The Traveler of History is one of my favorite books. I think readers should definitely read this book, that’s why I am reviewing this book.
The truth is that the tradition of writing travelogues in Urdu has died out in Pakistan. An author whose travel fiction was like a fourth-grade writing essay after summer vacation.
In the last four decades, there have been countless books by such writers that have contained more about the author than travel. As a result, most Urdu readers now think that whatever they have read so far is just travel writing.
It is important to understand that travelogues are not just travelogues. But there are also some great and factual books on the subject. Travelogues actually depend on history, culture, geography, economics, with a little geology and sometimes even anthropology. This was a task that had never been done in Urdu before. Nowadays, the trend of more and more similar writing is growing rapidly. Therefore, seems to have failed to leave its mark on the reader.
Traveler of History is Abu Bakr Sheikh’s Second Book
But in Pakistan, Abu Bakar Sheikh seems far from the race. This is the second book by the traveler of history, Abu Bakr Sheikh, and it is a real historical journey.
This new book is a bit different from his first book where some of the articles are at the end of the delta, the rest of the articles describe the powers that be in the past in a historical way that amazes the readers.
In his book, Abu Bakr describes notable but colorful characters, including Lutfullah Thug, who lived in the first half of the 19th century and used the English language to describe his life.
Betrayed the Glorious and Rich City of Thatta
Similarly, through this book, we learn about the conspiracies and deceptions of the Tarkhan rulers of Sindh in the 16th century who betrayed the same glorious and rich city of Thatta.
The attack on Thatta could in fact have been an invitation to the Portuguese in Goa to share in the treasury of Sindh to support the Tarkhans against the Koklatash of Rohri. On the other hand, the nature of the colonialists was only to steal and loot.
With the same ease, he narrated to the readers the life of Dara Shukoh, the unfortunate heir of the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan, i.e. how Dara fought the battle of Samogarh, then how he came to Sindh fleeing from his brother Aurangzeb. The author has a special method that makes him an expert in following the historical figure and the same method he used to chase the British explorer Richard Burton from Karachi to Upper Sindh.
The Book ‘Traveler of History’ is Notable
The book ‘Traveler of History’ is notable for its wide geographical boundaries which is similar to the intellectual spread of Abu Bakr Sheikh. His study is extensive and he draws great images in the light of his vast knowledge.
As always, his writing has a poetic color that not only evokes scenes but also evokes the emotions and sympathies of the readers. Like the best writers, Abu Bakr knows the art of writing his thoughts brilliantly and forces readers to think that the most positive and most dangerous thing on earth is the process of thinking. It’s the same process that differentiates between good and bad, but when expectations cross all boundaries, the distinction between the two disappears.
However, the closest thing to Abu Bakr’s heart is the rapidly deteriorating environment. This book, like the previous book, has a strong sense of what we are leaving for the next generation. He tells readers that 27 million acre-feet of water need to be dumped into the sea to prevent the sea from moving further and to restore the forests of dying mangroves, but unfortunately, not even a third of it has been dumped into the sea.
About A Century Ago
If we talk about a century ago, mangroves were spread over about 400,000 hectares, but today they are barely 70,000 hectares due to low water flow. As a result, there has been a marked decline in the Khuldar population as crabs and prawns lay their eggs in the roots of mangroves.
Similarly, maritime occupation is rapidly eroding fertile soil and thus impoverishing farmers. Our authors lament how the growth of agriculture and wealth among landowners is depriving Delta residents and fishermen of their livelihood.
Abu Bakr beautifully transformed himself from a purely environmental writer into a storyteller of historical stories. If archaeologists are talking about bricks and pottery, it is writers like Abu Bakr who inhabit places destroyed by humans. The beauty of his writing is that he takes the reader with him and with a little imagination shows him what he sees and feels.
History needs to be written, but not as if a lesson is taught in a classroom, but by connecting with real places and giving them life with real characters, and that’s what the ancient Greek writers did, and now this is Abu Bakr Sheikh Urdu. Are doing for the readers.