Crazy Diamonds

Published Nov 01, 2012 04:38pm

Like any other country, Pakistan too has been producing geniuses in various fields.

But this piece is not about them.

It is about those highly talented Pakistani men and women who experienced the flip side of genius: i.e. an awkward and often torturous state of mind that some describe as being a kind of madness.

This is a study of Pakistanis whose lives have been touched by a strain of overt brilliance whose cost has sometimes been mental anguish, social isolation and unfulfilled (or only partially realised) talent.

______________________________

Ahmed Parvez

Ahmed Parvez is perhaps one of the most fascinating (and tragic) figures in the history of fine arts in Pakistan.

Born in Rawalpindi, Parvez started his career at the Punjab University.  A restless soul, Parvez moved to London in 1955.

Parvez was highly motivated to increase awareness of the new developments in painting he witnessed in London and consequently attempted to integrate Modernism into Pakistani art.

In the late 1960s Ahmed returned to Pakistan and moved to Karachi. Across the 1970s Parvez rose to become one of the country’s premier artists and a huge influence in the then thriving art scene of the city.

In spite of being surrounded by young admirers, Parvez remained to be restless and impatient, never satisfied.

His lifestyle became increasingly erratic. Nonchalant about being hailed as a genius by art critics in the UK, US and Pakistan and able to sell well his work, a contemporary noted that Ahmed treated money ‘as if he hated it.’

Most of it was spent on alcohol and this attracted ‘free loaders’. However, sick of the company he was attracting, Ahmed began frequenting the various Sufi shrines of Karachi.

Though he had already experimented with drugs like LSD and hashish in London, he became a habitual hashish user at Karachi’s famous Abdullah Shah Ghazi shrine in the Clifton area.

In fact by the mid-1970s, Ahmed could be seen exchanging hash pipes with fakirs at the shrine. But he continued to paint prolifically.

A 1970 Modernist painting by Ahmad Parvez that was successfully exhibited in various renowned galleries of the UK and the US.

A 1970 Modernist painting by Ahmad Parvez that was successfully exhibited in various renowned galleries of the UK and the US.

Art critic, Zubaida Agha, in an essay on Ahmed Parvez writes that the more fame Parvez gathered the more erratic and ‘unhealthy’ his lifestyle became.

By the late 1970s he was almost permanently staying at the Abdullah Shah Ghazi shrine.

A Lahore-based artist, Maqbool Ahmed, who was a student at the Lahore College of Arts in the late 1970s, told me how he came to Karachi to meet his idol, Ahmed Parvez, but was shocked at what he found: ‘This was 1978. Parvez was a mess. He didn’t even acknowledge my praise and presence.’

Maqbool said Parvez could have made millions: ‘He did make some money but it seemed he wasn’t interested. He behaved as if he was selling his soul to people who had no clue what his art was all about. Perhaps, it was this guilt that drove him into the hands of the fakirs.’

Even when in 1978 the government bestowed upon him the prestigious Pride of Performance Award, Parvez continued his bizarre lifestyle.

Then it happened. And no one was surprised.

In early 1979, Ahmed was found dead on the grounds of the Abdullah Shah Ghazi shrine.  He was 53.

Lamenting Parvez’s self-imposed isolation and destructive lifestyle, an art critic writing for DAWN in 1979 added that ‘Ahmed Parvez still had another 20 years of genius left in him.’

But perhaps, it was this genius that so tragically sealed his fate as well?

______________________________

Saadat Hasan Manto

Today hailed as one of the sharpest and most insightful Urdu short-story writers, Manto reflected the many traits found in the characters he created for his stories: Men and women with a desire to settle in settings that continued to seem alien and even hostile to their mental and emotional dispositions.

Born in colonial India, Manto produced the most compelling stories.

The partition of India into two separate countries baffled him and this bafflement became a regular theme in some of his most enduring short stories.

Though, a progressive in his politics, Manto could not fit into the fold of the famous ‘Progressive Writers Movement’ (PWM) that was churning out literature to initiate socio-political change.

It was the language and the imagery that he used in his stories that many of his progressive contemporaries could not come to terms with. They found them to be ‘crude,’ leaving Manto free to become what he really was: An uncompromising individualist.

Divorced by the ways of the PWM, Manto continued producing stories about misunderstood, and at times painfully inarticulate individuals trying to come to terms with the meaningless violence and the sudden (and at times bizarre) feelings of separation that followed the 1947 partition of India.

Abandoned by his progressive contemporaries, Manto soon found himself facing a barrage of accusations by religious outfits and the government.

In the early 1950s, the religious parties denounced him for producing ‘obscene literature’ as the government (though largely secular) sided with his religious critics.

But Manto was neither obscene nor a part of any revolutionary political struggle. He was just different, and perhaps a bit ahead of his time.

Manto was booked and tried in the court of law six times for supposedly ‘spreading obscenity.’ Though each time he was let off, the experience and also the reception his writings attracted both from the left and the right sides of the ideological divide, significantly contributed to his isolation and his need to drink.

Manto’s stories remained popular with fans of Urdu fiction, but he became increasingly bitter and eccentric. A time came when he was dishing out stories (for magazines) only so he could get paid enough money to buy the cheap whiskey he had become addicted to in Lahore.

Misunderstood, dragged to the courts, harshly critiqued and denounced as being ‘obscene’, Manto literally drank himself to death. He died of liver malfunction in 1955. He was only 42.

______________________________

N M. Rashid (aka Noon Meem Rashid)

N M. Rashid is one of the most enigmatic creative geniuses to come out of Pakistan.

A Masters student of Economics at the Government College of Lahore, he spent most of his time working as a civil servant and even served at the United Nations.

His emergence as a poet was slow mainly because he seemed to be leading two separate lives.

One was of a straight-laced, white-collar worker in an expensive three-piece suit and conservative glasses; a calm man who went about serenely chewing a pipe. The other life was that of a highly esoteric poet challenging the conventions of Urdu poetry and ghazal and having a robust (but secret) sexual lifestyle that was at best ambiguous.

Writing about Rashid, literary critic, Prof. Gilani Kamran, says Rashid employed erotic ghazal phraseology for the interpretation of socio-political reality.

It would not be before the late 1960s that Rashid started to be read widely by poetry fans in Pakistan.

He also worked vigorously against the slipping in of Middle Eastern (Arabic) influence in Pakistani culture and strived to retain the region’s historical Persian influence. But it was at this juncture that he suddenly decided to move to the UK.

A recently published book containing the study and English translation of Rashid’s most famous poems.

In 1975, just before his death, Rashid instructed his friends that instead of burying his body, it should be cremated.

That’s exactly what they did when he passed away in 1975, leaving the religious lobbies in Pakistan asking the government to declare Rashid an infidel and ban the sale of books containing his poetry.

As fate would have it, his poetry has enjoyed far more popularity and recognition after his death.

______________________________

Ibn-e-Safi

Ibn-e-Safi was a fascinating phenomenon. A young school teacher in 1952 but raring to make a name for himself as a writer, Safi began writing highly imaginative spy novels.

From 1957 onwards his writing pace more than doubled, and by 1960 he had written over a hundred short novels, all taking place in the imaginary and fantastical world that he had created, full of colourful spies, beautiful women, strange-sounding villains, exotic places and odd gadgets.

But as Safi came up with one exotic story after another, he also began to isolate himself from his family. He eventually collapsed within himself, suffering a serious bout of schizophrenia for which he needed to be committed to a psychiatric ward.

In 1960 his career seemed to be as good as over when he was put on heavy tranquilisers but continued suffering from hallucinations and severe paranoia.

He began to believe that the characters that he had created were real and that the villains among them were conspiring against him.

Shifting back to his home, Safi was patiently nursed back to health by his wife (and a family hakeem).

Amazingly, just three (painful years) later, he was back writing again.

The demand for his spy novels reached new heights (both in Pakistan, as well as India) and he kept producing them with incredible speed.

In another interesting twist, in 1973 Pakistan’s intelligence agency, the ISI, actually invited him on a number of occasions to lecture new ISI recruits on the ‘art of espionage.’

Becoming Pakistan’s best-selling author, one of Safi’s books was also turned into a film in 1974 by producer Hussain Talpur (a maverick film-maker who was also known as ‘Maulana Hippie’).

A 1974 press clipping of the launch of the film ‘Dhamaka’ based on Ibn-e-Safi’s novels. Seen in the pictures are singer Shenaz Begum (left) and Ibn-e-Safi with producer, Maullana Hippe.

Despite being a best selling author, Safi perhaps made half the amount of money that he should have mainly due to the crookedness of many of his publishers and his own lack of understanding of the financial sides of his work.

In 1977 a TV series based on his stories was shot by PTV. However, its run was disallowed when the government of Z A. Bhutto was toppled in a reactionary military coup. The reason given by the military regime was that the series was ‘vulgar’.

Safi, who had continued to be on medication, fell ill again.

Three years later in 1980 he passed away, leaving behind a humongous body of work that is still being reproduced. He was 52.

______________________________

Wasim Hasan Raja

Pakistan has produced a number of brilliant cricketers with outstanding playing skills.

But none has been as hard to pin down, elusive and (to his captains), as frustratingly talented as Wasim Raja (elder brother of former Pakistan cricket captain and popular commentator, Ramiz Raja).

Just before the 1987 Cricket World Cup when the then Pakistan cricket captain, Imran Khan, was holding a large (and televised) function to raise funds for his cancer hospital, the Pakistan team joined him on the stage.

The host of the event (late Moin Akhtar) went about with a microphone talking to various players. When he reached Imran, he asked him who he thought was the most talented player he’s ever played with.

Imran smiled and while pointing at Ramiz Raja said: ‘His brother, Wasim Raja. He was hugely talented, but very erratic.’

Even in his book, ‘An All Round View’ (1994), Khan writes that Wasim never did justice to his stunning talent.

Coming from a highly educated family of Lahore, Raja made his Test debut in 1973, selected for his prodigious cricketing talents.

But throughout his career he remained to be a rebel and a loner. He continued to have a problematic relationship with almost all of his captains and the Pakistan cricket board.

Perhaps the only captain that was able to nurture his talent the most was Mushtaq Muhammad under whom Raja played his finest cricket.

In an essay written by West Indian batsman and former captain, Rohan Kanahi, after his team’s 1975 tour of Pakistan, Kanahi was highly impressed by the swashbuckling batting talents of Raja.

But Kanhai was once surprised to see Raja sitting alone at the bar during a party in Karachi: ‘He was not very easy to talk to,’ Kanhai wrote. ‘He was very private and detached from the rest of the team.’

But the crowds loved him. During the second Test against the visiting Windies in Karachi (in 1975), while fielding near the boundary line, Raja baited a section of the large crowd at the National Stadium by teasingly threatening to unzip his fly! Outraged, the conservative Urdu press accused him of being drunk on the field. Raja, however, went on to crack a superb century in the match.

Pushed in and out of the team for his cavalier approach, Raja was not played in the 1976 series against New Zealand that Pakistan won 2-0 (under Mushtaq).

His name was missing again from the 18-member squad that was announced for Pakistan’s long tour of Australia and the West Indies. Both teams at the time were considered to be the best in the world.

However, on the insistence of captain, Mushtaq Muhammad, and manager, Omar Kureshi, Raja was finally given a berth in the touring squad.

In spite of performing well in the side games, Raja could not find a place in the playing eleven in the 3-Test series against Australia (that Pakistan drew 1-1).

Raja had scored a scorching century against a tough Queensland side, but when the night before the third Test he was told by the team manager (Col. Sujja) that he will not be picked for the Test, Raja went on a rampage.

Always a reckless drinker but painfully introverted, Raja decided to express his rage by smashing all the mirrors in his hotel room (with a whiskey bottle). He then stumbled into the hotel lobby, slurring abuses against Sujja.

In his autobiography, Mushtaq Muhammad relates how some players, who were having a drink at the hotel bar, panicked and approached Mushtaq, and it was left to the captain to cool Raja down. Mushtaq also suggests that Sujja actually wanted Raja in the playing eleven, but it was Mushtaq who decided to play Haroon Rashid instead.

The management decided to send Raja back to Pakistan, but Mushtaq vetoed the decision.

Raja finally got his chance in the West Indies leg of the tour, on faster wickets and against faster bowlers. In a closely contested 5-Test series (that the Windies won 2-1), Raja compiled over 500 runs, cracking one century and five fifties (and hitting 14 sixes – a record at the time of a batsman hitting the most sixes in a series).

A Pakistani player fondly remembered how Raja (during the fourth Test) sat in the dressing room in his shorts, then casually walked out to smoke ganja with some West Indian fans, came back, padded up, went in and hit the fearsome fast bowler, Joel Garner, for a first ball six over long-off!

In his book, Mushtaq writes that he continued to tolerate Raja’s ‘many eccentricities’ because he was performing brilliantly.

Pakistan team posing after winning the fourth Test against the mighty West Indies in Port of Spain (April 1977). From Left: Iqbal Qasim, Mohsin Khan, Haroon Rashid, Sarfraz Nawaz, Wasim Bari, Javed Miandad, Imran Khan, Mushtaq Muhammad, Sadiq Muhammad, Asif Iqbal, Intikhab Alam, Zaheer Abbas, Salim Altaf and Wasim Raja.

After five top Pakistanis opted to play for Kerry Pecker’s World Series Cricket in Australia (they were consequently banned by the Pakistani board), Raja’s name came up to take over the team’s captaincy.

But his volatile personality and cavalier approach made the board give the position to Wasim Bari.

Then when the banned players returned for the 1978 series against India, Raja was dropped yet again. However, he found himself back in the team for Pakistan’s exhaustive six-Test tour of India in 1979. By now Asif Iqbal had (controversially) replaced Mushtaq as skipper.

Having no clue how to handle the team’s two brilliant but erratic and mercurial players, Sarfraz Nawaz and Raja, Asif had a falling out with Nawaz who refused to play under him. But Asif decided to take along Raja.

As Pakistan’s top batsmen all struggled on the tour and the team’s premier fast bowler, Imran Khan, found himself in the quagmire of fixing his troubled back and fending off rumours of him having a torrid affair with Bollywood actress, Zeenat Aman, Raja decided to have a ball.

Though Pakistan lost the series 2-0, Raja scored over 500 runs in the series, throwing caution to the wind and always in danger of being dropped for not heeding the captain’s advice.

Raja carried his good form under new captain, Javed Miandad, even though Miandad confessed that it was always a tussle to reign-in Raja’s impulsiveness and detached demeanour.

Veteran sports journalist, Iqbal Munir, explained Raja as an ‘angry young man,’ who was always hard to understand and, in fact, actually did not want to be understood.

Raja hardly had any close friends in the team. Comparatively speaking, the only player he did somewhat get along with was fast bowler, Sarfraz Nawaz, himself a volatile and erratic figure.

Raja continued to baffle the selectors and captains and constantly lost his position in the side until he finally bid farewell to cricket in 1986.

Former Pakistan captain Imran Khan suggested that Raja was brimming with extraordinary talent, but his detached attitude, and his temperamental and loner personality stopped him from realising his true potential and become a constant part of a unit.

Raja moved to the UK to become a teacher. He died there at the age of just 54.

______________________________

Roohi Bano

A 1975 portrait of Roohi Bano.

‘A real genius,’ this is how famous author and playwright, Ashfaq Ahmed, once described Pakistan’s TV and film actress, Roohi Bano.

Bano was the most sort-after TV actress in the 1970s. Along with Uzma Gillani, late Khalida Riasat, Madeeha Gauhar, (and, to a certain extent, Sameena Pirzada), defined and almost perfected the art of serious TV acting for a host of Pakistani TV actresses that followed.

But Bano remained to be the finest in this league because even though she acted (as a heroine in a few films), and also took some light roles, producers and writers struggling to bring to the mini-screen plays by intellectual heavyweights, always chose her as their leading lady.

The reason was simple: She could seamlessly immerse herself in roles that were constructed to express awkward psychological and emotional complexities.

That’s why her most compelling moments can be found in TV plays scripted by Ashfaq Ahmad in the 1970s – a time when the author himself was struggling to come to terms with his own intellectual and existential crises, trying to figure out a path between the free-wheeling liberal zeitgeist of the period, populist socialism and Sufism.

A video grab of a 1974 Roohi Bano play on PTV.

Very few of Bano’s fans knew that the psychologically scarred roles that she was playing so convincingly were also reflecting what was going on in her own life.

By the early 1980s, Bano, who had been such a popular and respected mainstay on TV in the 1970s, was only rarely seen on the mini-screen.

It transpired that she’d been having serious psychological issues throughout the 1970s and had to be committed to a psychiatric hospital for treatment.

She was still only in her 20s when she began suffering serious psychiatric problems that hastened her disappearance from the screen.

Her condition only worsened when TV plays began facing heavy censorship during the Ziaul Haq dictatorship and she kept turning down ‘sanitised roles.’

And when (in 1988), she did return to the screen (after the demise of the Zia regime), her fans could hardly recognise her. She seemed to have aged rapidly and looked exhausted.

Her great comeback never materialised. After just a few plays she went back on heavy medication and suffered another series of breakdowns.

Today, she leads a reclusive life in Lahore, while her fans still long for that great comeback that she was expected to make many years ago.

______________________________

Haroon Rahim

Long before there was Pakistani tennis star, Aisamul Haq, there was the mercurial, Haroon Rahim.

Only a few tennis enthusiasts remember him today. But he made quite a name for himself some 40 years ago when he represented Pakistan in the Davis Cup at the young age of just 15.

A tennis prodigy, Rahim rapidly rose to become Pakistan’s No: 1. At age 20 he was given a scholarship by the prestigious University of California (UCLA)  where he became the captain of the university’s tennis team and led and partnered future World No:1 Jimmy Connors in many tournaments.

He remains to be the only Pakistani player to have made it to the quarterfinals of the highly competitive US Open (in 1975). He also defeated famous Wimbledon winners, Jimmy Connors and Arthur Ash.

Rahim continued representing Pakistan, (and it was due to him that various famous tennis stars visited the country for matches in the 1970s). But his personal life wasn’t always that glorious.

Though coming from a highly educated and well-to-do family, Rahim was constantly rebelling against his family’s aristocratic background.

More and more he began to spend time in the United States. In 1978, while at the peak of his game, Rahim met and married an American woman. This did not go down well with his family who refused to acknowledge the union.

Angered by the reaction, he cut off all ties with the family. Not only did he do that, he also quit tennis and simply vanished. He was just 29 at the time.

Some believe that he joined a roving cult in California, sold all his possessions, changed his name and appearance and just disappeared.

Whatever the case, he was never heard from (or found) again – even though his family believes he’s still living in the US (under a new name and identity).

 


Nadeem F. Paracha is a cultural critic and senior columnist for Dawn Newspaper and Dawn.com

 


The views expressed by this blogger and in the following reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Dawn Media Group.


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Nadeem F. Paracha is a cultural critic and senior columnist for Dawn Newspaper and Dawn.com


The views expressed by this blogger and in the following reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Dawn Media Group.

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Comments (101) Closed




essaar1947
Nov 01, 2012 06:47pm
This is what you should be writing sir.
Harris
Nov 01, 2012 05:05pm
Bhatti Sahib, I did read the article and still believe that Sadequain belongs in the list. He had everything that defines living a life on the edge and falling off it. Abundant talent, psychological issues, exploitation by the people around him and eventually an untimely death due to heavy consumption. Reading his life story, one can see many parallels with Manto sahib's life. Their pain can be clearly seen in their respective bodies of work.
Harris
Nov 01, 2012 07:21am
Great article, but no mention of Sadequain in the list of Pakistani geniuses?
ZS
Nov 01, 2012 05:28pm
I do believe wasim raja lived in NZ
Parus
Nov 01, 2012 12:04pm
very informative piece....too good
Sajid Aziz
Nov 01, 2012 05:28pm
How can you miss Saghar Siddiqi from the list.
Sumit
Nov 02, 2012 05:31am
Very informative article.
sbb
Nov 01, 2012 10:39pm
This is all very informative. Thank you for writing this!
nostalgic
Nov 01, 2012 06:45am
Deli ka tu nay zakr jo chara ay humnasheen ik teer merey senay may mara ka hai hai
Ali
Nov 02, 2012 03:21pm
Shahriar Shirazi - You summarised milion of lines of Pakistani progressive thought into 3 words!
Pradeep
Nov 01, 2012 07:52am
Ohhh yaaaa he is craziest of all.
Bhatti
Nov 01, 2012 07:42am
I remember Haroon Rahim. As a kid I remember how some Wimbledon champions visited Pakistan in 1976 just to play him. And who can ever forget Wasim Raja. What genius he was and what a character. I remember girls were crazy about him. And yes, i also remember that episode at National Stadium. The mullahs went crazy, but Raja just came out and blasted a century.
Bhatti
Nov 01, 2012 07:38am
Harris, read the intro again. The article is not about geniuses as such, but those brilliant folks who fell off the edge.
secular pakisani
Nov 01, 2012 03:20pm
Good work NFP Ah the Rohi bano.still remember watching her on PTV in the early 80's. Alas manto died too early otherwise nothing of his calibre exist when one talks of fiction stories in urdu
israr
Nov 02, 2012 10:22am
Great Raja... At least he rejected faujees to be the team managers... we need more talent to undo these military retired management brigade
jav
Nov 02, 2012 12:20pm
the edge and ledge. peace be to them all.
observer
Nov 01, 2012 03:09pm
This article has nothing special. It bears the same features as NFPs other columns (captivating, inspiring, and thought-provoking). Great stuff. Only NFP can do it so often.
Wasim Saqib
Nov 01, 2012 12:23pm
Raja in his later years used to run a free cricket coaching camp in Lahore, whenever he was in Pakistan, not sure if he changed in his later years but I found him very approachable, he loved the game and tried to give direction to young talented players picked from the streets of Lahore, no other player of his era did that, he did it as a service to the game or to the community.
zahidharis
Nov 01, 2012 01:37pm
Hi Paracha sahib nice article what about Waheed Murad Choclate Hero who committed suicide at young age
Kumar
Nov 01, 2012 03:11pm
Great research NFP. Very interesting to learn about Pakistani greats.
Ajaya K Dutt
Nov 01, 2012 02:50pm
Your own intellectual caliber and cultural historical knowledge of Pakistan is amazing. You also pen at an insane disregard of personal safety. Did you ever fly over the cuckoo
Faraz
Nov 01, 2012 10:13am
Love that.. Beautifully crafted.. Thank you.
saadgadit
Nov 01, 2012 07:00am
Nadeem Bhai, we need atleast 2-3 intelligent and expressive writers like you.. you are certainly saving our generation (who will never gonna know about this stuff before today).. atleast I am saving all your writings to share with my future generation.. Thanks alot..
Arvind Das
Nov 02, 2012 04:05am
I am sure there must be many more deserving than what you have mentioned.
sundus
Nov 01, 2012 08:25am
Good Stuff!
harshal
Nov 02, 2012 09:33am
article reminds me of the great indian panjabi poet "shiv kumar batalavi". And also i feel that most drug addicts are highly talented people
Yawar
Nov 01, 2012 07:15pm
Err, so who said that he did? The article says he moved to UK, not NZ, bhai.
R.
Nov 01, 2012 08:54am
Hear, hear! This is I think the second generation of young Pakistanis NFP is influencing, the first one was in the 1990s. I too grew up reading his commentaries on the politics and aesthetics of Pakistani pop music. His grip of so many subjects is inspiring.
TKhan
Nov 01, 2012 01:02pm
By the power vested in me by me, I hereby dissolve the constitution and NFP is the President for Life and Life hereafter. He Rules! Or Khappay.!(whatever that means)!
Mahboob
Nov 02, 2012 02:48am
First time ever i liked an article from you. Totally ubiased AND must ackwoledge that even though Khan was mentioned (as is the case for most of your articles these days) but glad to see his name not linked to something negative. Thumbs up from someone who was born just at that time and got interesting insights into our society of that era.
shujatali
Nov 01, 2012 08:50am
i have on e complain as NFP is not mentioned here,I grew up with music groups like junoon & vital signs and his critical writings on music was one of the reason my taste buds evolved and taught me to appreciate as well. Nadeem once in a while please drop a piece on music as it wont do anyone any harm buddy.
Rajput
Nov 01, 2012 08:49am
Beautiful. Reminds me of a Tennessee Williams quote,
Ali
Nov 01, 2012 08:57am
NFP you have taken us on a beautiful journey of exploring the lives of these forgotten but talented Pakistanis. I think the article implicitly is a case for pluralism in society that nourishes these rebellious souls. As some one else has also mentioned Sadequain was missed out :(
butseriouslyok
Nov 01, 2012 08:47am
See - Creativity 'closely entwined with mental illness' (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-19959565) We still have a lot to learn about human mind.
asrar
Nov 02, 2012 11:51am
Thanks, very good articles. Many talented people.
Tahir
Nov 01, 2012 11:27pm
Another anecdote about Raja: on his maiden tour to England with the Pakistan team, he hit the very first ball he faced for a six.
Shahriar Shirazi
Nov 02, 2012 02:30am
Bottom line - death to Zia
Virkaul
Nov 02, 2012 03:55am
Until 1980s Pakistan's elite was highly influenced by Britain and also America. The middle class took inspiration from the leftists. There were student movements inspired by socialism. The lower strata of the society remained uninfluenced by external changes and lived traditional lives. Zia changed all this in a calculated manner and gave it religious colour. Today, few talk of economic issues, education, health and raising standard of living of general masses. New slogan is 'my religion', be it Sanafi, Barelvi, Shia, Ahmedi, etc., and intolerance for other faiths. Results are here to see.
saadia
Nov 01, 2012 09:19am
i cried alottttttt after reading all about .. bcz my soul read it. story of my own.. salaam
shujatali
Nov 01, 2012 09:17am
do u remember he used to start his articles with lyrics from pink floyd and other groups. My god i used to save up cash and run to delhi colony to buy THE NEWS so i could read his views. I also came across a track called "War in Heaven" by Aatish Raj his now defunct industrial rock outfit. Do listen to it as its awesome
nain tara
Nov 01, 2012 09:13am
NFP it is somewhat cruel on your part to bracket Madeeha Gouhar with Roohi Bano,Madeeha appeared on the TV screen in the late eightees, and on TV screen she was never of the caliber of Roohi Bano & Khalida Reasat.
sami
Nov 01, 2012 09:13am
thanks ... please write more on similar lines like earlier you have written on Pakistan and now on some famous personalities because it will help us learning about these facts
Talha
Nov 01, 2012 09:07am
Nadeem Bhai! Ahmed Parvez got exactly what he wanted. A genius Emotional Intelligence is what liberated him. You think he cared for painting? His life shows what we look for, why we love paintings, there are higher levels, and he ascended!
Sadia javed rao
Nov 02, 2012 09:11am
and we are use to forget our GEMS...short term meory loss..sigh:-)
Sceptic
Nov 01, 2012 09:45pm
To join the ranks of these illustrious individuals one does not have to be addled by drugs as it does not a genius make.
Iftikhar Ahmad
Nov 01, 2012 09:11am
Simply beautiful piece of writing. It is worth reading and appreciation.
Munawar
Nov 01, 2012 06:26am
Stunning stuff, NFP.
Geethi
Nov 02, 2012 03:46pm
Great choice of "diamonds", esp Haroon Rahim. Thanks!
ifti
Nov 01, 2012 10:03am
Geniuses around the world live on edge, trying to balance themselves with drugs they sometimes fall from the edge. Unfortunately, too much talent has been lost because of this challenging life style.
Abdul Hasan
Nov 01, 2012 03:03pm
Perhaps Shoib Akhter's lifestyle and career could be fit into the same category as the above... but he is too young at the moment to fit in this list... legends only become legends after they are dead and gone... what a great article ... I am a fan of yours Mr. Paracha !!
Seeb
Nov 01, 2012 02:59pm
You are a veritable source of knowledge and inspiration NFP! You paint a picture of people and of Pakistan which brings me hope, thank you!
observer
Nov 01, 2012 03:04pm
I am sorry. NFP as a columnist is needed more. Pakistan has plenty of people for President. Imran Khan was a favorite person of so many but now is just a politician (hated by at lease 49%)
mohsin.kamalx15@gmail.com
Nov 01, 2012 03:24pm
Very interesting and informative!!!!
ROHIT PANDEY
Nov 01, 2012 03:24pm
Pretty interesting stuff....little biography precis!
Shahid Ashraf
Nov 01, 2012 09:32am
You're right Talha. He got what he wanted but the world lost a alot, which it could gain from this genius artist. And perhaps that's the point NFP wants to make in this brilliant piece.
Roma
Nov 02, 2012 03:42pm
It's the other way around. Artistic people seem to have a propensity for drugs and alcohol.
Capt C M Khan
Nov 01, 2012 03:30pm
There are many more diamonds but ofcourse Nadeem cannot cover them all. I read all books written by Ibn-e-Safi and was in awe of his writting talents. My Summer holidays used to revolve around reading his one book a day. he was a genius still love him. Liked Wasim Raja never knew he GANJA CULTURE of our team, no wonder Asif and Abdur Rehman felt comfortable in the team...LOL Good refreshing non-plotitical article Mr Paracha.
Rafi
Nov 01, 2012 07:09am
What about NFP...... Shouldn't he be there in the list.
Vaqar Ahmed
Nov 01, 2012 11:55am
What a wonderful article! Such an interesting peek into the lives of these brilliant and eccentric Pakistanis!!
Rahmul
Nov 01, 2012 07:15am
Most of these talented people's lives suggest they were anti Islamic culture but could not express it openly in pakistan
Harris
Nov 01, 2012 05:22pm
I was very young when Wasim Raja played but I do have some faded memories of watching him bat with my elder cousins. One of my cousins was such a huge fan of Raja that he forced me to bat left handed when he was teaching me how to bat. As a result, I turned out to be a fully developed left handed batsman even though I am naturally right handed.
Ali
Nov 02, 2012 03:30pm
You mean they were trying to act human?
hemant
Nov 01, 2012 07:20am
Amazing as ever , I will call you nosey as well , you have showed me other side of my heroes and idols.
Pakman
Nov 01, 2012 01:14pm
Thanks Nadeem for a great article. Very encapsulating, so tragic.
TK from USA
Nov 01, 2012 05:37pm
I left Pakistan in 1972, so don
Butt
Nov 01, 2012 09:54am
He's already a legend to many and a devil to others.
MohammadAli Ghanghro
Nov 01, 2012 11:18am
TOtall Agree
Shahid Latif
Nov 01, 2012 12:22pm
Enjoyed reading about personalities we are so familiar with. A very good piece. Your non judgmental and sympathetic approach is refreshing.
Sunil Balani
Nov 03, 2012 04:00am
Alas....with all the fire within....they should have been flame. ...not the moth...
R.
Nov 01, 2012 09:25am
Did any of you also know that NFP also had a breakdown in the late 1990s?
Ahmed j
Nov 01, 2012 11:26am
I have a different version to Haroon Rahim's later life. He had a twin brother. In an argument his twin committed suicide by jumping out of the window. Haroon blamed himself for the tragic incident and broke every contact with his past. He was never to be seen or heard again.
NASAH (USA)
Nov 02, 2012 01:26am
NFP -- thanks for educating me about the other Pakistan. If you are still smoking please quit it.
arslan
Nov 02, 2012 01:28am
NFP no doubt has the best writing skills only if he crticises religion less. Very interesting article Indeed. Nice to read his good words for Imran Khan.
Omair Shakil
Nov 01, 2012 10:59am
Thank you NFP for introducing our generation to these mavericks of a bygone era.
sm
Nov 01, 2012 08:04am
Brilliant!!! I fell in love with Pakistan all over again!!
NASAH (USA)
Nov 02, 2012 03:40am
For a religion obsessed country like Pakistan NFP indeed criticizes LESS -- he should do more and more.
Suleman
Nov 01, 2012 12:57pm
Manto, simply brilliant, an truly far ahead of his time.
Nadeem
Nov 01, 2012 11:39pm
All I can say is NFP you are the best. Thanks
Khan
Nov 02, 2012 01:31am
Simply brilliant you keep on reminding of great people of Pakistan and the country it was
Jehanzeb Idrees
Nov 02, 2012 06:43am
Well done NFP! Finally you came back to your good old self. Reminded me of some of the other articles you wrote several years ago. You definitely missed poet Mustafa Zaidi (one of my favourites along with N.M. Rashid) in the list, his death at a young age of 40 is still shrouded in mystery with some calling it a suicide and others as a murder. I think Saagar Siddiqui and Parveen Shakir should also have made it to the list. Hope to read more on the subject.
Ali Z.
Nov 01, 2012 09:47pm
I really Enjoyed the article, cant have enough of this stuff... I do hope someday you will write a book on more such crazy diamonds of Pakistan, I'll certainly buy it :) Kudos Sir!
Mehrish
Nov 02, 2012 02:27am
very well written Good job sir.. we really need to represent the positive side of Pakistan today..and keep up the good work..
drshahid2012
Nov 01, 2012 08:56pm
As Always; An Excellent Master Piece By #NFP; New Generation Like Me Born In #Zia Era Or Later Should Read All His Op-Ed! Great Sir! Thanks For Updating Us Of What Actually We Are Before 1977. Regards: DR_SHAHID
zafar
Nov 01, 2012 09:51am
Nadeem bhai I hope you'll be remembered in a different list of people, not a tragic one like this.
Ali
Nov 02, 2012 04:01am
In one of the matches against England in England, Raja had an argument with Col. Shuja the team manager and then went on field to bat. Got himself out first ball intentionally. On return to players dressing room, Shuja made some comment, Raja's response was, I play cricket for myself, not for you and slammed the bat hard on the floor.
Faisal
Nov 01, 2012 09:01pm
Ibne Safi's Imran Series novel DaiRh Matwalay, which came after he recovered from schizophrenia, was inaugurated in India by the then Interior Minister and later Prime Minister of India Lal Bahadur Shastri (pictures: www.ibnesafi.info). Someone said that had he been born in England, his Colonel Faridi would have been more famous than Ian Fleming's James Bond. And I truly believe that!
Anwar Amjad
Nov 02, 2012 05:40pm
A good tribute to the legends. Thanks.
Athar Muneer
Nov 02, 2012 07:22pm
Its really nice to read about such great talented Pakistanis. I remember Roohi Bano's performance on TV. That was simply outclass. I appreciate the effort of Mr. Pracha and Dawn...I have read the whole article and specially some sections like that of Haroon Rahim, Wasim Hassan Raja and Ahmad Parvez more than once. Please also write about the life of some living genius...
R.
Nov 01, 2012 09:20am
Yes, so many young people used to do that. Keep the cut-outs of NFP articles. :) This was long before internet became widespread in Pakistan.
Riaz Hussain
Nov 02, 2012 11:21am
Love it.It was good to read about such personalities of Pakistan like ibn e safi,haroon rahim,wasim raja.Good research.
Harris
Nov 01, 2012 09:20pm
I think we should add Jon Aelia to the list too.
Rubina
Nov 01, 2012 07:28am
I totally agree. NFP's one of Pakistan's finest crazy diamonds. Also, his understanding and natural empathy with the mental and emotional states of the people he has wriiten about here is rather impressive.
Ali
Nov 01, 2012 08:59am
Any one who bothers the Mullahs is a hero of mine.
Tariq Iqbal
Nov 02, 2012 07:11pm
wo jo hum main tum main qarar tha... tumhain yad ho k na yad ho..
Atif
Nov 02, 2012 05:37pm
Wow NFP! It is like I am watching a movie. but sad it happened in reality.
ahmad butt
Nov 01, 2012 07:50am
Great article NFP, Thanks for a drive along memory lane, we need a bit of refreshers hearing about the old gems of Pakistani society. Please do have a Part II of this article as well if you have missed out a few in your list. I am an Aisam ul Haq fan but didnt know we had a former tennis prodigy before him. Hope someone in the US does the hard yard and find his whereabouts.
Misbah
Nov 01, 2012 07:37am
Remarkable!.... a picture has been drawn from a different angle.
ROHIT PANDEY
Nov 01, 2012 10:18pm
Talents crop up all over the world..nurtured and nourished by an ambience which sets it's sights beyond religion and parochialism, talents guide a society to something which goes by the name "civilization".....
hitesh
Nov 02, 2012 04:04am
Contemplating on socio-political conditions of Pakistan since its inception no talent could be survived. Lucky are those who were talented and left Pakistan timely for good.
SG
Nov 01, 2012 10:18pm
NFP, what about Naseem Hijazi? :P
Omar
Nov 02, 2012 12:41pm
Very aptly put!