KARACHI: Distinguished Urdu poet Naseer Turabi died of a heart attack here on Sunday evening. He was 74. He leaves behind his wife and two sons.

Mr Turabi was born on June 15, 1945 in Hyderabad Deccan. He was the son of the renowned religious scholar and khateeb Allama Rasheed Turabi. After independence his family decided to migrate to Pakistan and settle in Karachi where he grew up. He obtained his masters degree in journalism from the University of Karachi in 1968 after which he joined an insurance company.

Despite having brilliant command over the Urdu language and a gift for writing top-notch poetry, he published his first collection of poems a bit late in his career. Titled Aks Faryadi it came out in the year 2000. Afterwards, he published a book on Urdu poetics Sheiryaat followed by Laraib (a collection of na’at, manqabat and salaam) and Lughatul Awam, a dictionary of slang or colloquial words. One of his ghazals whose first line is Woh hamsafar tha magar us se hum nawai na thi gained tremendous popularity when it was used as part of the soundtrack for a drama serial, although the ghazal was penned against the backdrop of the Dhaka Fall.

Recently, Mr Turabi was in the news for his hard-hitting comments against those who did not attach importance to poets from Karachi. He gave a few interviews on both social and mainstream media on the matter.

Talking to Dawn about Mr Turabi’s life and work, poet Prof Sahar Ansari said, “It’s a personal and cultural loss. He was a unique individual. He belonged to an eminent family because of which he had a certain cultured behaviour towards life. His discipline was exemplary. He would meet with his friends and relatives with purity of heart.

“Turabi was a good poet. Apart from ghazal, he wrote noteworthy salaam. He also paid extra attention to linguistics and the rules applied to language. He was a profound thinker,” added Prof Ansari.

Poet Dr Pirzada Qasim said, “My association with him goes back 57 years. We, as students in the past, come from the same time period. He was deeply rooted in the tradition of literature and learning. His progress as a poet was special. The ghazal number that [Ahmed Nadim] Qasmi Sahib took out had his kalaam in it.

“He had a critical mind. He used to think deeply about things. He wouldn’t have a linear approach to life; he would rather try and analyse layers of a subject. He was a towering figure among his contemporaries,” said Dr Qasim. Mr Turabi’s funeral prayers will be held today (Monday) at Iamambargah Khairul Amal, Ancholi, after Zohrain.

Published in Dawn, January 11th, 2021

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