The trend-setting Pakistani film actor, the late Waheed Murad, was not an unknown man even when he hadn’t made it big in the film industry. A black and white photograph of his marriage was carried by this newspaper on Sept 18, 1964 captioned: Waheed Murad, son of Mr and Mrs Nisar Murad, was married (Sept 17) to Salma Maker, daughter of the late Mr E. H. A. Maker, and sister of Mr Tahir Maker at the YMCA ground. The caption also read that the wedding was attended by a large number of businessmen, industrialists and high government officials. Both he and his wife belonged to socially well-known families.

Apart from his impressive acting skills, Waheed Murad was famous for his hairstyle which was one of the reasons for him getting the sobriquet of Chocolaty Hero. Interestingly, the same week, Sept 16, the Pakistan National Hairdressers Federation was in the news, but for a different reason. The federation’s president appealed to the authorities to withdraw the geography book prescribed for Class III students in District Bannu in which barbers, washermen, butchers etc had been termed low-caste people. Not a new story!

One of the heartening things about Karachi is its love of literature and literary gatherings. Whenever you feel that it’s short on books-related activities, the misunderstanding is cleared in a trice. On Sept 15 it was announced that Nazrul Academy had re-introduced its weekly literary gatherings, the first of which had already taken place a few days earlier in which AZM Umer, Sultan Ahmed Bhuiya, Aminul Islam, Amirul Islam and Anis Chaudhry took part. By the way, this writer recently saw the academy’s name on a door near the Saddar Passport Office.

Another important literary event that week had to do with the highly respected critic and writer Niaz Fatehpuri. On Sept 19 readers of Urdu books felt overjoyed to know that the inimitable Mr Fatehpuri would sign his books for his admirers at 5pm at the Guild-Anjuman Kitab Ghar on Victoria Road. The programme was part of the Kitab Ghar’s efforts to encourage serious literature reading habits in Karachiites. In case you are wondering what ‘guild’ and ‘anjuman’ stand for, well, they were the Pakistan Writers Guild and the Anjuman Taraqqi-i-Urdu.

While Mr Fatehpuri was busy signing Urdu books, students of the Urdu College went on strike demanding abolition of the proctorial system in their institution. At a meeting held on Sept 19 presided over by Mustafa Raza Khan, president of the student union, demanded action against the then senior proctorial monitor who, according to the union, had indulged in acts of rowdyism.

The following day, Sept 20, a man holding a similar high position in another group of people hogged the limelight. It was Captain Gauhar Ayub Khan, president of the federation of the association of Pathans residents in Karachi. Speaking to his followers at Hotel Metropole, he appealed for unity and discipline in Pakhtuns so that they could get their legitimate rights and opportunities of citizenry in the metropolis. Doesn’t it ring a bell?

Published in Dawn, September 15th, 2014

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