Pakistan once hosted great modern cities of enlightenments like Lahore and Peshwar. Though both the cities along with many others are now safe heavens for urban ruins, debris, splinters and gunshots, attempts to keep the old myth alive is ardent. Jamil Ahmed, Daniyal Mueenuddin, Tariq Ali, Mohsin Hamid are notable for their struggles waged in both Pakistan and in the west to preserve the freedom of art and culture.
Among very few Pakistanis remaining to be known for following dictations by their wives, is Jamil Ahmad. The Punjab married Helga after meeting her in London. Ms Helga was a rather sound critic of Jamil's early fledglings with poetry but a diligent promoter of his works.
Born in Punjab of the undivided India in 1931 Ahmad got his early education in Lahore. He started working in the Swat Valley as a civil service officer in 1954. During his career, he worked at various remote areas such as the Frontier Province, Quetta, Chaghi, Khyber and Malakand. He served as a minister at the Paksitani consulate in the capital of Afghanistan during the Sovient invasion in 1979. Ahmad and Ms Helga had two sons and a daughter at the time of his death.
Ahmad started his adventure in the literature world with poetry. But switched to fiction when his wife chided him, "Why don't you write about something you know?" Thus he wrote most of the novel in the '70s. But finished it 38-odd years later rather reluctantly after being repeatedly pushed by his family. The book received rave reviews. The Guardian called it "one of the finest collections of short stories to come out of south Asia in decades."
Depending on different points of views 'The Wandering Falcon' can either be termed as an anthology of short stories or as a novel. It is the story of a black falcon and his troublesome ventures through the seemingly impenetrable tribal belt of the Pak - Afghan border. The narratives pivot on the strict code of conduct of the tribals known as pashtunwali, the lawlessness of the land where women are traded as commodity, adultery and anarchism, silhouetted against the Baluch desert landscape.
Jamil Ahmad had also published a short story named 'The Sins of the Mother' in Pakistan in 2010. He died on July 12, 2014.