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KARACHI: Khadija Mastoor’s writings praised

September 03, 2005

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KARACHI, Sept 2: Rich tributes were paid to prominent writer late Khadija Mastoor on various aspect of her creative art in the context of the tradition of Urdu fiction at a seminar held at the Arts Council here on Thursday.

Khadija Mastoor’s sister, noted writer Hajra Masroor was the chief guest. Prof Saher Ansari, poet and critic, presided over the proceedings.

Speaking on the occasion, Prof Ansari observed that both sisters established their own traditions.

He said: “Khadija’s stories are neither symbolic, nor plain narratives, but a fine blend of both. Spread over a vast area, her stories are based on social values, and are moral as well as political. There is no model before her when she starts writing. She closely looked around and narrated her experiences.”

Many women writers, including Esmat Chughtai and Wajada Tabassum, became a type, but Khadija and Hajra never became types, such was the versatility in their art, he added.

Prof Ansari also recalled a remark coming from Ahmad Nadim Qasmi that Khadija was very skilful in letter-writing and her letters were as good as those written by Mirza Ghalib. Those letters, Prof Ansari said, should be published for further evaluation of Khadija Mastoor’s art.

Earlier, Hajra Masroor said in a brief speech that she was not for the time being concerned with the tradition of Urdu afsana. All she knew was from her observation and personal experience in life, she and Khadija gathered from early childhood.

Brimming with an urge for writing, both sisters wrote stories for a children magazine and were encouraged by the response they received from prestigious literary journals like Adbi Dunya. Maulana Salahuddin Ahmad, editor of Adbi Dunyia published the stories with adoring remarks and an advice — Hajra still remembers those words with a smile — not to indulge in “Sahelangari” (easy way).

The two sisters continued to write for different magazines like Saqi, Khayyam, Alamgir, etc. “We had no godfather,” Hajra Masroor emphatically said.

Popular story writer Firdous Haider evaluated Khadija’s fiction Angan and her last story collection Thanda Meetha Pani. She said the two sisters had no model before them, except their own life. Their realism was supported by the Progressive Writers Movement, Ms Haider added.

Poet and story writer Ahmad Hamish reviewed major works of Khadija Masroor, recalling examples from English and Hindi pieces of writing.

The seminar was organized by Historical Event Committee of the Arts Council and compered by Ovais Adeeb Ansari. Qasim Jalali, Chairman of the committee also spoke.