what it takes to become APYE’s champion?! If so, gear up to bring the first prize home and register now by filling out this form. For more information, you can check out our Facebook event page or leave a comment down below.  

A Tribute to the Pride of Our Country, Who Laid Down His Life for Ours

A Tribute to the Pride of Our Country, Who Laid Down His Life for Ours

Among the most fearless, most resilient creatures on earth are the soldiers of a country that fight and bleed for the protection of their beloved homeland. Over the course of 72 years, Pakistan has been no stranger to war. Today our history books are filled with countless sombre and often gruesome yet heroic accounts of our brave soldiers. We hear about them from our grandparents, watch and read through their lives, priding in their bravery; basking in their glory

The Tale of One Such Sacrifice:

One such life story is of the receiver of the Nishaan-e-Haider, Major Raja Aziz Bhatti Shaheed. His is a name familiar to every man, woman and child of Pakistan. He is a national hero; an awe-inspiring leader who led a limited number of soldiers to carry out a fierce defense of the Burki area of the Lahore sector in the 1965 war with India. Despite being outnumbered and under unceasing fire from the enemy, Maj. Aziz Bhatti launched a strong, impenetrable defense against the Indian Army. Dismissing offers to rest or even see his family members in Lahore, our hero soldiered on. During an intense exchange of artillery fires between the two armies, he was hit by an enemy tank shell and embraced Shahadat.

The valiant soldier stood undaunted in the face of the raging enemy and laid down his own life to protect countless others.

Bringing his Story Back to Life:

This is the aspect of his courageous story that we are familiar with. But what most don’t know is who Maj. Aziz Bhatti was, without the title. Who he was as a person, a son, a friend. When, earlier this year, his brother Sardar Ahmed Bhatti reached out to Daastan with the intention of publishing a biography he had written about his brother, we were honored to be chosen for the task. Written from the perspective of a loving brother, the book gives an insight into previously unknown events of Maj. Aziz Bhatti’s life, his relationship and closeness with his brother, his life in Hong Kong as a boy before and during World War II and several unpublished, memorable pictures.

Daastan’s Role:

As a platform bent towards literary revival, Daastan strives to bring lost stories to life; stories that are worth being told and preserved. We are proud to be the means of bringing forth this heart-warming account of Maj. Aziz Bhatti’s life away from the border, to the public. The book titledRaja Aziz Bhatti Shaheed: My Brother, My Herois available on Qissa’s website and has received over-whelming responses and appreciation from all over the country on our social media.

Book Launch:

To honor the story of Pakistan’s son, a book launch ceremony is being held on the 12th of September from 14:30-17:30 at the Pakistan Academy of Letters, hosted by Daastan. On this Defence Day, as we look back to the lives of our warriors, let us seek inspiration from their courage and glean wisdom from their actions. Join us on the 12th to remember the sacrifices Maj. Aziz Bhatti has made for the protection of this beloved homeland. As we stand with the Shaheed’s family, we stand united under the slogan that kept him standing for so long, holding his own– unbroken, relentless–in front of the enemy: Pakistan Zindabad!

You can order your copy of Raja Aziz Bhatti Shaheed: My Brother, My Hero here.

Achievement Award Presented to Mehrban Ali: Pakistan’s Youngest Writer to Achieve 50 Books

[Press Release]

On 8th July, 2019, a literary event was held at the Hyderabad Press Club, honoring the works and achievement of the young writer Mehrban Ali. At only 31 years of age, Mehrban Ali has authored a startling number of 50 successful books. His works explore religious themes and record the lives of many Islamic and historic personalities including Shams Tabraiz, Hazrat Fatima, Baba Bullay Shah, Hazrat Hussain, Muhammad Ali Jinnah and Allama Iqbal. His works also encompass the events of Islam’s most prominent battles and some religious phenomenon such as the interpretation of dreams and astrology.

Mehrban Ali is a motivational speaker, a social worker and a writer. His works can be found on his website as well as on his YouTube channel where he publishes religiously informative videos. At a young age, Mehrban Ali is a social entrepreneur and has paved the way for the upcoming young generation. 

The event was attended by many renowned names of the Sindhi and Pakistani literary industry including Naseer Mirza, Shafih Warsi and Ali Gul. Attendants wore representative Ajrak shawls and gave their views about Mehrban Ali’s work. They encouraged the young writer’s efforts and congratulated him on his achievement of writing 50 books. Mehrban Ali was acknowledged as an entrepreneurial force in the industry and a motivation for young writers all around Pakistan. His works are a milestone, especially in the Islamic literary industry and are available in both English and Urdu to reach bigger audiences.

Speaking to the audience, Mehrban Ali said that his books contain the message of love, peace and brotherhood. His works are research based and inspired by the teachings of his grandfather and great grandfather.  The audience greatly appreciated his address. Guest of Honour Salamat Feroz– a well-known Sindhi musician- termed the ceremony to be a spiritual event. At the end of the ceremony, Mehrban Ali was presented with an achievement award for being Pakistan’s Youngest Writer to achieve the publication of 50 books.

Vietnam echoes with the word Daastan!

Vietnam echoes with the word Daastan!

At the very start of the year, Daastan’s Founder Syed Ommer Amer received the very important news of having been selected as a fellow for the National SDG Bootcamp, which was happening at the National Incubation Center Islamabad. Daastan was among 22 other social enterprises chosen to be a part of the bootcamp. The workshop was concluded with a National Dialogue event titled the SDG Changemaker’s Summit, in which the winners of the bootcamp were selected, and Daastan had the honor of being one of them.

National SDG Bootcamp Winners Pakistan : Deaftawk and Daastan

What is SDG Bootcamp?

The SDG Bootcamp was a 4-day, first-of-its-kind, entrepreneurship bootcamp which happened in collaboration with DEMO and UNDP Pakistan. It selected social enterprise founders who were helping the nation achieve Sustainable Development Goals and took them through a journey of extensive training so as to enhance their pitch for funds, social impact, financial models and outreach.

Daastan Represents Pakistan in Vietnam:

After being placed as winner, Ommer was enrolled in a 3-month online program which was aimed to empower social entrepreneurs and help them establish a strong brand, along with preparing them through extensive training for the Regional Summit which was going to be held in Hanoi, Vietnam. In April 2019, the finalists and national winners of the bootcamp were flown out to participate in the Youth Co:Lab Asia Pacific Summit, codesigned by Citi Foundation and UNDP Asia Pacific, to accelerate the social enterprises and youth startups in the region of Asia Pacific.

Daastan had a lifetime opportunity, and was presented in front of more than 1000 delegates from over 20 countries. Ommer communicated how Daastan was empowering the literary community by helping writers monetize their work, and revamping the literary industry at the national level. If you are a writer who wants to get the most out of their work, you can always sign up with us on Qissa.

Syed Ommer Amer, Founder Daastan pitching on stage in Hanoi, Vietnam

With this opportunity, Daastan went global and is now actively seeking as well as collaborating with international partners, which will help the team realize their dream of using literature as a means of earning for writers and encourage social community building, in addition to paving the way for a new tomorrow free from stigma, illiteracy, conflict and intolerance.