Book Reviews Reviews

Book review: Chacha Chhakkan

Written by Omair Alavi

Omair Alavi|Published June 5, 2021

Urdu literature is full of funny characters that make you laugh, but for kids, there isn’t any character more comic, more memorable and overconfident than Chacha Chhakkan. Created by the legendary Imtiaz Ali Taj before the creation of Pakistan, the character manages to make generations fall in love with its stupidity, illogical interruptions and inability to not get a job done despite all the help available.

In this book, ten of the best Chacha Chhakkan stories are discussed in which he is seen as wreaking havoc without even realising it. If you haven’t read a Chacha Chhakkan story yet, then this is the best time to do so; not only will it help you improve your Urdu reading, but also make you fall in love with the language. Despite being written more than 75 years ago, the stories are still valid and interesting because the decades might have changed, but the circumstances haven’t.

Many of you out there might have read the story where Chacha Chhakkan hangs a picture, since it is part of the Urdu course book in schools. This book starts with that story, where Chacha Chhakkan makes an easy job look difficult, and thus creates situations that are laughable for everyone.

He shows the same careless attitude in the remaining nine stories where, in the end, he wants to be congratulated for what he considers as a job well done.

In one of these stories, he decides to mediate between two fighting parties that had already made peace, and makes the situation even worse; in another, he is made to look after his sick son and ends up making him sicker. In one story, he spends an entire day in a bad mood because he couldn’t keep his mouth shut in the morning, while in the most interesting story of all, he undertakes the job of handing out the dirty clothes to the washing lady and even fails in that miserably.

What makes this short story collection even more interesting is that after going through it, you will be able to either recall a similar incident from your life or relate to one of the adventures that might have happened to you or someone you know. After all, every house has someone who loves to write or speak difficult Urdu without realising that the other party might not be that well-read, agree to tasks they have no clue about, forget their glasses while doing something else, or even buy eatery items for the household and end up eating them before others!

Get the idea? That’s Chacha Chhakkan for you!

About the author

Omair Alavi