LAHORE: In an impressive ceremony at a hotel on The Mall, veteran short story writer, novelist, journalist and poet Intizar Husain was conferred upon the 'Officer of the Order of Arts and Letters' by the French Ambassador to Pakistan Philppe Thiebaud.

The French government has given this award to Mr Husain in recognition of his huge contribution to Urdu literature. He is the first Pakistani writer who has been given this award by France.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr Thiebaud held Husain's huge contribution towards enriching the Urdu literature in high esteem. The ambassador said: "It is certainly a great privilege for me to confer an award upon Mr Intizar Husain on behalf of the French government".

He said the award was established in 1960s and had been given to personalities related to different genres of art such as painters, writers and musicians.

Addressing Husain, Thiebaud said: "This major contribution you have made will remain a milestone in the journey of Urdu literature". Paying rich tributes to Mr Hussain the ambassador said that he was a humanist who had upheld human dignity through his literary works. He said the works by Husain also carried a rich cultural heritage and unique flavour of language.

Intizar Husain, in his address thanked the French Government for extending such an honour to him. Being highly proud of the Urdu language and the literary tradition attached to it, he said that very tradition justified the award.

Naming three towering personalities of Urdu literature --- Saadat Hassan Manto, Meera Jee and Muhammad Hassan Askari - he said they had a great contribution in introducing French literature to Urdu readers through translations. He said in begining of his literary career Manto did a number of translations of French short stories. Meera Jee also did translations of the poetic works by leading French poets, he added.

Pointing out Muhammad Hassan Askari's contributions in this connection, Husain mentioned how Mr Askari used to keep inform his readers through his columns about what was current in French literature.

Khalid Ahmed said Husain spent his life walking through the streets of Lahore and developed relations with the literary folk in tea houses of the city.

Asif Farrukhi from Karachi read a detailed paper on the literary journey of Intizar Husain with a focus on his monumental novel 'Basti'.

Prominent on the occasion were Kishwar Naheed, Director French Center, Lahore Dominique Scobry, Asghar Nadeem Syed, Masood Ashar, Shahid Mehmood Nadeem and Madeeha Gauhar.

Published in Dawn, September 21th, 2014

Opinion

In defamation’s name

In defamation’s name

It provides yet more proof that the undergirding logic of public authority in Pakistan is legal and extra-legal coercion rather than legitimised consent.

Editorial

Mercury rising
Updated 27 May, 2024

Mercury rising

Each of the country's leaders is equally responsible for the deep pit Pakistan seems to have fallen into.
Antibiotic overuse
27 May, 2024

Antibiotic overuse

ANTIMICROBIAL resistance is an escalating crisis claiming some 700,000 lives annually in Pakistan. It is the third...
World Cup team
27 May, 2024

World Cup team

PAKISTAN waited until the very end to name their T20 World Cup squad. Even then, there was last-minute drama. Four...
ICJ rebuke
Updated 26 May, 2024

ICJ rebuke

The reason for Israel’s criminal behaviour is that it is protected by its powerful Western friends.
Hot spells
26 May, 2024

Hot spells

WITH Pakistan already dealing with a heatwave that has affected 26 districts since May 21, word from the climate...
Defiant stance
26 May, 2024

Defiant stance

AT a time when the country is in talks with the IMF for a medium-term loan crucial to bolstering the fragile ...