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KARACHI: Eminent poet and writer Hasan Akbar Kamal died here on Friday. He was 71. His wife, a daughter and two sons survive him.

Mr Kamal was born on Feb 14, 1946, in Agra, India. After Independence, he migrated to Pakistan with his family. His father worked for the Railways because of which the family had to shift from one city to another. It made Mr Kamal visit and imbibe various shades of Pakistani culture. He obtained his master’s degree in English literature and taught at different educational institutions of the country, including Government College Rahim Yar Khan and Government Delhi College, Karachi.

Mr Kamal’s collection of poems Khizan Mera Mausam earned him an Adamjee Adabi award. Sukhan and Khushbu Jaisi Baat are two of his other collections of poems. His work on criticism — Kamal Ke Mazameen — was received with as much appreciation as his poetry collections. He also authored novels for children. They are: Rustam Khan, Chacha Khairu, Mallah Ka Bhoot and Adamkhoron Ka Jazeera.

Some of Kamal’s lyrics were set to music and became extremely popular among music lovers, especially in the ‘90s. Pop band Vital Signs’ famous song ‘Hum hai Pakistani hum to jeetein ge’ and a poem ‘Khushbu jaisi baat’ sung by Tina Sani were penned by him.

Talking to Dawn renowned poet and scholar Prof Sahar Ansari said, “He was a dear friend. I had known him ever since his first collection of poems Sukhan was published. He had a fine critical faculty, and also published a collection of naats. He was a creative, humble man and well-read individual. He taught English at Delhi College for a long time. He had a degree in English literature and was fond of Romantic English poets Wordsworth and Keats. His Urdu poems were regularly published in the literary journal Seep. His death has saddened me.”

TV producer Sahira Kazmi, who worked with Mr Kamal on some projects said, “He was a very fine person. He wrote quite a few songs for PTV. One of the most popular songs that I did with him was the theme song ‘Hansti khanakti hui’ for Dhoop Kinare. Actually I had recorded it first for a show, Rang Tarang, which I used to do. I had sat down with him to discuss its subject. Then when I set out to do Dhoop Kinare, I used it as its theme track. He had written many verses but we couldn’t use them all for a TV programme, so we used two or three. I had requested him to write it in simple Urdu, which he did. He wrote lyrics for some of my other projects as well. He was a kind man.”

Mr Kamal’s funeral prayers will be held after Zuhr at Ancholi’s Shuhada-i-Karbala Imambargah today (Saturday). He will be laid to rest in Wadi-i-Hussain.

Published in Dawn, July 22nd, 2017