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Homage paid to Ardeshir Cowasjee

Published Mar 31, 2013 07:29am


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Ardeshir Cowasjee: 1926 to 2012.— Photo

KARACHI: Speakers shed light on the invaluable contributions of Dawn columnist Ardeshir Cowasjee to humanity at a memorial held in his honour in the Sindh Institute of Urology and Transplantation’s Agha Hassan Abedi auditorium on Saturday evening.

Dr Adibul Hassan Rizvi gave a presentation on Mr Cowasjee’s achievements and began by saying that he had lost a friend with whom he could fight, argue, agree and disagree but never afford to lose (him). His death was a personal loss as well as the loss for the entire country. He was the common man’s hero as he took stand against tyranny and injustice.

Dr Rizvi raised the point as to what was Mr Cowasjee’s source of inspiration and came up with three answers: his family, the community he belonged to and his religion. With regard to his family, he said he loved every member of it and turned his father’s saying ‘Don’t let anyone go empty-handed’ into a motto all through his life. Talking about his community, he traced the illustrious history of the Parsis with particular reference to their generosity. As for religion, the constant tussle between good and evil, Mr Cowasjee chose not to surrender to evil.

Journalist Zubeida Mustafa drew the attention of the audience towards the link between the SIUT and Mr Cowasjee: both loved humanity. She said the columnist’s philanthropy was not just in the form of what he gave but also how he used his pen. He had command over the language and whatever he wrote had a lot of force in it. He used his pen to promote public causes. He could rub you up the wrong way but had a great sense of humour.

Saeed Hasan Khan said Mr Cowasjee was a man of all seasons. His community had contributed a lot to the subcontinent and he was one of them.

Dr Kershaw Khambatta informed the audience that he was Mr Cowasjee’s cousin and friend. The late columnist did not need any memorials because the building where the programme was taking place and many institutions in the city of Karachi were living memorials to his contribution to society. He was many things. One moment he could be extremely angry and arrogant and the other moment could be humble and down to earth. He was a good friend who would stand by you and never abandon you. He ended his speech by quoting a line from Julius Caesar: “The elements so mixed in him that nature might stand up and say to all the world, ‘this was a man’.”

Munir Malik said through Mr Cowasjee’s columns we came to know that he could both think and feel about the world. He was a journalist par excellence. Dawn Media Group CEO Hameed Haroon said while he acknowledged the contribution of the Parsi community to civic life and intellectual pursuits, he did not think that since Mr Cowasjee was a Parsi he was able to achieve all those feats. He had evolved over the years.

He was not born a wise old man; he evolved with the passage of time. As a young man he was like any other individual, enjoying his life. In the 1980s during the Ziaul Haq rule he decided to dig in. There was a physical belonging to the land he lived in. Yes, the spiritual aspect of life also mattered but above all he was a humanist. After his wife died he could have given up a lot of things and moved abroad, but he did not dislocate himself.

His trust in humanity evolved to save his piece of society.

HRCP chairperson Zohra Yusuf said when Mr Cowasjee passed away a part of Karachi died. She touched on the worsening law and order situation in the city and rounded off her speech by saying “Rest in peace Cowasjee, because the city you loved will not”.

Faisal Edhi, representing Abdul Sattar Edhi, also paid homage to Mr Cowasjee.

Editor of Dawn Zaffar Abbas also spoke at the event.


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Comments (17) Closed

Dr.Kamar.Afghan Mar 31, 2013 11:59am
I have no doubt that late Ardeshire Cosawjee was one of the greatest human being our Sindh has ever produced.He was one of the few human beings who tried to fulfil the important values and principles of humanity which as our friend Surgeon Adib Razvi rightly described in his speech on the occasion..He was a great humanist in my opinion.I had the fortune of reading his columns in the newspaper Dawn and I admired his contribution to his birth place city of Karachi in almost every way he possibly could for which the citizens of Karachi will always remember him and he will be greatly missed by every one living in Karachi.
Syed Husain Mar 31, 2013 12:39pm
Ardeshir Cowasjee will always be remembered as one of the best.
burjor Mar 31, 2013 01:26pm
Consider a well known human rights activists saying that A.C. was lucky to have died a natural death!!!. Readers may be interested to know, that when A.C. first started to write for Dawn about 25 yrs. back, my uncle Behli master had cautioned him, that people actually do read his letter to the editor articles, and that he should be careful, his forthright answer was, ( in gujrati ) " su karsaye, sala mari nakhseh bejoo su karsey"?. " they can kill me, what else can they do". He knew well at that point in time that his writing cuts across the grain. His was a very conscience decision, that he wrote what he thought needed to be said clearly, so that people are made aware, made conscience, of the people around them.
Sultan Alvi, Toronto Mar 31, 2013 01:56pm
SSS Mar 31, 2013 02:58pm
For he was one of the best journalists of Pakistan. His readers around the world were in awe of this rare human, his humanity, spelling the truth without any dressing, And fearless he was. Of whom there are very few in this world.
Indusonian Mar 31, 2013 03:10pm
A true son of this land, he will be remembered always as inspirational and strong figure due to his fierce critic of wrongdoings in the community.
Yawar Mar 31, 2013 03:16pm
Ardeshir Cowasjee's contributions reflects the positive role this small community of Parsis have played in Pakistan and India. Thank you.
Jalaluddin S. Hussain Mar 31, 2013 03:53pm
As a distant admirer of Ardeshir Cowasjee (I am presently resident of Brossard, Quebec, Canada), it is my firm opinion that if we still have some personalities like him living in Pakistan, the country will survive in spite of the current difficulties.
Tas Mar 31, 2013 04:15pm
What a courageous,upright and brilliant Pakistani. We will not forget him.
AbidUsman Mar 31, 2013 05:24pm
A man who made such an anthropology, love of humanity , guarded defense of the loftiness that is always open to encroachment by the varied forms of evil, Ardsher cowsjee as this article reveals was kind of self-interested guy till his youth as is the case with every person born into affluent/wealthy families and yet he became such a pondering philosopher,pain-taker and cherisher for the destiny of goodnes grace otherwise burried under the rubbules of ignorance, obscurantism , extremism and misplaced and crass sense of righteousness (this being consciontious evil ) and thus ardsher cowasjee becomes a savior icon in a country like Pakistan but you stay forever in my heart although i never had had fortune to ever meet you ardshir cowasji
mudassir Mar 31, 2013 07:07pm
Caasje life truly depict the picture of a grt man 'who lived like a lion against all odds he stood against the terror and proved the fact that truth can prevails
Parvez Mar 31, 2013 07:20pm
I read somewhere that a man is indeed a man if he can ' speak the truth to power '.....and Ardeshir Cowasjee was such a man.
Muhammad Farooq Mar 31, 2013 11:29pm
Ardeshir Cowasjee was genuinely inerested in the welfare of masses and devoted his life to raise his voice and use the power of his pen for their betterment. He is like an unsung hero - for younger generations he should be like a role model. I dont think we are duly recognizing contributions of this person. Have we done anything in this regard? For instance let the fed and provincial governments join hands and a build a large library in the city he was most attached to and name after him. We should not forget our benefactors.
Malik from Australia Apr 01, 2013 01:12am
I was addicted to reading Mr Cowasjee's columns. He had a total command of English and wrote from his heart. He was a fearless individual and always called a spade a spade. His contribution to Karachi is immeasurable. His love of Pakistan, Jinnah's Pakistan was boundless. His passing away is a great loss. Now that he is no more with us, I hope someone would continue his work. May Cowasjee's soul rest in peace.
Naveed Lotia Apr 01, 2013 03:20am
He was a great man. May he rest in peace.
Burjor Apr 01, 2013 04:56am
While praising Ardeshir, one has to praise Dr. Adeeb Rizvi and all his team in equal measure for their services, philanthropy, time, skills, knowledge and most of all, a total commitment of their life to serve humanity. At this time in Pakistan, most unfortunately we are embroiled in religiosity, hatred, ( for no reason whatsoever), this gathering was a whiff of fresh air, where people knew, what it really means to be human, to be a humanist, to care about others. Which is what all good people have in common.
fazalpai Apr 01, 2013 06:29am
TRUTH, impartiality, social welfare and so on AND on and on. A mirrror for so called karachi and pakistan lovers.