KARACHI: Eminent scholar, writer, poet, musician and thinker Daud Rahbar passed away at a nursing home in Deerfield Beach, Florida, the United States, on Saturday. He was 86. He is survived by his wife and two daughters.

Born in 1926, Mr Rahbar spent his early days in Lahore where he showed fondness for writing poetry at the age of eight.

His father Mohammad Iqbal, who was named after Allama Iqbal, was also a scholar and taught Persian and Arabic literature. Mr Rahbar obtained his master’s degree in Arabic literature from Government College Lahore and taught Arabic literature at Oriental College Lahore.

In 1949, he left Pakistan for Cambridge University where he got his PhD. He served as teacher at reputable universities in Canada and Turkey. His love for poetry and music never subsided, which led him to study Indian classical music. In 1968, he became a member of the faculty of Boston University where he taught comparative religions for 23 years. He retired in 1991 and settled in Florida.

Mr Rahbar wrote several books on a variety of subjects. They include Salam-o-Payam (letters), Paragandah Taba Loag, Kulliyat (a collection of his poems) and Memories and Meanings.

In 1958, he participated in an international conference in Lahore where he read out a paper entitled ‘The Challenges of Muslim Ideas and Social Values to Muslim Society’. It didn’t go down well with some of the participants. They created a hue and cry about the paper. Mr Rahbar was not given a chance to explain his position.

Talking to Dawn, eminent theatre person and writer Zia Mohyeddin said: “He was my guru. He was the son of my father’s younger brother. You may not have seen such an underrated scholar (aalim). He was professor of comparative religions for more than 20 years.

“Rahbar was the author of many books. He translated Ghalib’s letters into English and then wrote a comprehensive book on the subject. No less significant were his memoirs. He was a humanist. He himself penned many letters, published in the form of a book. After Ghalib’s khutoot, in my view, his are the ones that I rate very highly. They include the letters that he wrote to Maulana Abdul Haq, his teacher and friend.

“Rahbar was the one who opened my eyes towards literature, philosophy and the wonders of life. Although he was my cousin, I considered him my friend. What we missed was gained by an American university.

More From This Section

SC has learnt to bolster democracy, says chief justice

Authority of SC may be extended to a number of areas from which it has historically maintained a distance, said CJ.

Musharraf likely to travel to Karachi today

Sources said Musharraf's likely visit to Karachi is on account of security issues and to continue of his treatment.

Nation standing firm beside armed forces: PM

The prime minister was addressing the passing out parade of the 129th Pakistan Military Academy Long Course on Saturday.

Police officer among two shot dead in Quetta targeted killings

Armed militants killed a police officer and critically injured his son on Quetta's troubled Sariab road area.

Comments are closed.

Comments (3)

October 8, 2013 11:07 am

How many few good man left now ???

fida sayani
October 8, 2013 12:28 pm

Tragedy for Pakistan. Intellectual, honorable and good and civilized individuals left Pakistan for foreign land, because they never felt comfortable living in the kind of life available to them in Pakistan. Net net who lost, but PAKISTAN.

Rizwan Masood
October 8, 2013 6:38 pm

Died in a Nursing Home? Isn't that sad? Had he been in Pakistan........

Explore: Indian elections 2014
Explore: Indian elections 2014
How much do you know about Indian Elections?
How much do you know about Indian Elections?
From The Newspaper