Discerning audience enjoys finer points of stalwarts’ literary works

Published December 3, 2022
Urdu Conference attendees in the Arts Council Auditorium listen silently to a discussion on literary aspects of a writer’s works. —Fahim Siddiqi / White Star
Urdu Conference attendees in the Arts Council Auditorium listen silently to a discussion on literary aspects of a writer’s works. —Fahim Siddiqi / White Star

KARACHI: It is always nice to remember those who have left this mortal world after enriching the world of literature. It is in this context that a post-lunch session titled Yaad-i-Raftagan moderated by Rizwan Zaidi on the second day of the 15th International Urdu Conference organised by the Arts Council drew appreciation from the discerning crowd.

Sahar Imdad spoke on poet Imdad Husaini. She said Mr Husaini started composing poetry at the age of 12 and kept on doing it for 70 years. Apart from nazms and ghazals, he wrote 121 geet. He wrote both in Sindhi and Urdu and his Urdu poetry was published for the first time in the reputed journal Afkaar.

Nasir Abbas Nayyar was asked to shed light on the works of Prof Shamim Hanfi. He said for many years Prof Hanfi graced the stage at the council’s Urdu Conference. He was a regular delegate at the event. As an Indian scholar, he visited Pakistan the most and kept in touch with Pakistani writers. Although he is known as a critic, one of his literary legacies is the plays that he wrote for the radio. As far as criticism goes, he had a distinct view of modernity attaching a great deal of importance to ‘experience’ while critiquing a work of literature.

Music composer Arshad Mahmud shared his memories of Farooq Qaiser (of Uncle Sargam fame). He said the two of them met while doing the TV show Akkad Bakkad. He wrote interesting things, made puppets and Mahmud composed music. “There were two aspects of Farooq’s personality: one, he was a dedicated husband and father; two, he was a creative individual. He also made cartoons. He modelled the character of Uncle Sargam on me [Mahmud]. Among our contemporaries, he was the most prominent humanist.”

Hasan Zaidi talked about his father, the eminent journalist and poet Farhad Zaidi. He said the common thread among his father’s journalism, poetry and his duties at PTV was ‘ethics’; he was a man of principles. He never hankered after awards. His younger son had worked with him in the Muslim and Mr Farhad Zaidi gave his son a salary which was less than that of the office peon so that there was not even a hint of discrimination. What mattered to him was the ‘character’ of an individual. He knew all kinds of people but stayed away from those who wielded power. As a media person he would not undertake any task without proper homework. He was poetic by nature. “After his passing, we found some ghazals and nazms penned by him.”

Critic Mubin Mirza highlighted the significance of writer and critic Shamsur Rehman Farooqi. He said he was a great man. He didn’t in person participate in the Urdu Conference but once took part in it online. “He read literature in all its vastness.”

Mohammad Hameed Shahid read a paper on Gopichand Narang. He said the late critic worked diligently for 70 years. While writing on Ghalib, he claimed that people tried to find the poet where he wasn’t present. The same could be said about Mr Narang. His works of criticism will keep paving the way for others.

Published in Dawn, December 3rd, 2022

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