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Aali turns 90 today

Updated January 20, 2015

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Jamiluddin Aali. — Photo Courtesy: prideofpakistan.com
Jamiluddin Aali. — Photo Courtesy: prideofpakistan.com

KARACHI: The prominent poet, critic, retired banker and creator of such immortal patriotic songs as 'Jeevay jeevay Pakistan', 'Aye watan kay sajeelay jawano', 'Mera pegham Pakistan', 'Hum ta ba abad saee-o-taghayyur kay wali hein' and 'Itnay baray jeevan sagar main', Jamiluddin Aali is celebrating his 90th birthday on Jan 20 (today).

Born on Jan 20, 1925 to Nawab Sir Amiruddin Ahmed Khan of Loharu, Jamiluddin Aali migrated to Karachi on Aug 13, 1947 with his wife, Tayyaba, and six-month-old daughter Humaira by the last train from Delhi.

He was an assistant at the ministry of commerce at Delhi in British India. He later passed CSS exam and got posted as an income tax officer in Karachi in 1952.

He is the founder member of PECHS and was elected as its secretary in 1957. He was an SEVP and member of the executive board at the National Bank of Pakistan and as adviser to the Pakistan Banking Council attached with finance ministers Ghulam Ishaq Khan and later Dr Mahbubul Haq. He retired from the NBP in 1990.

He is the founder member of the Pakistan Writers Guild having remained its secretary and later secretary general before the Guild was moved to Lahore.

Aalijee, as he is fondly called, initiated five annual literary awards during his tenure in the PWG, which continued for several years.

In poetry, he has revived the classical form of doha and adapted it to Urdu, imparting a distinct South Asian Muslim cultural flavour to it while retaining its beauty. He has also written ghazals, poems, lyrical ballads or geets. His long poems reflect a unique discourse on great scientific and philosophical themes, blended with aesthetics.

In prose, Aali is known for his incisive and picturesque travelogues.

His newspaper columns, which he has been writing for a record 50 years, have played a significant role in awakening the people to the need for intellectual pursuits and mature thoughts on contemporary national and international issues.

Aalijee has been very active in the development of the national language by virtue of his close association with Anjuman-i-Taraqqi-i-Urdu Pakistan for the last 55 years. He has been instrumental in the publication by the Anjuman of around 350 books and manuscripts to which he has contributed learned introductions.

He also remained the chairman of the Urdu Dictionary Board for three years.

Under the aegis of the Anjuman, with which he remained associated as honorary secretary for 12 years, and honorary administrator for three years with the Federal Government Urdu College, which evolved into two prestigious institutions.

The Urdu Science College building was raised during Aalijee’s tenure. He was highly instrumental in the growth of the English-Urdu dictionary of Dr Moulvi Abdul Haq. Furthermore, he has also served for the expansion of the Urdu College into a Federal Government Urdu University and remained the deputy chair of its senate for three years.

Early last year, he gave the charge of honorary secretary of Anjuman-i-Taraqqi-i-Urdu to Dr Fatema Hasan after having served it for 62 years. He remains the executive honorary lifetime adviser of the Anjuman.

Jamiluddin Aali is the recipient of three awards of the government of Pakistan: President’s Pride of Performance Gold Medal in 1992; Hilal-i-Imtiaz (Urdu Literature) in 2003, and Kamal-i-Funn Award. He was awarded a DLitt by the University of Karachi in 2004.

Published in Dawn, January 20th, 2015

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