LONDON- 25 June, 2021. Cine Ink, the London-based hub of digital programmes, has announced a new podcast series in Urdu, Musafir Ki Diary, a travelogue written in 1938 by India’s renowned writer, journalist and filmmaker, Khwaja Ahmad Abbas, from 28th June, 2021.

Musafir Ki Diary, hailed as the first modern travelogue written in Urdu but almost forgotten and lost, has been described as an important document of the times and upheavals of history before the Second World War. Abbas, 24, set out on a journey that would take him to several countries as he left for Shanghai on 28th June, 1938.

Presented by broadcaster Pervaiz Alam, the series consisting of 40 episodes is being produced in association with the Delhi-based Khwaja Ahmad Abbas Memorial Trust and will be available on all major podcast networks, including Apple Podcasts and Spotify. 

“Musafir Ki Diary not only informs listeners about the economic and political environment of the countries K.A. Abbas visited in late 1930s, but also provides an insight into his leanings, observations and his sense of humour,” said the series producer Achala Sharma, renowned broadcaster and former head of the BBC Hindi service. “The book is not available in the market but luckily the great Urdu Rekhta Foundation had preserved it in a digitised format on their website,” added Achala Sharma.

Syeda Hameed, human rights activist, former member of Indian Planning Commission and the Chair of Khwaja Ahmed Abbas Memorial Trust said, “Many lenses can be used to trace the person called Khwaja Ahmed Abbas. Musafir Ki Diary, written 80 years ago, is his lens for you to know him. He was a man with a mission, ‘Mujhe kuchh kehna hai’. Whether in films or in his stories, columns and novels, he was a man in a hurry .” 

She added, “Musafir Ki Diary is indeed the first modern travelogue of the Urdu language. I am so pleased that this travelogue by KA Abbas is being serialised in a podcast series by Cineink to reach wider audiences all over the world.”

Khwaja Ahmad Abbas (7 June 1914 – 1 June 1987) travelled to 17 countries in 5 months, covering a distance of 25,000 miles. This cost him 3,500 rupees. The cities he visited were: Colombo, Singapore, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Nagasaki, Kobe, Tokyo, Vancouver, Seattle, Los Angeles, New York, Paris, Geneva, Venice, London, Paris, Munich, Vienna, Budapest, Bucharest, Istanbul, Angora (Ankara), Baghdad, Karbala, Basra and Karachi. 

Prolific, versatile and progressive, KA Abbas wrote 74 books, 90 short stories, 3,000 journalistic articles and several plays. He directed classics like Dharti Ke Lal (1946), and eventually received National Film Awards for Shehar Aur Sapna (1963), Do Boond Pani (1971) and Saat Hindustani (1969)- the film which gave India’s superstar Amitabh Bachchan his first role in films.

Abbas won the prestigious Palme d’Or (Grand Prize) at the Cannes Film Festival for his screenplay for Neecha Nagar (1946). As a screenwriter, he worked on mega Raj Kapoor films such as Awara (1951), Shri 420 (1955),  Jagte Raho (1956), Mera Naam Joker (1970), and Bobby (1973).  

His column in the Bombay Chronicle which shifted to Blitz ran with continuity for 52 years, starting in 1932 and ending only with the writer’s death in 1987.

The podcast series “Musafir Ki Diary’ will be available on all major podcast platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts and YouTube.