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KARACHI: Distingui­shed writer and arguably the finest humorist in the Urdu language Mushtaq Ahmed Yousufi passed away here on Wednesday. He was 94. He leaves two sons and two daughters.

Yousufi was born on Sept 4, 1923 in Tonk, Rajasthan, in undivided India. He obtained an LLB from Aligarh University and did his MA from the same institution in philosophy.

His family migrated to Pakistan in 1949 through the Khokhrapar route. Here he joined the banking sector. Yousufi’s writing career began in the early 1960s. His first book Chiragh Taley established his reputation as one of the foremost humorists in the subcontinent. It was followed by Khakam Badahan, Zarguzisht and Aab-i-Gumm. The three books cemented his standing as the finest writer of humour and satire of his time. His last book was called Shaam-i-Sher-Yaaran.

It was evident from Yousufi’s writings that his humour was backed by learnedness, erudition and a keen sense of observation. He was a voracious reader and a lover of arts and literatures, something that doesn’t always get associated with bankers.

He used references (verses, couplets phrases, book titles, songs, etc) from Urdu literature in his books to a potent effect. There are countless sentences penned by him that have now assumed proverbial status or are used as idiomatic expressions by readers and speakers of the Urdu language. One of them is:

Is ka kya ilaj keh insaan ko maut hamaisha qabl az waqt aur shaadi baad az waqt maloom hoti hai (What can one do about the fact that we always think that death approaches us before time, and marriage feels like a late occurrence?)

Yousufi’s funeral prayers will be held at Sultan Masjid, Defence, after Zuhr prayers. He will be laid to rest in the DHA phase I graveyard.

Published in Dawn, June 21st, 2018

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