I would like to commend and recommend Mashal Books, a publishing initiative headed by Dr. Pervez Hoodbhoy with the help of his colleagues. Mashal Books that provides books in print as well as in digital form seems to be the kind of public initiative we need to really educate Pakistan youth as well as the general reading public, for the fight in the Pakistani public sphere is essentially about the power of competing knowledge-based discourses with their own, larger-than-life enunciating subjects.
I applaud and support the stated mission of Mashal books:
Mashal’s books focus on issues of contemporary relevance; education and modern thought, the environment, women’s issues, health, issues of governance, popular science and society, and human rights. Analytical and informative works, as well as works of fiction have been published. Barring a few exceptions, most of the books are in Urdu – the medium of choice, given our target group of students, teachers, development workers and the general public.
Mashal incorporated as a registered society in 1988, is an NGO and was set up by OBOR: The International Book Institute Inc., Philadelphia, PA, USA which had helped set up other such organizations in Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam and Morocco. The goal was to aid book-poor nations through the development of indigenous book publishing enterprises that would enter and participate in the modern world of ideas. Through its books Mashal makes available to all, the best analyses of contemporary problems at low subsidized prices within reach of students and the general reader.
Mashal is composed of a voluntary Managing Committee which governs the organization and a small editorial office in Lahore which looks after the careful work of translation and original writings. Accounts are regularly audited and financial transparency is a working principle. While Mashal works for the widest dissemination of its publications, it is a non-commercial, non-profit enterprise. Mashal therefore seeks the support of individuals and aid giving agencies world wide which consider the foregoing objectives worthy of promotion.
The books sold or provided as free downloads cover varied subjects but are also the kind of books one is not likely to find in the usual Pakistani bookstores. If part of what we become depends upon the words that we consume, then these books, if taught or read, will not fail to have an impact on the consciousness of the readers.
As a special research project, the website also provides a collection of Friday Prayer sermons by Pakistani Ulama from different sects of Islam. You can listen to the sermons and read the Urdu and English transcripts on the website freely. Just this resource should pike our interest as these public sermons are good resource into the primary rhetoric of the Ulama in shaping, and sometime distorting, the views of their respective audiences.
How to Support Mashal Books:
There are many ways we can support this venture:
We could buy the books from their website.
We could buy and donate the books to a local Pakistani School.
We could simply donate through the website
And, most importantly, pass the word about this wonderful resource.
How to Contact:
Website: Mashal Books
RB-5, Awami Complex, Usman Block,
New Garden Town, Lahore 54600, Pakistan.Phone / Fax: 92 – 42 – 586 6859