A Wide Canvas
Saif Mahmood
MAZAMEEN–E-SHAUKAT THANWI: MIZAAHIYA MAZAAMEEN KA INTIKHAAB by Mohammad Tahir Qureshi Oxford University Press, 2017, 168 pp., 350
October 2017, volume 41, No XLI

Mark Twain is believed to have said, ‘Humanity has unquestionably one really effective weapon—laughter. Power, money, persuasion, supplication, persecution—these can lift at a colossal humbug, push it a little, weaken it a little, century by century, but only humour can blow it to rags and atoms at a blast. Against the assault of laughter nothing can stand.’ Urdu literature has had an illustrious history of humour and satire which can lay claim to a rather robust repertoire of writers and poets of this genre. However, if one were to name the most prominent of them from the early and mid-20th century, Shaukat Thanwi would certainly figure high up on the list. From novels and short stories to radio drama and newspaper columns (and even some occasional songs and a film), his works spread across a relatively wide canvass.

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