PESHAWAR: The third edition of Prof Mansoor Akbar Kundi’s book titled “Turkey, A rich Mix of Past & Present” could be termed a valuable guide for those intending to visit the brotherly Islamic country or keen to know about its history and culture.
Based on journeys and research, the 161-page book contains information about the centuries-old Ottoman Empire founded by Osman Khan, brief history of all the 36 Sultans who have ruled the state, their victories in battles for expansion of the empire, Turks’ way of life, similarities in Pak-Turk cultures as well as the founder of modern Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.
The author, who stayed in Turkey for almost four years as Iqbal Fellow at Istanbul University, has penned his experience of interaction with Turks, visits to different historical places, cities and shrines of holy prophets and Sahaba (Companions of the Holy Prophet (Peace be upon him).
Prominent among the sites he has mentioned are shrines and birthplaces of holy figures and the graves of 28 Sahaba Kiram including Ayub Ansari (RA). A chapter on Maulana Rumi is worth reading. Born in 1207 at Balkh, Mazar-i-Sharif in Afghanistan, the great sufi poet and saint Jalaluddin Muhammad along with his father Sheikh Bahauddin, also a great scholar and saint who earned the title of Sultanul Ulema, moved to Anatolia from where they travelled to Konya, Turkey and stayed there for the rest of their life.
Sultan Selim II was among the devotees of Maulana Rumi. Thousands of visitors daily visit Rumi’s mausoleum housing 65 graves including that of his father, other family members and disciples. Celebrations at the Rumi tomb and visit to his mother’s tomb at Kirma, another city, are both big events attracting a large number of visitors.
There is also a chapter on Abdur Rahman Peshawari. Born to Ghulam Samdani and his wife in Peshawar, he moved to MAO College, Aligarh after getting primary education at Peshawar. He went to Turkey during the Balkan war as member of the Indian Muslim Red Crescent Committee and then served as Turkish Ambassador of the national government to Afghanistan in 1921. He died in 1925 unmarried and as per his will was laid to rest at Macka graveyard, Istanbul where famous pan-Islamist Jamal-ud-Din Afghani is also buried.
The author of 10 books, Prof Mansoor Akbar Kundi, vice-chancellor Gomal University Dera Ismail Khan, has discussed in his book the Turks’ pride in their homeland, their love for Pakistan, similarities between Pak-Turk cultures, common words in Urdu and Turkish languages, traditions like visiting shrines as worthy of veneration and to pray for rain and bringing young boys to the shrine prior to their circumcision.
The book describes in detail the cities like Istanbul that is called the city of two continents, Asia (Konya) and Europe (Thessaloniki), the birth city of Ataturk. The book also contains information about public transport, trains, hotels and restaurants, food, TV channels and newspapers, etc.
Though the book has some mistakes, it has collection of rare photographs. Kundi, who has studied in Pakistan and the United States, has also served as dean of various faculties at Balochistan University.