By Altaf Hassan Qureshi
Book Review by
The book ‘Jang-e-Setambar ki Yadain’ (The Memories of September War) by Altaf
Hassan Qureshi, the veteran journalist, is filled with countless combats based
on matchless sacrifices by Pakistan Army Jawans and Officers, with the nation at
its back and many other testing times, quoted inside the book. All pertinent
events i.e from the City of Eagles (Sargodha) to Dwarka and from Rajisthan to
‘Khem Karan battle’, that he beautifully described in his book are remarkable.
War is always fought with added spirits. The September War was a memory of
Altaf Hassan Qureshi’s manifold contributions in the fields of Urdu Literature
and Journalism are remarkable. He has been spreading knowledge persistently for
He is the master of the pen (writing). ‘Jang-e-Setambar ki Yadain’ is based on
his keen observation, deep study and an account of his personal meetings with
the Jawans and Officers of Pakistan Army during the battle.
Much has been written on the War of 1965. It was a battle of right and wrong. It
was September 6, 1965 when India violated International Law and invaded into
Pakistan from almost every corner of the country. India dreamed out to be master
of all trades and tried its best to destroy Lahore Jim Khana but its efforts
gone in vain. As a result, the tanks returned back to India with crushing its
During the war, Major Shafqat, 12 Baloch Regiment, who hails from Sargodha,
proved to be an iron man before the Indian Army. While decorating Sitara-e-Jurat
(Sign of Bravery) on his shoulders, Field Marshal Muhammad Ayub Khan felt pride
with tears in his eyes.
Similar to that of the ‘history of first Punjab Regiment’ a book written by
Major Ibrahim Qureshi on the directions of General Sher Ali Khan; ‘The Pakistan
Army – War of 1965’ was written by Major Shoukat Raza inspired by General Zia ul
Haq. Major Ibrahim Qureshi was the commanding officer of 17 Punjab Regiment
during the 1965 war and on his request Major Aziz Bhatti Shaheed was honored
with Nishan-e-Haider (Sign of bravery). Major Ibrahim was then promoted to the
rank of Brigadier.
The ‘Memories of September War’ is the hallmark creation of Altaf Hassan Qureshi.
Hailing from the third generation of Qureshi family, Eqaan Hassan Qureshi
started collecting memories of Altaf Hassan Qureshi with much care and devotion.
His effort of shaping scattered memories into a book, will help younger
generation to get familiar with their glorious past.
‘The Memories of September War’ is not only a tale of seventeen days, it is a
complete note on the past seventy years.
The book is like a mirror which reflects bad Indian intentions towards Pakistan.
Altaf Hassan Qureshi said, “I became familiar with the real spirit of September
War 1965 when I have gone through ‘Incomplete Partition: The Genesis of Kashmir
Dispute 1947-48’ a thought provoking book written by a British critic Alastair
Lamb. Mr. Lamb’s research is an account on all those bad intentions on which the
Secular Indian Prime Minister Jawahar Lal Nehru ordered Indian army troops to
invade in the Srinagar.
Apart from a variety of subjects on Pakistan Army Jawan’s contributions and
sacrifices, Altaf Hassan Qureshi has masterly deals with the Art and Cultural
aspects of the time. He recalls Madam Noor Jahan’s ‘Mereya Dhol Spahiya tenu Rab
dian rakhan’ (O my Soldiers, May Almighty protect you forever) and Rais Amrohi’s
appealing poetry ‘Khita-e-Lahore tere Jan’nisaron ko salam’ (O’ the land of
Lahore, I salute to your martyrs).
One can find inside this book a lot of discussion on the literary work produced
during the war period. I find myself astonished that how Altaf Hassan Qureshi
presents factual, sincere and real picture of the events. He has given space to
even minor events ranging from sailing to the dawn of ‘Chamb Jorian’, and ‘first
Indian attack at the Sialkot border’ to the ‘World’s second big war of tanks’;
every incident is beautifully described in this book. He informed the people
about the basic factors that paved the way for the war. In fact, this is a book
which will remember for centuries in many ways due to its impactful presentation
and appealing writing style.
Altaf Hassan Qureshi used easy language in his book as he talks about war with
love and care. Not a single word or phrase is about anger or hate. He presents
each incident truly without any exaggeration. The truthfulness of his pen
enforces us to stand up and do something positive.
Moreover, he wrote constantly among his other contemporaries. It seems that he
would have been visiting every nook and corner of the country to observe what
was going on in the country at the time of war. As India dropped a bomb on a ‘Baraat’,
a convention performed at the time of marriage ceremony, passing through Mohalla
Sadiqabad in Rawalpindi, Altaf Hassan Qureshi reached there accompanying one of
his dearest friends Ahmad Zafar and wrote what he observed there.
He is a good narrator. His narrating style is awesome. He quoted few excerpts of
the President of Pakistan Ayub Khan’s speech that he delivered to the nation
through Radio Pakistan in which he sought help from people for the sake of
giving strong response to Indian authorities. People were eager to hear their
leader’s voice. They used to sit nearby radio sets and listen the speech humbly.
It was 3 O’clock when a voice came out and announced complete ceasefire between
Pakistan and India. The whole nation wanted to root out Indian aggression but
turn their heads down before their leader’s will for the sake of creating
The speech brought the whole nation on table and they stand united with a strong
resolve to turn Indian guns down.
Then suddenly the President uttered, “Our Armed Forces (personnel) have done
incredible and written a new chapter in the history with their blood stains”.
The president calm down the nation and said, “This (victory) has only been done
by the grace of Almighty and we must not forget it”. I respect your feelings by
heart, he said.
To be cult, it is high time to promote Altaf Hassan Qureshi’s ‘Jang-e-Setambar
ki Yadain’ among young generation because it is an ‘encyclopedia of past and