ISLAMABAD: Friends, followers and family members of the late philosopher, thinker, critic, poet and translator Ashfaq Saleem Mirza on Tuesday recalled his personality and work.

They were attending the launching ceremony of Kuch Yaadein, Kuch Nazmein, a book comprising tributes by friends and scholars along with unpublished poems of late Ashfaq Saleem Mirza (1944-2020). The event was held at a local hotel and moderated by Saqib Siddique.

Mustansar Javed, a noted journalist recollected memories with Mirza in Lahore and Islamabad. He said Mirza was a seeker after the truth and concerned with leading a moral and principled life from the beginning. He was always interested in philosophy and wanted to write texts in philosophy, which he consistently did over the decades, he added. Kishwar Naheed said, “Ashfaq Saleem Mirza’s death has left a void in our lives and in our culture. Mirza was a writer and an artist who also remained a part of the struggle for the democratic rights of the people of the country”.

Harris Khalique, secretary general of Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) and a poet himself likened Mirza to a romantic philosopher for whom it was natural to write poetry.

Renowned historian, Dr Mubarak Ali said Mirza’s books were meticulously researched and thoroughly edited and he consulted original sources and discussed the lives of philosophers in a fresh and engaging manner. His translations were equally impressive and brought to Urdu readers, the works of classical writers. He said as a friend Ashfaq Sahib was always at hand to explain, in accessible terms, arcane philosophical terms.

Writer Dr Ravish Nadeem said the deceased was consistent as a thinker and a writer. Beauty was important to him and he saw aesthetics as the force permeating every sphere of life.

Published in Dawn, December 1st, 2021

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