Ardeshir Cowasjee – Dawn.com file photo
Ardeshir Cowasjee – Dawn.com file photo

In 2006, an obituary appeared on the pages of Dawn of someone called A. Cowasjee.

Many well-meaning fans and friends of famous columnist and social activist Ardeshir Cowasjee, rushed to his home, only to find the man up and about, playing with his dogs and inspecting his garden.

Yes, the obituary was of some other Cowasjee. Ardeshir couldn’t help but exhibit his amusement regarding the episode in one of his columns.

He was first bemused by seeing people appear at his gate, look at him as he walked around in his shorts, and then turn away, some without even uttering a single word.

The bemusement turned into a dark comedy when he finally realised what was going on. An old colleague of his told me how he laughed at a bureaucrat who, like many others, appeared at his gate, stood on his toes and silently peeked at Cowasjee.

In the typical style that he spoke Urdu, Cowasjee shouted out: ‘Tum fikar na karo. Hum abhi tak zinda hai!’ (Don’t you worry, I’m still alive). What a character.

Tomorrow the newspapers will be carrying another obituary for an A. Cowasjee. But this time it will be about the Cowasjee so many Pakistanis have come to love, loath or simply get perplexed by.

For almost three decades, Ardeshir Cowasjee remained one of the most read and influential columnists in Pakistan.

Though he wrote for an English language daily, his words reached and echoed in the most significant corners and corridors of power.

Cowasjee came from a well-off Zoroastrian family. Based in Karachi, he was still managing his family business when, in 1972, Prime Minster Zulfikar Ali Bhutto appointed him as the Managing Director of the Pakistan Tourism Development Board (PTDB) - a body formed to accommodate and further attract Western tourists who had begun to come in droves from the late 1960s onwards.

Despite the fact that Cowasjee turned out to be an asset for the board, three years later in 1976, Bhutto suddenly got him arrested. Cowasjee spent days behind bars, where he continued writing letters to Bhutto asking him why he was put in jail. Bhutto never answered, even though he finally ordered his release after 72 days.

Many believe that Cowasjee faced Bhutto’s wrath because he had begun to criticise the Bhutto regime’s growing authoritarianism, in spite of it coming into power through the democratic process.

After Bhutto was toppled by General Ziaul Haq in a military coup in 1977, Cowasjee began writing letters to Dawn’s ‘Letters to the Editor’ section castigating the fallen Bhutto regime.

His well-written and evocatively worded letters became a frequent fixture in Dawn as he then ventured into other topics; topics that gradually began to attract the anger of the Zia dictatorship as well.

In a time when the press was being openly gagged and harassed, Cowasjee was one of the first Pakistanis to invent and articulate a way that has now become a common device used by liberals and secularists to critique political Islam in Pakistan.

After taking Bhutto to task, his letters turned their attention towards the draconian doings of the Ziaul Haq dictatorship and its so-called ‘Islamisation’ project.

Cowasjee did this by simply stating over and over again that the Jinnah (founder of Pakistan) he had met and followed as a young man did not conceptualise Pakistan the way the country’s politicians and military generals were doing.

This argument of his struck a nerve with a number of Dawn readers and soon Cowasjee was invited by the newspaper’s editor, Ahmed Ali Khan, to write a regular column for what was and still is one of Pakistan’s largest English dailies.

In his columns of the mid and late 1980s he continued to bemoan how both Bhutto and Zia had gone about shattering Jinnah’s dream. After Zia’s demise in 1988, Cowasjee became even more pointed against the civilian governments that followed Zia, accusing them of corruption and nepotism.

Also, by the early 1990s, he had slowly been moving away from his old rhetorical style and towards putting on paper hard facts and figures as he went about like a man on a one-way mission putting parties like the PPP, PML-N and the MQM to sword.

Also being a passionate Karachiite with a desire to see his beloved city return to being what it had been before the 1980s, Cowasjee directly confronted the powerful ‘building and land mafia,’ using both his pen and the courts to halt the construction of a number of illegal and gaudy shopping arcades and parking lots – especially on lands that were originally allotted to support parks.

This was also the period when Cowasjee began receiving serious death threats, but he soldiered on.

Though in his columns of the 1980s and 1990s, Cowasjee had always spoken about his understanding of Jinnah being a progressive man, it was from the late 1990s onwards that he openly began to suggest that Jinnah perceived Pakistan to be a progressive, secular Muslim country.

This was Cowasjee reacting to what the second Nawaz Sharif government was planning to do: To introduce a constitutional bill that would have actually endorsed Sharif’s jump from being a prime minster to becoming an ‘Ameerul Momineen.’

So when General Pervez Musharraf overthrew the Nawaz regime in 1999, Cowasjee cynically mocked Sharif almost exactly the way he had done Bhutto, Zia and Benazir. His overall message remained to be that all these leaders were misfits in a Pakistan that Jinnah had conceived.

They were misfits because they were selfish, authoritarian and never far from using religion and other populist gimmicks to retain power.

During his early years, Cowasjee seemed supportive of Musharraf, but all the while advised him not to repeat the mistakes of other Pakistani military dictators like Ayub Khan and Ziaul Haq.

In other words, Cowasjee was warning him to stay away from the usual civilian lot that becomes active only when allowed into the corridors of power through the backdoor. Cowasjee knew better and as the society under Musharraf and after the September 11 episode began to fully reap what was sown in the name of Islam by Zia, Cowasjee started to sound extremely bitter and cynical.

Shrugging at Musharraf’s political misadventures, Cowasjee became more direct and critical against the religious lobbies and parties, so much so that many of them began to accuse him of being anti-Islam.

In 2003, banners went up in Karachi cursing Cowasjee of working against the so-called ‘ideology of Pakistan’ and Islam, and the government had to post police guards outside his home in Karachi’s Bath Island area.

This was also the period when Cowasjee began appearing as guest on privately owned television channels that had exploded onto the scene after 2003.

But on TV Cowasjee was nothing like he was in print. Instead of the articulate columnist with a great command over the English language, Cowasjee decided to almost entirely speak in Urdu.

His Urdu was crude and unsophisticated but ironically perfect to express the more frustrated aspects of his personality that had been building up for decades as he saw his country rapidly slip into a quagmire of authoritarianism, corruption, intolerance and violence.

By now he had also become extremely cynical. First, about this country’s leadership that kept producing one bad apple after another and then about the Pakistani people, whom he began to describe as a lot without any ability to learn from past mistakes or correctly decide what was actually good for them.

So on TV, no matter how hard an anchor would try to make Cowasjee sound like he did in his columns, Cowasjee would refuse and instead continue to use Urdu slang and words like ‘khachar’ (donkey), ‘chariya’ (demented), ‘chor’ (thief), among others, to define politicians, military men and their followers.

For example, during one such TV show when asked what he thought about Pakistan’s status of being a nuclear power, he smirked, pressed mischievously upon his walking stick, and said: ‘Sala iss qaum sey guttur to bundh hota nahi, bum kya chalaye ga …’ (how can this nation be a nuclear power when it doesn’t even know how to stop the flow of an overflowing gutter).

Though he first appeared to be a man whose old age had given him the license to scold the powers that be in the crudest of Urdu, he ultimately became a caricature of himself; or rather was reduced to being one by an electronic media whose own cynicism was not only more amoral but wrapped in all the hypocritical trappings Pakistan’s establishment, polity and society have been quivering in.

Alas, better sense prevailed and Cowasjee’s TV appearances gradually came to a halt. But his columns kept coming and by the time he announced his retirement late last year, he had gone back to once again remind his many readers that this was certainly not the Pakistan Jinnah had dreamt about.

He lamented the fact that Jinnah had passed away too early and that it was left to old men like him to see this dream crumble, piece by piece, right in front of their eyes.

At the time of his death the police guards were still posted outside his house as threats from the building mafia and religious outfits never did stop. But these guards, though provided by the government, were largely financed and fed by Cowasjee.

A Zoroastrian, he always explained himself to be a humanist because to him all religions were basically about humanitarianism.

Cowasjee was also involved in a number of charities, where he liberally donated money for the education of needy students, the construction of parks and a number of other causes.

And though he usually came out as being an angry old man in his columns, in private life he was a warm-hearted family man and someone who always cherished receiving all kinds of people at his home.

In the area where he lived throughout his life in Karachi (Bath Island), his beautiful old bungalow with old shady trees, a neatly manicured garden and low walls is a reminder of what Karachi was once like.

In fact, the street where his house stands is also the only street left in Bath Island that maintains a semblance to what the area was like before it was turned into a congested bundle of ugly apartment buildings and uglier bungalows of the neuvo-riche, who began arriving here after the late 1980s.

As a columnist and more so, as a genuine fan of Jinnah’s, I’m sure Cowasjee passed away heartbroken, unable to actually see Pakistan become what he thought Jinnah wanted it to become. But as a man he lived a full life, leaving behind a huge number of fans and friends to remember him for a very long time.

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

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Comments are closed.

Comments (92)

Vicky
November 25, 2012 9:48 am
Let him be in Jannat.
sturkman
November 27, 2012 12:42 am
But Clifton was named on someone, who loved Karachi a Century ago. If you do not know history of Karachi, why would not 100 years later people would change Cawasjee named area also? What's wrong calling Bath island, Cowasjee Island?
Suren Singh Sahni
November 25, 2012 8:22 am
A man of intellectual insight and reformist a man of fortitude and courage the literary world has lost a brilliant voice .May you be at peace.
Atif
November 25, 2012 11:54 am
True, He was real Karachiite.
P.Madheswaran
November 25, 2012 9:56 am
Saluting the honest, brave jounalist.
zahida
November 29, 2012 7:00 am
we neede many more Cowasjee's to bring change in this country but alas we have lost even the only one. may his soul rest in eternal peace.
Iqbal khan
November 29, 2012 8:15 am
Well written Mr.Nadeem Paracha..May you be Blessed by Allah S.W.T.
ashfaq
November 25, 2012 7:04 am
Dear Mr A.cowasjee! I am grateful for the contribution and your braveness and sense of persistantly writing for the country but never being able to reach the steps of Qaida azam, how dreamt this counrty for better place to be built. A must tribute to your braveness and determinations for the country. A would say :QAIDA AZAM MARRY TO PAKISTAN , LIKE AN OLD MAN MARRY TO YOUNG LADY AND DIED BEFORE SHE CONCEIVE.
Umesh
November 27, 2012 3:35 am
It is regret Pakistan lost him , his opinions never reflected any bias towards anyone but were extremely balanced. We Indians really hope and pray you have millions of Cowasjee's. I really hope some one would take his place in opinion section. Let man be remembered by his work and not fight about keeping his legacy alive by naming roads, hospitals.etc .
Mansoor Qureshi, Canada
November 25, 2012 11:24 pm
Indeed a great and extremely knowledgable writer.A huge loss to Pakistani journalism now packed with neuvo-rich and sold journalists/anchors amongst Cowasjee had no role to play. May God rest his soul in peace.
Afaq
November 27, 2012 9:30 am
I attended his funeral rites this morning and saw his remains. He looked very peaceful and serene. Perhaps he had the satisfaction of doing his bit for this country and did not carry any guilt luggage with him. Ironically I also saw Irfanullah Marwat there, one of his countless victims. May his soul rest in peace. Well written Nadeem Paracha... yes we are mourning.
Agha Ata
November 26, 2012 8:30 pm
“CLIFTON” is a name which means nothing to Pakistanis. It is a name given to men in the Christian west. It is also the name of a city in the State of New Jersey in the USA. COWASJEE loved Karachi, and he lived in Clifton which was developed by the people of his community, especially the beautiful pink terraces and park. Won’t it be nice to change the name of Clifton and call it COWASJEE. “Cowasjee” would also be the name of a person and also of a place as is “Clifton” This is a little gift to his noble soul who loved this city and loved the founder of this country so much! Besides, it will be a good gesture towards minorities!
Disheartened
November 25, 2012 3:48 pm
Hippocratic society? Therein lies our problem. RIP Ardeshir Pakistan remains as you left it, uneducated, illiterate and doomed to its fate.
Imran
November 25, 2012 5:24 am
saddening news, one more saner voice lost.
Khan
November 24, 2012 7:34 pm
RIP I regularly read his articles, living in Canada still reads Dawn daily though the new breed of writers quality are not good. One day Mr Jinnah and Cowasjee dream about Pakistan will come true inshallah.
Azhar
November 27, 2012 4:17 am
May his soul rest in peace. Nice and wise depiction of Cowasjee's thoughts. Jinnah's Pakistan is gone, the country is there still but for people not like Jinnah and Cowasjee.
Munir Varraich
November 25, 2012 8:28 am
Thanks NFP. Cowasjee will be remembered as a great man by one and all. MAV
Zaigham Khan
November 25, 2012 8:05 am
May Allah rest his soul in peace. He was a symbol of coexistance...now lost
curiousforever
November 26, 2012 3:03 am
Really saddened to know about Mr.Cowasjee's demise. He was unique in many ways and his ability to speak his mind will remain unprecedented till the time another outspoken,blunt and daring columnist like him is born again. May his soul rest in peace.
obaid qureshi, canada
November 25, 2012 1:00 am
Thank;you Nadeem. Long time ago Allama Iqbal said: hazaron saal nargis apni be-noori pe rotee hai; Bari mushkil se hota hai chaman men deedawar paida. I hope you are Cowasjee's replacement! Pakistan will not survive a thousand years.
ahmad butt
November 25, 2012 2:42 am
I really wonder why Mr.Cowasjee did not take part in politics, i guess the honest never had a role to play after partition. He pinned hope on feudals and the army to value democracy, such a shame that true patriots never had a say to run this country. I cannot believe his patience being in Pakistan, apart from the hindu and christians, even the muslims who are fed up of the country over the years migrated. But belonging to an even smaller minority parsi group, he always had a love for the country. Good news for all his opponents, now there will be one less honest soldier in the ranks of Pakistan. What is saddening is i dont read many comments from people other than Karachi, none of the other provinces realise the essence of being a true blue Pakistani and understand the founding father's vision like he had. I hope we have a library, univerisity or something monumental to acknowledge this colossal loss of Mr.Cowasjee not being among us anymore. the saying "pen is mighy than the sword"" makes sense, and i hope other columisnt pick up from where he has left us.
Nadir
November 25, 2012 3:24 am
Hopefully in our life time.
Sohaib YAHIA
November 26, 2012 2:56 am
Excellent tribute to a great man and true Pakistani who lived and preached for humanity - a trait we all have forgotten completely, thanks to our hate preachers, the so called thekedars of religion.
Naveed
November 25, 2012 1:29 am
He very eloquently and bravely fought the religious bigots of Pakistan. Pakistanis across the globe will miss you.
Sridhar
November 25, 2012 12:35 am
"though the new breed of writers quality are not good" - I am sure, the new breed of writers agree with your assessment.
Aslam
November 25, 2012 4:50 pm
@Atif, Jaggy is not disputing Jinnah being a nice man, but what he is pointing to are valid facts specially the argument around declaring Urdu as the national language since that created the rift right at the beginning which culminated in the separation of Pakistan which also invalidated the two nation theory. Historical facts are nothing to be ashamed of and are no disrespect to Jinnah.
Saad Siddiqi
November 24, 2012 10:43 pm
A splendidly written article by Mr. Nadeem Paracha, one of the few that do not give of a stench of his profound hatred of the religious parties and his beloved 'Mullahs"
Nasr Bhatti
November 26, 2012 4:23 am
Jazakalah (Many Thanks) to Nadeem Paracha .As he jots down much about Sir Cowasjee which I couldn't know in my worthless life .He was a true dreamer of Qaid-e-Azam. Surely,one day we ll be capable to obtain ''Qaid ka Pakistan'' (Jinnah's Pakistan).
Iftikhar Husain
November 25, 2012 12:26 pm
He was a great human being it is loss to the country. I read his column with great interest and wish some his writings are published in book form because it will tell the history of Pakistan. It is a sad day but he will be remembered for along time.
satyaprabhu
November 25, 2012 4:55 pm
you said it
S. A. M.
November 25, 2012 9:11 am
I have been a regualr reader of his columns since my childhood days. It is indeed a very sad day for all of us. Muharram being the month of mousning has become more solemn and more tragic due to the sad demise of Mr. Ardeshir Cowasjee. Karachi should mourn. It has lost one of its strongest and most sincerest well wishers. I hope that his work, his mission regarding the education and well being of the needy students and for the city of Karachi shall continue (hoping someone like Mr. Cowasjee will rise to fulfil his dreams of Jinnah's Pakistan). Very nicley written Mr. Paracha.
Ali
November 25, 2012 12:25 pm
A bold person who fought for his and others right.
Atif
November 25, 2012 12:19 pm
@Jaggy Absolutely incorrect. People who have met Quid-e-Azam Muhmmad Ali Jinnah ( like cowasjee, and Nawab Akbar Bugti (not like you and me)) always praised Jinnah as a fine man. Cowasjee even as a non-muslim always admired Jinnah. Nawab Bugti even said once that when we (Baluch) will separate from Pakistan we will adopte the name 'Pakistan' as our new homeland. Anyway this is not the right place to start argument on Pakistan existence which Indians always seems to do.
satyaprabhu
November 25, 2012 5:09 pm
i read what Mr. Cowasjee, wrote , when ever he wrote and when ever possible , thought provoking,he is wonderful human , i dont know why i love him though i dont know him , i love to post more about him, he emailed me several times , i cannot share those with u , i feel bad from my side , i am not all right mentally i feel i lost my father, satyarabhu
arifa
November 25, 2012 5:20 pm
"By now he had also become extremely cynical. First, about this country’s leadership that kept producing one bad apple after another and then about the Pakistani people, whom he began to describe as a lot without any ability to learn from past mistakes or correctly decide what was actually good for them." So depressing. If only the radicalized Pakistani youth idealized people like Cowasjee instead of the weird, creepy hate mongers that pop up every now and then on private channels. Rest in peace sir, might sound cliche but I'm sure you are in a better place.
Sohrab
November 24, 2012 8:48 pm
Rephrasing our barbarian foes, Nadeem F. Paracha let me say this "one Ardesher Cowasjee's death will spring millions of Cowasjees". Mr Cowasjee was very kind to me and in you NFP I see the same zeal and clarity of thought without the Pakistani emotionalism. Keep writing and trust me Ardesher Cowasjee has touched more than a few people in Pakistan and against all odds they are not going to be silent either in thoughts, words or actions as per the Zoroastrian tenents. May his soul Rest in Peace, if it did not during his lifetime in Pakistan.
winston
November 26, 2012 5:18 pm
army is not taking sides
Jawwad
November 26, 2012 4:29 pm
May your soul rest in piece forever. Pakistan has lost his true son. We will always remember you.
curiousforever
November 26, 2012 10:36 pm
With due respect to your sentiments Agha Ata I disagree that the name of Clifton should be changed just because Mr.Cowasjee lived there and happens to be a great asset to the world of journalism and to Pakistan.Clifton is the identity of Karachi and many many known figures have resided and passed away in Clifton...to name anyone in particular is unnecessary,but yes to build a monument in Mr.Cowasjee's memory ,or his statue and place it in a park or some significant place in Clifton or even to build a new park in his name would be great ,as he himself was big on the idea of having parks in the city that needs these rec areas terribly. Just a suggestion !
Admin
November 24, 2012 8:08 pm
Thank you. Date corrected.
Abdul Wahab-Pakistan
November 28, 2012 2:16 pm
He earned fame due to critique for the sake of his country. A country he showed strong allegiance to when many so-called custodians never hesitated to sell if off for their mean and selfish designs. He won't consider any impediment greater than writing truth what he would acquire for the sacred cause of his country and for the people. When speaking truth started being considered a crime and would be punished with iron hand, he would dare to venture in to forbidden lands. It was his strong belief in truth which kept him safe in a city where there is none safe. When its ethnic based killing, the oppressed associate it with ethnic cleansing and when its sectarian based, it is called communal cleansing. When a minority is attacked, its called minority cleansing. No one thinks that after all its a Pakistani citizen who is killed. We all have become self centered. But Cowasjee, you were a true warrior and patriot. You were far better than the millions including I. You proved that pen is mightier than sword. Pakistan has lost an unsung hero who would always remain alive in the annals of history.
Tania Dilawar
November 24, 2012 8:00 pm
@Rabia Back in 1996 I think when NFP was not in Dawn and was working for The News he was invited as a guest speaker for the launch of a book at a hotel. I met Cowasjee's best friend, columnist Ameena Jilani, and she said Cowasjee was in the audience as well. I asked her for the book launch, she said no, he was there to see what this new 'mad columnist and journalist Nadeem Paracha was all about.' NFP was way young then and had begun to make a name for himself. Later I found out that he was Cowasjee's neighbor as well and that Cowasjee had seen him play on the streets of Bath Island as a kid and become a 'hooligan' of the area. Cowasjee was always a great supporter of raw young talent. And what you have described, it seems, Cowasjee was happy to see NFP become a popular columnist, and that too at the same newspaper.
zainab
November 24, 2012 7:55 pm
I know you didnt have time but as a jounalist misquoting time isnt ethical either. You could just say few years ago. The artical mr paracha you refer to, uncke cowasjee wrote on feb 12th 2006 took me a few minutes on google to find, titled "the day i died".
Yawar Ali
November 24, 2012 7:44 pm
The only two people I read Dawn was because of Mr. Cowasjee and NFP. In fact NFP is a younger version of Mr. Cowasjee, even though he is a lot more wild. :) Now it is only because of NFP I pick up Dawn, because with Cowasjee gone and Ayaz Amir writing for some other paper, Dawn now only has NFP as it's most daring and interesting columnist. A heartfelt tribute this, Nadeem.
zainab
November 24, 2012 7:44 pm
Please dont say he was heart broken. He did enough good here and sawenough good come of it in smalsmall ways small successes s
Taimur
November 24, 2012 7:07 pm
Great loss indeed. He always raised voice for the suppressed communities. We will miss you Cowasjee. RIP
ozair
November 24, 2012 6:58 pm
Admiring personality, an Iconic figure and a huge loss for the Country. He will be remembered for a long long time.
usman
November 24, 2012 6:52 pm
He was a great man with great thoughts and will be missed by many.
Saad Aziz
November 24, 2012 6:53 pm
Pakistan was meant to be a Secular State with a Muslim Majority and Then Bhutto and Zia came,there is still some hope left,wake up before things get more worse RIP Ardeshir Cowasjee
Sultan Alvi, Canada
November 24, 2012 6:49 pm
He was a very brave and truthful human being. Great loss for Pakistan. We are sad to see you go, Mr Cowasjee. We love you and will miss you a lot. May God rest you in Jannat. Mr Nadeem Paracha has given an accurate account of Mr Cowasjee's remarkable life history.
Azad
November 24, 2012 6:44 pm
Mr A cowasjee was one person I used to look forward to reading. I am not from Pakistan but his thoughts, his commentary, his anger against corruption, bad politics and even worse politicians resonated with me like it did with millions of readers. Rest in Peach Mr Cowasjee. Remember one is born and dies as a human - not a muslim, christian, hindu. That in itself should give everyone a reason to get along and work for the upliftment of the humanity.
Parvez
November 26, 2012 9:01 am
You have managed to explain the man nicely. He is no more and I hope others do not try and copy him, for they will fail. What they can and must do, is be inspired by him and seek their own path.
Kamaruddin Afghan
November 27, 2012 1:06 pm
I am in full agreement with Agha Ata.It would be more opportune if Clifton was renamed as COWASJEE as this man was born,grew up a,educated in Karachi and was a unique philanthropist unparallel of his generation. We in Sindh must be proud of him as he served our capital city. with love and tender care.He must have been heart broken to see the influx of non-sindhis of various ethnology-lingual popualtion and illegal migration since this city bore the brunt in a worst form than any othe capital cities of Pakistan It is recognised fact that Sindh and its main cities have suffered the most and this urbanisation has taken its toll the rights of sindhis in their own cities are being questioned . I being a Sindhi look at the creatiion of the country from deep emotion and concern since we in Sindh were the first ones wth Bengalis who wanted this country but what a disasterous price we have paid and are still paying.
Rabia
November 24, 2012 6:28 pm
What a loss, indeed. Great tribute, NFP. I once saw you joking with him at Dawn and he seemed to like you a lot. What a writer.
Capt C M Khan
November 24, 2012 6:18 pm
An excellent tribute to a legend. I am not sure if we are gioing to have more like him. Sorry Mr Cowajee we could not support you more to fullfil your and Jinnah's dream of a progressive and secular Muslim state so sorry.
Sanaa
November 24, 2012 6:12 pm
deeply saddened by his demise... he'll be missed!
Syed Azam, USA
November 25, 2012 8:59 pm
It is a very sad day. Pakistan and specially, Karachi has lost one of its finest. He was one brave writer who created fear in the hearts of mighty and corrupt. His pen, his style, his insight will be missed. Ah! what a loss. Someone wrote here that it would be good to get his articles published as a book. An easier start may be to collect his Dawn writings on a website. I am sure Mr. Paracha can help us. If there is no other volunteer, I can take the lead in setting up the website and post the articles to it. Let me know, I will consider it an honor. Others can join to manage the site. Sincerely, Syed Azam Ames, Iowa syed@octadyne.com
zalim_khan
November 26, 2012 5:40 pm
Cowasjee's "spirit and soul" are certainly in a "far better place than the one he has left behind" He (Cowasjee) was a "true Pakistani to the core" He will be greatly missed. What is left behind is a "bunch of sub-continental monkeys!"
A s ahmed
November 26, 2012 1:29 am
Cawasjee wanted Pakistan to be, that unfortunately it will never be.
Gulbagh Singh, USA
November 25, 2012 2:04 am
I read Dawn.com almost every day and come across his column by chance. I never knew him but his columns were eye opener and instantly I became his follower. I was thinking about his safety in a country called Pakistan. He was a brave men. RIP
Bakka
November 25, 2012 1:18 pm
You will be dearly missed; god bless you for trying to wake this nation in deep slumber. Did we deserve Pakistan? Did the people die in vain? Who knows but I see Quaid's dream being shattered,ripped and torn piece by piece by, corrupt politicians, generals, pirs, mullahs, choudharies, waderas, Khans, Sardards, civil servants.
ahmed
November 25, 2012 6:20 am
Mr. Cowasjee was a gentleman, a man with a golden heart. He could have never survived the dirty Pakistani politics and it's politician. Glad he stayed away from it! Rest in peace!
Jaggy
November 24, 2012 8:53 pm
I too used to read his columns, but I now realise his voice of reason, was lost in storm of religious madness, which has slowly but surely engulfed Pakistan. I feel Jinnah failed his people, he exploited the religious card to gain Pakistan, but could not then contain the hype. By declaring Pakistan to be secular, he confused his followers and is one of the causes of the ''crisis in identity' in the minds of the people of this new nation. Jinnah failed too in his language policy, by declaring, only 'Urdu' as the national language. Thus, sowing the seeds of later Bengali disillusions and eventual breakup of Pakistan. Jinnah's Kashmir decision to send tribesmen to torment revolt there, also backfired, as it frightened the Raja into acceding to India - thus laying the foundations of ' state of constant threat of war' with India. I do realise, that there are a lot of decent people in Pakistan, but I fear they have lost the will to fight the ' Establishment' which now controls the destiny of Pakistan. May God give him the peace, he so desired, in Heaven.
abbastoronto
November 26, 2012 4:20 pm
What does secular mean anyway? It does not mean that you are not religious. It means that you do not want to impose your ways on others. The Republic founded by our Prophet in Medina was a Secular Republic under God. The Christians were judged by Christian Law, the Yehud by Law of Moses. The Republic founded by Jinnah was a Secular Republic under God. He clearly stated that Hindus were free to be Hindus, and Christians too. After our Prophet the Meccan clique turned the Secular Republic of Medina into a theocratic Kaliphate. Within 25 years there was misrule, mismanagement, violence, turmoil, nepotism. All the Republican Human Rights gains were lost. Within 25 years of Jinnah's death the Secular Republic of Pakistan was turned into a theocratic Kaliphate. There was misrule, mismanagement, violence, turmoil, nepotism. All the Human Rights gains were lost. Learn from history or you are doomed.
A R Khan
November 25, 2012 10:43 pm
Not if maulvis get there first.
a.r.khan
November 26, 2012 10:52 pm
If you follow this logic, there will be endless change of names to all places. No thanks.
Gaurav Jain
November 26, 2012 5:15 pm
I wrote an email to him 12 years ago when I was in college in response to an article he wrote. I remember that he took the time out to draft a kind reply to a young student like me, that to in India. God bless him and his family.
Haroon Rashid Buzzy
November 27, 2012 6:39 am
Well it is a sad occassion. But one has to bow down to ALMIGHTY will, that every soul has to come back to HIM . My friends suggestion to change Clifton into Cowasjee name. I dont think its advisable .Statue again not possible, the Mullah regime will not allow as its not Islamic. Yes all we can do is that any important park or Landmark may be named after Cowasjee. His contribution can never forgotten and no one could bridge the gap of his honesty,Dignity, Boldness. Thats why I called him "Man with an Iron Fist". Cowasjee You may lie in peace for ever and ever .We will always miss you.
Farhan
November 26, 2012 11:39 am
What are you talking about? The army remains the most secular institution in Pakistan.
satyaprabhu
November 25, 2012 2:19 pm
well presented by mr, nadeem, cowas sir was always out right in his columns , which thought always meant great reading and thought ,my concern is that many a time in his colums he expressed pessimism towards the attitude of the progress of pakistan , now there is no tiger to bell the cat
Alisa
November 25, 2012 9:45 am
A genre comes to an end... Ardeshir Cowasjee fiercely adored Karachi, living in Lahore now for almost 5 years, I can truly share and understand his love for the city and the country....there is no place on earth like Karachi and none like Pakistan... RIP Mr Cowasjee you will be greatly missed and the generations to come might never know the magnitude of this extraordinary genius... Fabulous tribute NFP, shows how closely connected you feel to this incredible man...
Jaggy
November 25, 2012 7:49 pm
I never said that Jinnah was not a fine man, I am sure he was. He was also a fine lawyer who won all the cases he took up, including Pakistan. However, he was lacking in his skills as a politician and laid a very weak foundation, for the country to take further. This is apparent, when we see Pakistans current problems.
Akhlesh
November 27, 2012 12:37 am
"a Secular State with a Muslim Majority". That is very confusing, even to most Pakistanis past and present. The phrase denotes ill logic. No wonder, the country is in constant turmoil.
Jamal
November 25, 2012 5:44 am
Your writings will always remain an asset for Pakistan and the rest of the world.
Aamir
November 26, 2012 2:28 pm
He will be remembered.
Syed A. Mateen
November 25, 2012 8:08 am
We love you Mr. Cowasjee and we will always miss you in the times to come. The way you have taken up the matters of public interest, I don't think that one can take up as you did. You have left us alone to mourn your death and had created a vacuum which will be difficult to be filled. May Al-Mighty Allah rest your soul in peace. Ameen.
G.A.
November 25, 2012 1:30 pm
Sadly he passed away during the worst sectarian attacks during Muharram. Let's hope he wasn't watching the news about his beloved country during his last breaths. RIP Mr. Cowasjee.
syedamateen
November 25, 2012 8:10 am
We love you Mr. Cowasjee and we will always miss you in the times to come. The way you have taken up the matters of public interest, I don’t think that one can take up as you did. You have left us alone to mourn your death and had created a vacuum which will be difficult to be filled. May Al-Mighty Allah rest your soul in peace. Ameen.
arthur zobo
November 25, 2012 7:37 am
A humanitarian to the core,a warrior at heart,an undying upholder of Jinnah's Pakistan Cowasjee wrote and spoke what a million of us believe in, but have never had the moral courage to do so.He was the voice of the Sane of this Land of the Pure(!)the crusader of all causes that affected his land,his city and the children of a lesser God.Indeed amongst the pen wielders writing in the 'free media', he was beyond all the pelf that is often thrown at such writers as a prize for silence.He indeed was a colossal among the pygmies that stride the land.Death may deprive us of his presence but his writings will bring solace to many and continue to be a beacon.Pakistan has lost one of Jinnah's favourite sons.RIP.
Nayyar Ahmad
November 26, 2012 9:11 am
thanks for writing it, if words had tears, my comments were wet! :(
Agha Asad Raza
November 25, 2012 4:19 am
A great and respected man! I wish I could have met him in real life!! My loss!
peddarowdy
November 26, 2012 6:09 am
Ah, well.. Every Pakistani who is has a liberal mind will tell you Jinnah is secular. Not every liberal Indian will do so. I personally believe Jinnah was secular, but not a model of secularism, as he called for Direct Action day during Ramzan. That doesn't make him unsecular but hypocritical and/or ambitious even if it means turmoil. Because of such tit bits you see much confusion of what Jinnah actually preached. Right wingers talk of Direct Action day and Two Nation theory, liberals talk of one speech on Aug 11th. You don't see such confusion in India. Nehru and Gandhi are reviled by Right Wingers of India. Left and Center loves them. There is zero debate if they are secular or not, like in the case of Jinnah.
Shahjahan Bhatti
November 26, 2012 3:35 pm
God give him paradise! Amen.
MKBarua
November 26, 2012 7:38 am
A befitting tribute to Cowasjee by Pakistan's another fearless columnist. No doubt Cowasjee was unparallel to Pakistan's noble voice to the outer world. Cowasjee can not be compare with any other columnist. He is one of his kinds. He never compromise with his views and believe. He was critical to all Pakistani rulers. His words are direct and blatant. After reading one of his column on Pakistan's creation and its future in Dawn, I question him the necessity for the creation of Pakistan.(it may be in the year 2005) It was unbelievable. I never thought that I will get a reply so fast, He wrote me back only in few words.( I am sad that I lost his that mail) He wrote" Jinnah created Pakistan for some idiot people to rule Pakistan" In his demise this subcontinent lost a great humanist and fearless writer. I salute his departed soul and pray for his heavenly abode.
Zaheer Jafri
November 26, 2012 7:50 am
Quaid`s Pakistan will remain a dream unless the army commits itself to Qaid`s ideals i.e secularism....
Michael
November 25, 2012 11:31 am
People of Pakistan, especially the Karahiites going to miss him very much. Adieu our friend.
Nazim Haji
November 25, 2012 6:37 pm
Ardeshir R.I.P..You will be remembered for a long, long time by Karachiites and the people of Pakistan who were regular readers of your Sunday column in the Dawn. NFH
Quims61
November 25, 2012 5:46 pm
Great article. They don't make like him anymore. Having lived in Bath Island from the late 60's to the early 80's, i can vouch for the fantastic locality it was then, before it became a concrete jungle.
manghirmalani
November 25, 2012 9:53 am
It was nice to have meet Late Mr Cowasjee, He interview My grand father who was first elected mayor of Karachi, my god bless you and keep you safe.
SAEED AKBAR
November 25, 2012 8:22 am
He was a sane voice in a Hippocratic society.
Agha Ata
November 27, 2012 5:03 pm
You said: "...who loved Karachi.a century ago." He was an English man who brought this word from the West. Probably, his own last name was Clifton. It is a common name for men in the west.
Agha Ata
November 27, 2012 2:03 pm
Following this logic hunderds of names of cities, roads and places in Pakistan have been changed (From English to Urdu, to Arabic and to other local languages) since partition.
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