Reviewed by Sajjad Shaukat
Whenever any natural calamity or man-made disaster took place in Pakistan, without wasting time, the Custom officer Dr. Asif Mahmood Jah along with his devoted teams of Customs Health Care Society reached the affected areas and helped the helpless people by providing them the basic necessities of life and medical assistance. He has also played a role in the rehabilitation of the homeless people and done relief works for the Internally Displace Persons (IDPs) of Bannu and Waziristan, including those from other regions. Besides, his devoted teams remain ready to sever the needy in disaster hit areas anywhere anytime.
Dr. Asif Jah not only visited the affected areas, but also wrote 20 related-books and being a social worker, writer, author and philanthropist got Sitare Imitiaz.
But, his new book, Dekha Hum Ne Cheen surprises everyone, as he availed the opportunity of visiting China for 15 days in connection with a training course and wrote this book which is an excellent travelogue owing to the vivid description of his personal observation and interaction with the Chinese people, belonging to various fields and those from other Islamic countries in wake of his participation in the classes of the course.
The author has drawn the picture of every visiting city and its important places, and related-history in such a way that one can easily understand the local surroundings of Chinese cities, culture, old and new traditional values.
While, narrating the city of YangZhou, Dr. Asif Mahmood Jah pointed outs its temple White Pagoda, Daming Temple, Slender West Lake, parks, old street, Statue-horse of Marco Polo, De Garden, Museum, Huaisheng Mosque, Lu-Salt Merchant House, Family Hall of Quyang Wenzhong etc. and ancient history in a comprehensive way.
Besides describing the Chinese places of worship and Buddhism, Dr Asif Jah who also paid visit to the tombs of Bahauddin Zakaria and Hazat Sa’d ibn Abi Waqqas and writes that Islam reached China 1000 years ago, when Arab preachers came there and now, 8 crore Chinese are Muslims. The guide told him that the Huaisheng Mosque is the oldest mosque, build by Hazarat Sa`d ibn Waqqas. He met several Muslims there and remarked that there are the true Muslims.
The author illustrates that besides meeting Muslims who came from various Islamic countries for study purposes, he also met the Kashmiri students, who were from the Indian-Occupied Kashmir, and they told him that they do not recognize Indian occupation.
Regarding his visit of the Wuxi city, Dr. Asif Mahmood Jah mentions in the book that it is one of the famous industrial cities of China. The city which consists of long buildings and other installations, having its own history and culture is also called small Shanghai. He saw beautiful places such as historical Grand Canal, old buildings, China Agriculture Bank, Wanda Plazaa and underground buildings, Silk Route Museaum, while writing about the background of the Silk Route and also indicated the Pak-China road which is also called Silk Road. Now, it is the basis of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). Moreover, description of Suzhou Village, Suzhou Village Park, Window Plaza, Metro Bus Service, underground plazas, Hauxi City Ecology, bullet lift of the Long Wish Hotel, wide roads and Sojou Park, including other ancient and present places appeal both to the mind and heart of the readers. Dr. Asif Jah also performed Juma prayers in a mosque of Wuxi along with other Muslims. While passing through the Huxai village, he also saw the Great Wall of China and depicted it in the book in an attractive style.
The book covers all political, social, economic, religious and health systems of China by providing in-depth information about China’s online tax system, marriage ceremony, food, shopping centers, hotels, restaurants, herbal medicines, acupuncture and architecture, which the author himself observed and experienced through his visits to various places and during interaction with the concerned Chinese people.
The author writes that there is no pollution in China, because Chinese people mostly use cycles and motorcycles with electronic batteries. They are so punctual and hard workers that they do not have time for marriage. Hence, they marry too late.
Every, intellectual person knows that the progress of a country depends upon its people. In this regard, in the travelogue, Dr. Asif Jah has pointed out three secret of China’s rapid development. In this respect, he remarks that Chinese do not use cocking oil in their food and observe the principles of health—timings in their meals. They take simple food which is easily digested, drink hot water and do regular exercise and take full interest in their related-work.
As regards the observation-power of the author, readers can note, that starting from Lahore to Bangkok, from Bangkok to Shanghai from Shanghai to YangZhou and other cities and towns, he has also mentioned the system of immigration and Custom-clearance of the passengers, including taxi-drivers—as how to learn Chinese language in a short time to interact with the Chinese persons, which will guide any individual who wants to visit China.
Dr. Asif Mahmood Jah has also described the old friendship between Pakistan and China, while focusing on the CPEC. In this context, he writes that CPEC will not only further strength this friendship and mutual harmony, but will also give benefit to Pakistan by bringing Chinese investors to Pakistan. The project will be beneficial to Pakistan, China and Central Asian Republics.
It is farsightedness of the author that in his analysis, he avoided controversial points, being raised by some anti-Pakistan countries like India regarding the CPEC project.
However, every page of the book draws the picture of China in such a luminous method that the readers will desire to become Chinese. Besides, the book which contains several photographs also displays the creative and positive activities of the Chinese people in every field, which has made China a superpower in a short period.
The most surprising characteristic is that despite attending the classes in connection with his official course, Dr. Asif Mahmood Jah did not miss any field about China in this travelogue of 15 days.
Being author of several books (travelogues), while, expressing his personal experiences and those of other Chinese and Muslims there, Dr. Asif Mahmmod Jah’s travelogue, published in form of book is a unique compendium which is full of enthusiasm, and shows in-depth study of feelings of Chinese people.
Undoubtedly, the book Dekha Hum Ne Cheen can rightly be called literacy CEPEC of social, cultural and logistical interactions between Pakistan and China.
Title: Dekha Hum Ne Cheen
Author: Dr. Asif Mahmood Jah
Publisher: Ilm-o-Irfan Publishers, Al-Hamd Market, 40-Urdu Bazar, Lahore
Price: Rs. 500/-