Ahmed Salim’s unique treasure of archives needs to be preserved for future generations: Jamal Shah

ISLAMABAD: Caretaker Federal Minister for National Heritage and Culture Division, Syed Jamal Shah, on Tuesday eulogized the renowned Punjabi and Urdu poet, writer, and researcher Ahmed Salim for his invaluable services in the field of literature, research and human rights and proposed the preservation of late author’s biggest archives as a national asset for the future generations.
The Minister was speaking at the memorial reference jointly organized by the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) and Pakistan Academy of Letters (PAL) to pay tribute to the great intellectual and active member of the Progressive Literary Movement of the country. A special documentary prepared by SDPI on the life of late Ahmed Salim was also presented on the occasion.
Jamal Shah said Ahmed Salim had a deep linkage with his society and his quest for knowledge turned him into a flower with a powerful smell that had been embellishing the environment.
“He was among those people who aware and educated themselves to selflessly serve this soil. Ahmed Saleem was an aware, generous and a good communicator deft enough to engage and persuade the people,” he said.
The Minister mentioned that it was always the dream of Late Ahmed Saleem to preserve his archives which should be done through a collective effort of all stakeholders and well wishers of the deceased.
Ahmed Saleem, like Baba Bhullay Shah, Rehman Baba and Habib Jalib, was a lucid and generous being who did not keep any biases and prejudice in their works, he added.
Executive Director SDPI, Dr Abid Qaiyum Suleri read out the poem of Interim Minister for Information Murtaza Solangi as a tribute to Ahmed Salim.
Dr Suleri mentioned that Ahmed Salim never had discrimination in his life for anyone, however, his literary stature was evident from the fact that the government of Pakistan at one hand conferred the Pride of Performance for Arts on him and the President of Bangladesh awarded him Presidential Award for supporting Begali language.
Dr Suleri shared his memories with the deceased and informed the participants that Ahmed Salim became the introduction of the SDPI globally and regionally as the institute gained huge respect in Bangladesh, India, or within the country be it Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), Sindh or Balochistan.
Senator Farhat Ullah Babar of Pakistan People’s Party termed Ahmed Salim as a national asset as the wealth of his knowledge was not only belonging to his family members but also the entire nation. Senator Babar noted that Ahmed Saleem had the largest individual archives in the country and was a generous expert who always shared study and research material without any bias to all for free.
Senator Taj Haider, PPP said Ahmed Saleem always advocated the rights of the marginalized and never compromised on his principles through his writings. Ahmed Saleem always compiled all the literature that was progressive in nature and banned by the dictators, he added.
Senator Haider requested the Minister for Culture to provide the archives of Mr Ahmed Saleem to establish a separate institute to preserve those invaluable books.
Nuzhat Abbass, from United Kingdom via videolink, expressed her sentiments and paid tribute to the later author and researcher. She shed light on the life of Ahmed Saleem and his efforts for defending the rights of women and oppressed through his writings and artistic works.
Navsharan Singh from Chandigarh India also shared her thoughts via videolink. She said Ahmed Saleim was the poet of humanity, equality, rights, women empowerment and a genuine right defender.
She said the late Ahmed Salim was loved both in Indian and Pakistani Punjab whereas writer, authors and poets were writing special blogs and columns for the deceased in the local and national Punjabi dailies. Singh added that his demise left a deep impact on the minds of all who remained associated to him.
Dr Pritam Singh from UK through online participation shared his sincere regards for the deceased. He said after his first interaction with Ahmed Saleem at Oxford, UK; he had found him a loving soul.
He said that Ahmed Salim had a painful narrative on the partition of India in 1947 and had associated his strong feelings to partition. Singh informed that Saleem was associated with Punjab Research Forum working on the East and West Punjab and the Punjabi diaspora, adding, “He was committed to Punjabi language and society without any sentiments of exploitation, inequality and malice.
Rana Fawad, CEO Lahore Qalanders, also shared his account of association with Ahmed Salim during his theater life in Lahore. He mentioned that Ahmed Salim convinced him to lay the foundation of the first ever street theater for the labourers. He said Ahmed Salim used to spent all his earnings on buying books and lived a contented life.
Harris Khalique, Secretary General HRCP said the entire ideology of knowledge prevailing in the society was based on capitalism, where it was needed to develop complete understanding of all subjects of social sciences. “Ahmed Salim considered the knowledge of all social sciences and humanities in totality that laid the foundation of strong basis of knowledge ideology free from any biases and discrimination,” he said.
Dr Humera Ashfaq, Zareena Salamat, Kulsum Zaib, Barrister Naseem Bajwa, UK, Dr Anwaar Ahmed, Akhtar Usman and Brig. (R) Muhammad Yasin of SDPI also spoke their hearts out for Mr Ahmed Saleem in acknowledging his services to the nation and society.
DG PAL, Sultan Muhammad Nasir extended his vote of thanks to all participants and SDPI for organizing the reference and extended his gratitude to SDPI for supporting PAL in the endeavour.

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