- Publisher: Punjabi Markaz, Lahore, Punjab, Pakistan
‘Mendal da Qanoon‘ (‘Mendelian Rules’) is the fourth collection of short stories from the enthusiastic Punjabi professor and writer, Jameel Ahmad Paul. These stories are about ordinary people going about their daily lives. Every story is deftly composed in simple Punjabi while being loaded with multi-layered meaning. ‘Heena Pah,’ the collection’s first story, reveals the deep love and respect that Bengalis have for their mother language. This love is shown in the broader, historical context of East Pakistan having been partitioned in 1947 out of Bengal, with Urdu subsequently imposed as the country’s official language. In contrast, Punjabis are reproached for neglecting their own language. He writes that, “we (Punjabis) had abandoned our own language. Likewise, we were expecting Bengalis to do the same to Bangla.”
A variety of animals and birds appear as characters who personify people, especially their inner thoughts and feelings. For example, in ‘See Peekh Dae Faiadae,’ dogs and their behaviors metaphorically reflect people and their behaviors. Paul masterfully uses his intimate knowledge of Punjabi language. He strings together words for maximum impact. Collectively, the stories paint a rich canvas of daily life. They challenge the narrow range of themes depicted in short fiction being produced in West Pakistan.
“Only a true lover of Punjabi can write with such clarity and challenge…”-Central Jury