Speakers belonging to the field of literature highlighted important facets of the life and work of writer Mushtaq Ahmed Yousufi, who died on June 20, at a condolence reference held in his honour on Saturday afternoon by the Anjuman Taraqqi-i-Urdu.
Writer Zaheda Hina began her speech on a sad note saying that it’s the autumnal season (patt jhar ka mausam) in the garden of Urdu. Distinguished individuals were passing away. Yousufi sahib was the strongest pillar of our literary edifice. He emerged on the literary horizon in 1961 with his book Chiragh Talay. The book was immediately acknowledged by readers of literature. After that, he didn’t write that frequently, but whenever he came out with a book, with each publication his reputation grew stronger and stronger in the eyes of the readers.
Ms Hina said Yousufi sahib had no parallel when it came to writing sharp lines and meaningful sentences. He would rib-tickle in a subtle way. If he made a satirical remark about someone, it would leave that person with no option but to keep quiet (and appreciate his wit). Underlining his inimitable wit, she read a line, “Pakistan ki afwahon mei sab se bari kharabi yeh hai ke wo sach sabit hoti hain” (The biggest flaw that rumours which float around in Pakistan have is that they prove to be true). He created unforgettable characters and his readers had memorised paragraphs from his books. Very rarely a prose writer had enjoyed such a level of appreciation, she said.
Prof Shaista Zaidi went down memory lane and reminisced about the time Yousufi sahib read out an essay on Faiz Ahmed Faiz at the Arts Council. There, she said, while he was reading the piece, he had an eloquent smile on his face (baleegh muskurahat). While his words would remain, she would miss his smile.
Retired Justice Haziqul Khairi said he had known Yousufi sahib since 1955. He was a friend of his (Khairi’s) elder brother because both had studied at Aligarh University. “I was like a younger brother to him and would talk to him frankly,” (main un se be dharak baat kerta) he said.
Jahangir Khan, Riffat Islam Siddiqui, Wajid Jawad and Mubin Mirza also spoke.
Rukhsana Saba conducted the programme.
Originally published in Dawn, June 24th, 2018