For those with even the slightest interest in English-language journalism in Pakistan, Ardeshir Cowasjee needs little introduction. He remained one of the most read English columnists of this country for over two decades, until he penned his final piece for Dawn newspaper on December 25, 2011.
Though his passing last November means that he will write no more, Cowasjee has left a rich body of work that will appeal to a variety of readers, decades down the line. And while the Internet may have made tracing his writings easier, Vintage Cowasjee, a selection of around 200 columns [published in Dawn], is a commendable effort at collating and organising, subject-wise, some of the veteran columnist’s most memorable pieces.
At nearly 800 pages, it is a weighty tome. Yet considering the wide variety of subjects that Cowasjee wrote on, as well as the duration of his column-writing career, this size is perhaps justifiable. The book begins in reverse order with Cowasjee’s last published column appearing first in which, apart from bidding his readers farewell, he bemoans the loss of Mohammad Ali Jinnah’s Pakistan.