YAWAR Mehdi, an iconic personality of Karachi with countless accomplishments to his credit in the field of broadcasting, culture and social service, is no more. He passed away at a local clinic on Tuesday night due to failing health. He was 83. With his demise an era of academic and cultural activities, which prevailed in the city some three to four decades, has also gone.
There are some people you can only imagine alive as they are genuinely warm-hearted, caring and upbeat in their approach of life, Yawar Mehdi was among them. He greatly cared for his friends and had always time for them. He was virtually who’s who of Karachi city.
Born on Jan 13, 1938 in the Indian city of Partapgarh in the United Province, he graduated from Lucknow University and obtained his Master’s degree from Karachi University. After doing some small stints he joined Radio Pakistan in 1962 as a producer and never looked back before he retired as the station director.
As a radio producer he had an eye for talent, which immensely contributed in hunting talents and producing a force of youth who later excelled in their respective fields.
Many prominent politicians, parliamentarians, journalists, literary personalities, who are now a household name, happened to be the discovery of Yawar.
His produced programme Bazm-i-Tulba (Students Magazine) was a flagship of radio programming of ‘70s. Injecting soul in the programming enabled to churn out poetess Perveen Shakir, politician Raza Rabbani and debaters like Muzaffar Husain Shah and Shafi Naqi Jamie and beside a long list of outstanding students if you name them.
Speaking from Islamabad, poet and literary personality Iftikhar Arif, who spent his formative years in Radio Pakistan with Yawar, described him a man of sterling qualities.
He said: “Usually producers of dramas enjoy prominence in radio world but Yawar changed this concept as his magazine programmes were equally popular.”
As the news broke on Wednesday morning many former prominent students who worked with Yawar poured their heart out on social media with their heartfelt condolences.
Always full of ideas and scouting right people for the right jobs, he produced some very popular programmes as senior producer when he switched to the newly established World Service, which was established for Pakistani diaspora.
Introducing cricket commentary in Urdu and generating a variety of programmes for the overseas Pakistanis was another milestone of radio broadcasting in the country.
His post-retirement era was again equally eventful as he ruled Arts Council for many years. He led an eventful life before his health and years of tireless working started surging their head.
As famous Urdu poet Suroor Barabankavi said
Jin Sey Mil Kar Zindigi Sey Ishq Ho Jaye Who Log
Aap ney Shaid Na Dekhey Hon Magar Aisey Bhi Hain
Yawar Mehdi was among them.
He was laid to rest in the Wadi-i-Hussain graveyard on Wednesday afternoon. His funeral prayers were held at Imambargah Kazmeen Sadat Colony, Shah Faisal, after Zohrain. He leaves behind his wife, three daughters and four sons.
Published in Dawn, January 20th, 2022