KARACHI: Eloquent tributes were paid to Dr Mohammad Raza Kazimi, a distinguished scholar, critic, historian and educationist who has never craved publicity, at a literary sitting held at Urdu Bagh under the banner of Anjuman Taraqqi-i-Urdu Pakistan on Saturday.
Besides his contribution of articles to top newspapers and magazines, Dr Kazimi has to his credit 17 remarkable books. Seven of them are in Urdu and the 10 others in English. The list includes M.A. Jinnah —the outside view, Liaquat Ali Khan —his life and work, A concise history of Pakistan, The blood of Husayn, Jadeed Urdu Marsia, Taab-i-Sukhan, Nuqoosh-i-Josh, The Raja of Mehmoodabad and Tehzeeb-o-Takhleeq. His scattered writings on music and film are also noteworthy.
Dr Hilal Naqvi, who has earner a DLit for his monumental work on Josh Maleehabadi’s marsias (elegies), said Dr Raza’s book Jadeed Urdu Marsia is the first credible book on the genre. He said even The Blood of Husain was such a great book that a seminar was needed to discuss its merits.
Speakers say he never compromises on objectivity
Introducing the author as belonging to a noted literary family, he said a writer’s family background also influenced his work.
He said the crux of Dr Kazimi’s work was a triangle — history, literature and religion. Dr Naqvi also narrated how he first met Dr Kazimi at a gathering in 1971 and was impressed by the vastness of his knowledge. He regretted that Dr Raza has not received as much accolades as he deserved.
Firasat Rizvi, paying tribute to Dr Kazimi, said: “He is an erudite scholar, a benign teacher, an authority on Pakistan Movement, admirer of both Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah and Liaquat Ali Khan.
“His thoughts are crystal clear. His prose, both in English and Urdu, is lucid and gripping.”
Mr Rizvi said Dr Kazimi never wrote merely to please or displease someone, adding: “He always writes what his research and perception shows as true. So truth is mirrored all over in his writings.”
Iqbal Haider from Canada said Dr Kazimi strictly guarded his integrity. “Considering how people write these days, his objectivity is amazing,” he added.
He said Dr Kazimi had command of both the Urdu and English languages. “Dr Kazimi doesn’t write a thesis just after reading three such publications, instead delves deep into the text of source material.”
Talking about himself, he mirthfully said his role as the chief guest was ambiguous as he was not supposed to deliver a speech and could only speak briefly at the event.
Dr Shahida Qazi, a revered teacher of mass communication, said Dr Kazimi had devoted his life to literary pursuits, which was a rare trait that needed due appreciation.
Talking about his books, she regretted that the youth of today had lost their link with book. She acknowledged that today’s students had distractions such as mobile phones, iPods and other electronic gadgets, but she said it was a teacher’s responsibility to lure the students back to book.
In another context, she said it served no good to paint a rosy picture in the media when there was none. She said mistakes should be highlighted and we should learn from them.
At the end Dr Kazimi answered questions. When a questioner pointed to Indian politician Jaswant Singh’s assertion that the Quaid-i-Azam did not want to make Pakistan, he remarked: “The Quaid-i-Azam did want to make Pakistan, but when he wanted it to happen was a question.”
Syed Jawed Hasan disclosed that Dr Kazimi was nicknamed Pingoo Bhai. He said the author never minced his words while expressing an opinion and worked diligently without much bothering for recognition and publicity. He particularly mentioned Dr Kazimi’s articles on Sehgal, the renowned ghazal singer, and Dilip Kumar.
Dr Farrah Deeba paid her tribute to Dr Kazimi in English. Dr Fatema Hasan, Anjuman’s honorary secretary, was also slated to speak at the event but it transpired that she was in Lahore at the time.
Dr Qamar Abbas and Farhan Raza hosted the programme.
Published in Dawn, December 10th, 2018