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Dr Enver Sajjad’s death termed loss to society

June 18, 2019

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(L-R) Ahmad Salim, poet Kishwar Naheed, Ishfaq Salim Mirza and Hameed Shahid attend the reference on Monday. — White Star
(L-R) Ahmad Salim, poet Kishwar Naheed, Ishfaq Salim Mirza and Hameed Shahid attend the reference on Monday. — White Star

ISLAMABAD: A large number of people paid tributes to eminent short story writer, novelist and actor Dr Enver Sajjad at a reference held in his memory on Monday.

The event was organised by Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI).

Dr Sajjad passed away last week at the age of 84.

Speaking on the occasion, poet Kishwar Naheed said during Ziaul Haq’s martial law it had become impossible for a number of writers to publish their literary work and Dr Sajjad was one of those literary figures along with her.

Earlier, Dr Sajjad used to run a clinic in Chuna Mandi Lahore which he called ‘Hatti’ and visited Pak Tea House twice a day where a number of other writers used to come.

“Ratti Sajjad, wife of Dr Sajjad, was a Canadian national and very much sincere with him. But the couple had no children. So Dr Sajjad married another woman and had a daughter from her.

“Because of that woman [his second wife], he had to sell his five-kanal house and purchased another one in which she started various businesses one by one. But with the passage of time, he lost his money and his relations with his wife strained and moved to Karachi where he started living in a room of a private television channel,” he said.

“Later, the owner of the television channel arranged an apartment for Dr Sajjad in Lahore where he shifted.

“His wife Ratti again came to him and started living with him there,” Ms Naheed said.

Writer and researcher Ahmad Salim, who remained in contact with Dr Sajjad since 1960s, said things changed for Dr Sajjad on April 4, 1979. He said nothing was left for him in his life.

Noted progressive writer Ishfaq Salim Mirza expressed his thoughts on Dr Sajjad’s translated work Neeli Notebook (a novella by Russian poet and writer Emmanuil Kazakevich 1913-1962).

He said the book described real-life characters who fought against one of the most oppressive regimes in the world.

SDPI executive director Dr Abid Qaiyum Suleri said sustainable development and sustainable societies cannot be accomplished and achieved without contributions of such noted literary figures.

He said Dr Sajjad fought and struggled for social justice and equality in society through his writings and acting.

It is the responsibility of civil society to carry forward his work, he added. Our young generation should be familiar with the struggle and contribution of such great literary figures for their contribution to literature and society, he remarked.

Social commentator Naazir Mahmood said the artistic and literary work of Dr Sajjad stretched over at least half a century.

He said Dr Sajjad was one of those progressive writers who always informed and warned society through his writings about the forthcoming destruction and difficult times.

He said his writings, particularly Chauraha, Janam Roop, Khushiyon Ka Bagh, Neeli Notebook, Talash-i-Wajood, Zard Kunpal and Rasi ki Zanjeer, were the masterpieces.

The departure of such a rare literary figure is a massive loss to society, he added.

Fiction writer Hameed Shahid said Dr Sajjad had many characters in one existence: an actor, novelist, practicing doctor, play writer, fiction writer, progressive and moderate personality, political activist and a short storywriter.

His short stories, including Cinderella, Pathar Laho aur Kutta and Keekar, have real ground assessment of society which enhanced the interest and understanding of the readers about the socio-political reality of society, he added.

Researcher Dr Humaira Ishfaq said the message from the lifelong struggle of Dr Sajjad was peace and well-being of society. She said Dr Sajjad not only touched serious societal topics but his writings also included issues related to sustainable development.

Published in Dawn, June 18th, 2019