To go with story 'Lifestyle-Pakistan-France-Literature-Social' by Issam Ahmed
In this photograph taken on January 20, 2014 Frenchman Julien Columeau sits in a book store in Lahore. AFP PHOTO/ARIF ALI
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Frenchman Julien Columeau came to Pakistan at the age of 30 as a humanitarian worker, but a knack for languages and love of books have made him one of the country's most innovative Urdu novelists.Originally from Marseilles, Columeau left France to study Hindi in India in 1993, but quickly grew disillusioned with the "clerical" form of the language he was being made to learn and switched to Urdu two years later.Columeau's first Urdu short story, Zalzala, or "earthquake", came out after the catastrophic quake of 2005 and was set between a girls' school in Pakistani Kashmir and an apartment tower in Islamabad.But it was when he turned his attention to Pakistan's iconic 20th century poets that Columeau came into his own as an Urdu writer.After his death Siddiqui's legend grew and a shrine was built for him in the eastern city of Lahore, now mostly frequented by the working class and those looking for blessings and inspiration -- including Columeau himself.His second book on vagabond street poet Mira Jee was positively reviewed by 90-year-old Intizar Husain, widely seen as the greatest living Urdu writer, who is hailed for his works around partition and the 10-year dictatorship of Zia-ul-Haq.
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