Monday, May 23, 2011

Ibn-e-Safi (Asrar Ahmad) the Legendary Urdu Spy Writer

Ibn-e-Safi (also spelled as Ibne Safi) (Urdu: ابنِ صفی) was the pen name of Asrar Ahmad (Urdu: اسرار احمد), a best-selling and prolific fiction writer, novelist and poet of Urdu. The word Ibn-e-Safi is an Arabian expression which literally means Son of Safi, where the word Safi means chaste or righteous. He wrote from the 1940s in India, and later Pakistan after the partition of British India in 1947. 

His main works were the 125-book series Jasoosi Dunya (The Spy World) and the 120-books of Imran Series, with a small canon of satirical works and poetry. His novels were characterized by a blend of mystery, adventure, suspense, violence, romance and comedy, achieving massive popularity across a broad readership in South Asia.
Agatha Christie once said, "I don't know Urdu but have knowledge of detective novels of the Subcontinent. There is only one original writer - Ibn-e-Safi." It is said that she said that when she was at Karachi Air Port for a short while, but her son could not recall even her journey to Pakistan. All the witnesses of this saying are not alive and we have no source to verify it.

Ibne Safi was born on July 26, 1928 in the town 'Nara' of district Allahabad, India. His father's name was Safiullah and mother's name was Naziran Bibi.

He received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Aligarh Muslim University. In 1948, he started his first job at 'Nikhat Publications' as an Editor in the poetry department.
His initial works date back to the early 1940s, when he wrote from India. Usually he used to write for monthly Nikhat and he wrote by many names. It would be interesting that he once used a female Pen name for his writings. After the partition of Indian and Pakistan in 1947, he began writing novels in the early 1950s while working as a secondary school teacher and continuing part-time studies.

After completing the latter, having attracted official attention as being subversive in the independence and post-independence period, he migrated to Karachi, Pakistan in August 1952.

He started his own company by the name 'Israr Publications'.
He married to Ume Salma Khatoon in 1953 in Rawalpindi, Pakistan.

Between 1960 - 1963 he suffered an episode of severe depression , but recovered, and returned with a best-selling Imran Series novel, Dairrh Matwaalay (One and a half amused). 

In fact, he wrote 36 novels of 'Jasoosi Duniya' and 79 novels of 'Imran Series' after his recovery from depression.

In the 1970s, he informally advised the Inter-Services Intelligence of Pakistan on methods of detection. He died of pancreatic cancer on July 26, 1980 in Karachi, which was coincidentally his 52nd birthday.
Ibne Safi's prose work can be classified into two categories:

  • Mystery novels
  • Short stories and articles of humor and mockery
Ibn-e-Safi started writing poetry in his childhood and soon earned critical acclaim. After completing his Bachelor of Arts, he started writing short stories, humor and satire under various names such as "Siniki (Cynic) Soldier" and "Tughral Farghan." In the Nakhat magazines, he published several satirical articles which commented on various topics ranging from politics to literature to journalism. 

His early works in the 1940s included short stories, humor and satire.

According to one of his autobiographical essays, someone in a literary meeting claimed that Urdu literature had little scope for anything but sexual themes. To challenge this notion, Ibn-e-Safi began writing detective stories in January 1952 in the monthly Nikhat, naming the series Jasoosi Dunya.

In 1955, Ibn-e-Safi started the Imran Series, which gained as much fame and success as Jasoosi Dunya. Ibne Safi's novels – characterized by a blend of adventure, suspense, violence, romance and comedy – achieved massive popularity by a broad readership.

So strong was Ibne Safi's impact on the Urdu literary scene that his novels were translated into several regional languages. It was not unusual for Safi's books to be sold at black market prices in Pakistan and India, where they were originally published every month.

The settings in Ibne Safi's novels are such that the reader is never told the national origin of the heroes. Since Jasoosi Duniya was created before the partition of the subcontinent, the names of the characters and their locales suggest that the novel takes place in India. The advent of the Imran Series came post-independence, and the reader is set up to assume that the narrative is situated in Pakistan. 

Besides their native countries, the main characters of both Jasoosi Duniya and Imran Series have had adventures around the world – Spain, Italy, England, Scotland, Pacific Islands, Zanzibar, South Africa, the United States of America, and various other places. Considering that Ibne Safi never left the Indian Subcontinent, the detailed descriptions he provides of the diverse localities are surprisingly accurate.
Many a time, Ibne Safi created fictitious settings for his stories. The magical web of his writing is so captivating that these fantasy lands have become real in the minds of readers. Avid fans of the author are experts on the people and cultures of Shakraal, Karaghaal, Maqlaaq, Zeroland, and many other imaginary domains. In cities around India and Pakistan, one can find discothèques, bars, night clubs, and hotels named after venues found in Ibne Safi's novels. Some places worth mentioning are: Dilkusha, Fizaro, Niagara, Tip Top, High Circle, etc.

Besides humor and satire he also wrote some short adventures, namely Baldraan Ki Malika (The Queen of Baldraan), Ab Tak Thee Kahaan? (Where had you been?), Shimal Ka Fitna (The Trouble from North), Gultarang, and Moaziz Khopri. In these adventures, Ibne Safi takes the reader to various fictitious, exotic lands of his own imagination.

Ibne Safi also directed a film 'Dhamaka' based on his novel 'Bebakon ki talash'. The film did not get the publicity and fame which it deserved, and remains mostly forgotten.

In 1959, Ibne Safi started writing Aadmi Ki Jarain, a book based on human psychology. However, it remained incomplete due to his illness.

Though Ibn-e-Safi mostly has written in series but his non-series work is also valuable and up to the high standard of Ibn-e-Safi. A list of his non series work falls as following.
  • Aadmi ki Jarain (Urdu for The Roots of The Man) - Incomplete
  • baldaraan ki malikaa (Urdu for The Queen of Baldaraan)
  • Ab tak thee kahaan (Urdu for Where Had You Been?)
  • Diplomate murgh (Urdu for The Diplomate Rooster)
  • saarhe paanch baje (Urdu for Half Past Five)
  • tuzke do-piazi (Urdu for The autobiography of Do-Piaza) - Incomplete
  • shumaal ka fitna (Urdu for The Trouble From North)
  • mata-e Qalb-O-Nazar - Collection of Poetry (to be published)
Ibn-e-Safi was also a poet. He used to write poems under the pen name of "Asrar Narvi". He wrote in various genres of Urdu poetry, such as Hamd, Naat, Manqabat, Marsia, Ghazal, and Nazm. His collection of poetry, Mata-e Qalb-o-Nazar (Urdu for The Assest of Heart & Sight), remains unpublished.

Following is the list of his Ghazals:
  • Daulat-e-Gham (Urdu for The wealth of sorrow)
  • Zahan se Dil ka Bar Utra Hai (Urdu for Heaviness of the heart is unloaded by the mind)
  • Chhalakti aayay (Urdu for [The liquor] shows up overflowing)
  • Kuch to ta-alluq ... (Urdu for Some affiliation ...)
  • Aaj ki raat (Urdu for Tonight)
  • Baday ghazab ka ... (Urdu for Of much might ...)
  • Yun hi wabastagi (Urdu for Casual connection)
  • Lab-o-rukhsar-o-jabeen (Urdu for Lips and Cheeks and forehead)
  • Rah-e-talab mein kaun kisi ka (Urdu for In the path of demands, no one recognizes anyone)
  • Kuch bhi to apne paas nahin ... (Urdu for Do not have anything ...)
  • Aay nigaraan-e-khoobroo (Urdu for O gorgeous sculptures)
  • Kabhi sawab ki hain ... (Urdu for Sometimes, of virtuousness ...)
  • Kabhi qatil ... (Urdu for Sometimes killer ...)
  • Qafas ki daastaan hai ... (Urdu for It is the tale of imprisonment ...)
Following is the list of his Nazams:

  • Maan (Urdu for Mother)
  • Shakist-e-talism (Urdu for Defeat of the magic)
  • Talism-e-hosh-ruba (Urdu for The breath-taking magic)
  • Tanhayee (Urdu for Solitude)
  • Bansuri ki awaaz (Urdu for The sound of flute)
The most famous work of Ibn-e-Safi is his popular mystery series called Imran Series have given him a great acclaim and fame among the Urdu readers across the globe. 

A list of this popular series is given below:
  • Khaufnak Imarat (The Fearful Building)
  • Chatanon Mein Fire (Gunfire in Rocks)
  • Purisrar Cheekhein (Mysterious Screams)
  • Bhayanak Aadmi (The Frightful Man)
  • Jahannum ki Raqqasah (Dancer from Hell)
  • Neelay Parinday (The Blue Birds)

  • Saanpon ke Shikari (Snake Hunters)
  • Raat ka Shahzadah (The Night Prince)
  • Dhuaein ki Tehreer (Smoke's Composition)
  • Larkiyon Ka Jazeerah (Women Island)
  • Pathhar Ka Khoon (Stone's Blood)
  • Lashon Ka Bazaar (Corpses All Over)
  • Qabr aur Khanjar (The Grave and The Dagger)
  • Aahni Darwazah (The Iron Door)
  • Kalay Charagh (Black Lamps)
  • Khoon Ke Piyasay (Blood Striving)
  • Al Fansay (Al Fanse)
  • Darindon Ki Basti (Town Of The Beasts)
  • Gum-shudah Shahzadi (The Lost Princess)
  • Hamaqat Ka Jaal (Trap of Foolishness)
  • Shafaq Ke Pujaari (Worshippers of Twilight)
  • Qaasid Ki Talash (Courier Search)
  • Ra'i Ka Parbat (Mountain of Mole-hill)
  • Pagal Kuttay (Mad Dogs)
  • Piyasa Samandar (Thirsty Ocean)
  • Kaali Tasveer (Black Photograph)
  • Sawaliyah Nishan (Question Mark)
  • Khatarnak Lashein (Dangerous Corpses)
  • Gaind Ki Tabah-kaari (Destruction By The Ball)
  • Chaar Lakeerein (Four Stripes)
  • Chalees Aik Bawan (Forty and One, Fifty-two)
  • Aatishdaan Ka But (Statue at the Fireplace)
  • Jaroon Ki Talash(Search for the Roots)
  • Imran Ka Ighwa (Imran's Abduction)
  • Jazeeron Ki Ruuh (Spirit of the Islands)
  • Cheekhti Roohein (Screaming Spirits)
  • Khatarnak Juari (Dangerous Gambler)
  • Zulmat Ka Devata (Lord of the Darkness)
  • Heeron Ka Faraib (Fraud of the Diamonds)
  • Dilchasp Hadisah (Pleasant Accident)
  • Bay-aawaz Sayyarah (Soundless Space-craft)
  • Dairh Matwaalay (One and a half Drunks)
  • Billi Cheekhti Hai (The Cat Cries)
  • Lo-Bo Li-La (Lo-Bo Li-La)
  • Seh-ranga Shula (Tri-coloured Flame)

  • Aatishi Badal (Firey Cloud)
    • Geet Aur Khoon (Song and Blood)
    • Doosri Aankh (The Other Eye)
    • Aankh Shula Bani (Eye Becomes Flame)
    • Sugar Bank (Sugar Bank)
    • Taabuut Mein Cheekh (Scream In The Coffin)
    • Fazai Hangamah (Aerial Assault)
    • Tasveer Ki Urran (Flight Of The Painting)
    • Giyarah November (11 November)
    • Manaron Waliyan (Fashionable Women)
    • Sabz Lahu (Green Blood)
    • Behri Yateem Khana (Naval Orphannage)
    • Pagalon Ki Anjuman (Association of Lunatics)
    • Halaku & Co. (Halaku & Co.)
    • Paharron Ke Peechay (Behind the Mountains)
    • Buzdil Soorma (Coward Hero)
    • Dast-e-Qaza (Hand of Death)
    • Ashtray House (Ashtray House)
    • Uqabon ke Hamlay (Attacks of the Eagles)
    • Phir Wohi Aawaz (That Voice Again)
    • Khuun-raiz Tasadum (Bloody Conflict)
    • Tasveer ki Maut (Death of the Painting)
    • King Chaang (King Chaang)
    • Dhuaein ka Hisaar (Smoke Barrier)
    • Samandar ka Shigaf (Ocean's Crack)
    • Zalzalay ka Safar (Earthquake's Journey)
    • Black and White (Black and White)
    • Na-deedah Hamdard (Unseen Sympathizer)
    • Adhora Aadmi (The Partial Man)
    • Operation Double Cross (Operation Double Cross)
    • Khair Andaish (Well-wisher)
    • Point Number Barah (Point No. 12)
    • Ad-Lava (Ad-Lava)
    • Bamboo Castle (Bamboo Castle)
    • Maasum Darindah (Innocent Beast)
    • Begum X-2 (Mrs. X-2)
    • Shahbaz ka Basaira (Shahbaz's Abode)
    • Raishon ki Yalghaar (Attack of Threads)
    • Khatarnak Dhalaan (Dangerous Slope)
    • Jungle mein Mungle (Feast in the Forest)
    • Teen Sanaki (Three Lunatics)
    • Aadha Teetar (Half Partridge)
    • Aadha Bater (Half Quail)
    • Allama Dehshatnaak (Sir Dreadful)
    • Farishtay ka Dushman (Angel's Foe)
    • Be-chara Shahzor (Poor Shahzor)
    • Kali Kehkashan (Dark Galaxy)
    • Seh-rangi Maut (Tri-colored Death)
    • Mutaharrik Dhariyan (Animated Stripes)
    • Jonk aur Naagan (Leech and Serpent)
    • Laash Gati Rahi (The Corpse kept Singing)
    • Khushbu ka Hamlah (Attack of the Perfume)
    • Baba Sag Parast (Dog Worshiper)
    • Mehektay Muhafiz (Fregrant Guards)
    • Halakat Khez (Deadly)
    • Zebra-Man (Zebra-Man)
    • Jungle ki Shehriyat (Citizenship of the Jungle)
    • Mona Lisa ki Nawasi (Mona Lisa's Granddaughter)
    • Khuuni Fankar (Bloody Artist)
    • Maut ki Aahat (Sound of Death)
    • Doosra Rukh (The Other Side)
    • Chatanon ka Raaz (Secret of the Rocks)
    • Thanda Suraj (The Cold Sun)
    • Talash-e-Gumshudah (Search for the Lost)
    • ka Daira (Circle of Fire)
    • Larazti Lakeerein (Trembling Stripes)
    • Pathar ka Aadmi (Stone Man)
    • Doosra Pathar (Second Stone)
    • Khatarnak Ungliyan (Dangerous Fingers)
    • Raat ka Bhikari (The Night Beggar)
    • Aakhri Aadmi (The Last Man)
    • Doctor Dua-go (Doctor Well-wisher)
    • Jonk Ki Wapsi (The Leech Returns)
    • Zehrili Tasveer (Poisonous Painting)
    • Bebakon Ki Talash (Search of The Braves)
    Jasoosi Dunya ("The Spy World") is a best-selling series of Urdu spy novels written from 1952 by Ibn-e-Safi.

    These novels have been republished as 42 volumes such that each volume now combines multiple (1-4) books from previous publication.

    List of these novels is given below:
    • Diler Mujrim
    • Kofnak Jungle
    • Aura farosh ka qatal
    • Tijori ka raz
    • Faridi aur Leonard
    • Purasrar KunwaN
    • Khatarnak BooRha
    • Musnoi Nak
    • Purasrar Ajnabi
    • Ahmaqon ka chukkar
    • PahaRoN kee malka
    • Moat kee Andhee
    • Heeray kee Kan
    • Tijori ka Geet
    • Atishee Parindah
    • Khooni Pathar
    • Bhayanak Jazeerah
    • Ajeeb AwazaiN
    • Raqqasah ka qatal
    • Neeli Roshni
    • Shahee Naqqarah
    • Khoon ka Durya
    • Qatil Sungraizay
    • Pathar kee Cheekh
    • Kofnak Hungama
    • Dohra qatal
    • Char Shikaree
    • Bay Gunah Mujrim
    • LahsoN ka Abshar
    • MooNch moondnay walee
    • GeetoN kay dhamakay
    • Siya posh lutera
    • Barf kay bhoot
    • Purhawl Sunnata
    • Cheekhtay dareechay
    • Khatarnak Dushman
    • Jungle kee Aag
    • Kuchlee hoee lash
    • Andheray ka Shahanshah
    • Purasrar Wasiyat
    • Moat kee chatan
    • Neeli lakeer
    • Tareek Saaay
    • Sazish ka jal
    • Khooni Bagolay
    • LashoN ka Saudagar
    • Holnak Veeranay
    • Leonard kee Wapsee
    • Pagal Khanay ka qaidee
    • SholoN ka nach
    • GiyarwhaN zeenah
    • Surkh Dairah
    • KhoNkhwar larkiyaN
    • Saaay kee talash
    • Pehal Shola
    • Doosrah Shola
    • Teesra Shola
    • Jahannum ka shoal
    • Zahreelay teer
    • Panee ka dhwaN
    • Lash ka qahqaha
    • Doctor Dread
    • Shaitaan kee Mehboobah
    • Anokhay RaqqaS
    • Pur-asrar Maujid
    • Toofan ka aghwa
    • Raifle ka naghma
    • Thandee aag
    • Japan ka fitna
    • DushmanoN ka shehr
    • Lash ka bulawa
    • Guard ka aghwa
    • Shadee ka hungama
    • Zameen kay badal
    • Wabai Heejan
    • Ooncha shikar
    • Awarah shahzadah
    • Chandnee ka DhuaN
    • SainkRoN humshakal
    • Ultee tasveer
    • Chumkeela ghubar
    • Anokhi rahzanee
    • DhuaN uth raha hay
    • Farhad
    • Zahreela admee
    • Prince Vahshi
    • Baicharah shikaree
    • IsharoN kay shikar
    • SitaroN kee mot
    • SitaroN kee cheekhaiN
    • SatvaN jazeerah
    • Shaitanee jhee 
    • Sunehree chingariaN
    • Sehmee hoi larkee
    • Qatil ka hath
    • Rulanay valee
    • Tasveer ka dushman
    • Deopakar darindah
    • Tisdil kee baidaree
    • Kofnak mansooba
    • Tabahee ka khwab
    • Mohlik shanasaee
    • DhuaN hoi deevar
    • Khoonee raishay
    • Teesree nagan
    • Raigam bala
    • Bhairyay kee awaz
    • Ajnabi ka farar
    • Roshan hewla
    • Zard fitnah
    • Rait ka dewta
    • SanpoN ka maseeha
    • Thanda jahannam
    • Zehreela sayyara
    • Neelam kee wapsi
    • Mauroosi havis
    • Dehshat-gar
    • Shikaree parchhaiyaN
    • ParchhaiyoN kay hamlay
    • SayoN ka takrao
    • Humzad ka maskan
    • Sahraee deewanah

    14 comments:

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      ReplyDelete
    2. nice work brother

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      ReplyDelete
    3. free urdu books and novels, monthly digest like anchal digest, urdu digest and much more anailable in this site


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      ReplyDelete
    4. Complete of Imran Series by Ibne Safi Here http://urdu24.blogspot.com

      ReplyDelete
    5. This comment has been removed by the author.

      ReplyDelete
    6. This comment has been removed by the author.

      ReplyDelete
    7. Colonel Fareedi ki poori team ka naam ap ne nahi Likha is men it is so sad. Tariq Sahab, Roza, Nawab Rasheed uz Zaman, Inspector Aasif, Inspector Jagdesh, Haresh or ap ne Anwar or Rasheeda ka name likha par designation nahi. Crime Reporter Anwar and Rasheeda etc. It is great team. Colonel Fareedi Team is best in the world and then Imran team. Thanks Syed Fahad (sayyedfahad@yahoo.com)

      ReplyDelete
    8. Dear S Fahad.

      Thanks for your comments.

      I respect your opinion about Faridi's team. Many people, including you ofcourse, like Faridi and his team more than Imran and team.

      As for as mentioning Faridi's team concerns, the post is neither about Imran nor Faridi and his team. The post is about the Ibn-e-Safi, the legendary writer who introduced Imran and Faridi to us, the Urdu spy readers.

      I will try to make another post regarding introduction of Imran Series and Jasusi Dunya in which the detailed introduction of both teams will be given.

      Thanks for your comments, once again... I hope you will share your views in future as well.

      ReplyDelete
    9. i am looking for tuzke do-piazi (incomplete) book in pdf format, but not getting anywhere, can u kindly arrange the same....Ahmed Kamal Faridi series as well as Imran series stories i had read all & all are wonderful.....but somehow i m missing tuzke do-piazi (incomplete)...i will be very thankfull if u will provide the same.

      thanks.
      khan

      ReplyDelete
    10. Can anyone give me tuzk e do piyazi, baldaraan ki malika, aadmi ki jarren, muaziz khoprri and other non series work of ibn e safi in pdf format??

      ReplyDelete
    11. tuzak do piazi ka aik part waqar azeem sb. ne post kia hua hai........ shayad kabhi 2sra b kr dein...................... unn se request karein.....

      ReplyDelete

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