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.”
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.
The writer is visiting faculty, English Deptt, Fatima Jinnah Women University, Rawalpindi
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:
Intro to APYE
Identifying Problem and Interview Ethics
Mock Interviews of local leaders
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.
The members of Daastan are immensely proud of the way the company has scaled beyond even their wildest imaginations. It has been such a pleasure to watch the way it inspires not only them but thousands around the country to do more, step a little ahead of the game, and bring to the stage all the creativity that was hidden in them for ages before they tapped it. Daastan doesn’t just excel at the play of words, but rather it is a digital hub of activity. It is always on the lookout for carving out niches which can help the creatives get more involved with us, and also attain greater reach for those who we have already published. It was one such drive which led us to what was to become the next big thing in Daastan.
A New Avenue:
The internet presence of Daastan started from Facebook, from where it went on to take over all of the major social media platforms such as Twitter, Instagram and such. What followed was Daastan’s very own website, and then, Qissa’s self-publishing portal. All of these mediums were received enthusiastically by our followers, and praised heavily in the public by the critics. Over the years, the team behind Daastan made it a point to strengthen their digital presence, providing professional and aesthetic upgrades to Qissa, and modeling space in Daastan’s website for each new venture as it came along. And so, after having mastered the internet through most of the avenues that are offered, only one was missing – a mobile application.
It struck the team that most of their readers’ time online is spent on our phones, not PCs, and that to increase our readership and make the work of our writers readily available, we must also provide it on their phones – much like any other eBook they would be reading. And so, the team dived headfirst into bringing this idea to reality. In July of 2018, Daastan Naama finally hit Google Play Store, bursting with literary goodness that was now available just a touch away. The app’s interface was divided into two portions. One featured all the fiction published under the banner of The Stories Untold. The second was an interesting feature which had the poetry and other works of almost 50 authors, vocalized and brought to life by their own voice.
If you haven’t checked it out yet, download it on your mobile phones from Play Store now!
If there is one thing that Daastan’s founder, Mr. Syed Ommer Ammer, has always praised and even boasted about, it has been about how he is blessed to have a team that is exceptional in all their skills, singular in passion, and absolutely awe inspiring when it comes to helping Daastan get ahead in all areas and mold it into a company that surpasses all expectations associated with it. Mr. Ommer attributes Daastan’s continuous success to his brilliant team, that never fails to amaze him and has never let him down.
Ms. Mahnoor Naseer:
The first core member we will celebrate here is Mahnoor Naseer. Mahnoor’s journey with Daastan began when she applied to be a part of the debut batch of the Literary Fellowship. Throughout the fellowship, she showed more than enough potential, and on graduating she proved it too, when she launched a global digital platform for artists to share their work, called “The Ancient Souls”. She helped Daastan set up their operations across the border in India, and eventually rose to the level of Editor in Chief with her constant struggles to aid Daastan on its journey towards legendary heights. An electrical engineer by profession, she has never let her degree limit her to one field of expertise and has self-taught herself to be a storyteller, a poet, and a transcriptionist. Recently, she has had the honor of being selected as a Citizen Historian for the 1947 Partition Archive, which is a non-governmental and non-political organization working on the preservation and archival of the stories of people who were displaced in the 1947 partition.
Ms. Momina Latif:
The second member to be brought to the spotlight is Momina Latif, the design lead at Daastan, who is also Co-founder Jadugar and co., a company which provides corporate design solutions to products and brands. She is the brains and creative head behind most of the book covers published through Qissa, and has provided Daastan with some sensational social media designs over the years. She has been selected as a mentee for the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women, a program held in London which gives professional training to help develop women’s small, and medium enterprises into growing sustainable empires. She will be receiving training from the world’s best entrepreneurs in the world, who will teach her how to unlock her hidden potential and scale to newer heights.
Ms. Sidra Amin:
The last, but essentially the most important one, is Sidra Amin. To sum her up in just a few lines would not be possible, but to name a few of her accomplishments – she is the Co-Founder Daastan, the person who has put piece upon piece together to bring the company where it stands now. She is also Co-Founder Words and Metaphors, KPK’s first spoken word platform, as well as Co-Founder Peshawar Book Club, which holds monthly meetings and discusses each book chosen in depth. She is a mechatronics engineer by profession, and an expert at surprising everyone with all that she can achieve. She has lately been interviewed by Dergi, a lifestyle magazine which has a reach of more than 5000 across social media. In the interview, she talks about her inspirations, and how to create the magic that we see sparking off of her. She has also been invited asa speaker of the WomenWill panel at BizFest Peshawar.