This is a plug for ‘A Punjabi Village in Perspective: PERSPECTIVES ON COMMUNITY, LAND, AND ECONOMY’ by the Russian-Turkish anthropologist Zekiye Eglar. The book, recently published by OUP Pakistan, is a two-volume publication that includes Eglar’s seminal award-winning work completed for her PhD at Columbia University, ‘A Punjabi Village in Pakistan’ (Columbia University Press, 1960, out of print) and her previously unpublished manuscript ‘The Economic Life of a Punjabi Village in Pakistan’ (See the review in Dawn here, and economist Haris Gazdar’s comments here).
My contribution to the book is the Introduction, Conclusion,and Bio-note about Zekiye Eglar, none of which would have been possible without constant inputs and information from the venerable artist Fazal Ahmed Chowdhry, who had helped Eglar with both works. Driven by the need to get the book published in his lifetime, he worked tirelessly with me to complete the current publication, despite his failing health and eyesight. The book contains previously unpublished archival photographs from his personal collection.
When Eglar met Fazal in 1949, he was the newly-appointed Chowdhry of the village of Mohla (near Gujranwala, Punjab) where she conducted her fieldwork and research; he left Pakistan for the USA along with his little nephew Gulli (now a successful businessman in the US and Italy) to join Eglar and help her with her work, and to pursue his dream of becoming an artist (the bio note contains their story as well). He attended art classes at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, and set up a summer school in Florence, Italy, for Garland College (now Simmons College, Boston) that he ran for several years. I felt a great sense of personal loss when he passed away just last year, shortly before the OUP book was published, but am happy that he at least knew that the book was in its final stages and would be out soon.