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KARACHI: Mujtaba Hussain remembered

September 26, 2004

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KARACHI, Sept 25: Noted literary critic Prof Mujtaba Hussain (1922-1989) also a known poet, story-writer and above all a popular teacher was remembered at the Pakistan Arts Council on Friday, 15 years after his demise in an accident in April 1989.

The function, presided over by Dr Farman Fatehpuri, was addressed by his close friends, disciples and also relatives, including Irteza Hussain, his nephew, a former diplomat.

The learned professor was also a brilliant dramatist and a sketch-writer as confirmed by Kamal Ahmed Rizvi, who included Hussain's plays in the collection of his story plays. Rizvi could still remember "a glint of satirical smile in his eyes and a triangular smile on his lips."

Keeping aside some of Mujtaba Hussain's collections - Intezar-i-Saher (poetry), Tehzeeb-o-Tahrir, Adab-o-Agehi and Neem Rukh (essays) most of his creative writings remain unpublished. Prof Saher Ansari urged all those concerned in any way to the Professor to collect his unpublished material and get them published. The Professor, they said, was sadly, almost forgotten by critics and writers.

While Islam Hussain and Irteza Hussain, the former Mujtaba's younger brother and the latter his nephew, yet a friend of the same age group, recalled 'Munney Bhai', depicting his lively and friendly nature in the family.

His longtime colleagues, students and friends, Prof Raees Alvi, Dr Helal Naqvi, Sarwar Javed and Parvin Javed and Masud Ahmed Barkati remembered Prof Mujtaba Hussain, an erudite teacher, who would infuse a taste for literature and poetry in his students. His studies in Urdu classics, particularly poetry, were remarkable, a quality which had brought him close to Josh Malihabadi, Rashid Ahmed Siddiqui and Maulvi Abdul Haq.

Prof Saher Ansari remembered the decade of 70 when with the initiative of Prof Karrar Hussain and efforts of Prof Mujtaba Hussain, an Urdu department was opened in Balochistan University and Saher Ansari joined the department. The loving, sincere and creative nature of Prof Mujtaba popularised Urdu in the province and with the passage of time a new crop of talented literary figures emerged on the scene.

Raes Alvi said the Professor's literary criticism was creative. He would encourage young persons to think independently with courage and sense of commitment. He acknowledged the importance of lesser known poets because combined together they created climate conducive to literature. Prof Dr Farman Fatehpuri recalled his friendly association with Mujtaba Hussain spread over many decades.

His knowledge on elegiacial poetry, specially his liking for Mir Moonis, Anis' younger brother, kept him engaged in deep researches, as described by Dr Hilal Naqvi in his well written paper.

The meeting began with brief introductory remarks by Anis Baquer, Prof Mujtaba's son and the latter's daughter Ms Areeba. Singers Abbas Brothers presented some of Prof Mujtaba's couplets.