Islamabad - shehla ambreen - “Culture of Pakistan is something that has haunted me for years.

It is so rich and variant in colours that it is difficult to grasp, but I have tried,” said Uxi Mufti at the launch of his book “Pakistani Saqafat” here on Wednesday. Eminent scholars, writers and poets were present at the launch. Mufti said that in this book he had talked about Islam that had become a cultural compulsion and not about the ideological Islam. “I have said in the book what I had to say,” he said.

He quoted the story of a Christian missionary servicing in Africa who spelled out his 12-year experience with the finding that eastern African Muslims will not convert to Christianity, as they had different values and traditions.

Writer Hameed Shahid said that the concept of culture was initially restricted to agriculture, honeybees’ functions, etc. “Culture cannot be understood in isolation with human experiment and cannot be separated from civilisation.”

Commenting on the book Shahid said, “This book has a different taste. It holds our hand and gets through the experiences of the writer. It pains to visualise indigenous values through foreign lens. Where archaeology ends folklore starts from there. Western civilisation lost its folklore that’s why it relies on archaeology. Whereas, folklore is the face of Pakistani culture.”

He said that Mufti had discussed two types of cultures (of faith and geography) in one of the chapters in the book. “Geography alone can’t give birth to nationalism. Culture is not merry making alone. It’s not against faith. International culture is not in conflict with regional culture,” he said, asking if Pakistani culture was a national preference.

Poet Jalil Aali said Mufti had inherited love for Pakistan. Referring to the book, he said, “Complexities of life and universe haunted the author; how it happened but happened and book was specimen of jewel of life wherein Rumi’s anecdotes were mentioned as tact to win the hearts.”

According to the spirit of the book, Hindu and Muslim represented two different cultural systems. Religion and culture were not conflicting. Both extremes were wrong.

Noted personalities including Ashfaq Saleem Mirza, Kishwar Naheed, Irfan Ahmad Urfi and Akram Zaki also spoke at the occasion.