KARACHI, June 17: Noted scholar, poet and researcher Prof Afaq Siddiqui passed away after a protracted illness here on Sunday. He was 84.

He was born in Farrukhabad (UP), India, in 1928. He graduated from Aligarh. After partition he migrated to Pakistan. His father, who was employed with the Indian railway, tried to stop him but he made it to Pakistan and settled in Sukkur.

He was known for his encyclopedic knowledge of Urdu and Sindhi literatures and for his heartfelt efforts in bringing the Sindhi and Urdu languages closer to each other.

He was an eminent writer, poet, translator and critic. Being an Urdu writer he was equally conversant with Sindhi, Hindi and Persian and translated a number of books, including verses of Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai. He had a long list of works to his credit.

Since he had a passion for teaching from childhood, he joined the education department of the Sindh government where he served in various academic positions of teaching. He learnt the language, customs and traditions of Sindh and became a bilingual writer. With his vast knowledge of Hindi and Persian, he translated many works of classical and contemporary writers into Urdu and Sindhi. In Sukkur, he saw the dearth of educational facilities and thought of making some solid contribution to this field as well. He initiated an organisation called Muslim Educational Society which established 14 schools in the city and its suburbs from where people of average income benefited.

After retirement, he settled in Karachi where he founded a literary organisation known as Urdu-Sindhi Adabi Foundation whose task was to publish works of writers who had no means of getting their works published. Under the auspices of this institution many worthy works, which otherwise would have gone unread appeared.

During his lifetime he had 40 of his works published, including 18 in Sindhi. A number of his poems have been broadcast in various forms, and he was a popular poet at mushairas.

The government conferred on him the President’s Pride of Performance Award. Besides, he won over three dozen other awards, including Shah Latif Excellence Award. His autobiography, Subh karna shaam ka, earned him laurels from literary circles.