Death of a master

If your death leaves a hole in someone’s heart, a void that cannot be filled with the passage of time, only then have you truly lived. The literary genius Ahmad Nadeem Qasmi was one such man. He passed away on July 10, leaving behind a vacuum in Pakistani literary circles that can never be filled, because he represented so much to so many people. He made a monumental contribution to Urdu literature. One of the most senior literary figures in the subcontinent, Qasmi sahib devoted his entire life to fighting many metaphorical illnesses. He firmly believed in his own ethos and fought for the emancipation of the masses. A staunch warrior against oppression, his courage inspired many. Not only do literary circles mourn the icon’s death, people all over Pakistan grieve the end of an era.

In a career spanning almost 70 years, he published some 50 books and distinguished himself as a seasoned poet, writer, critic and journalist. Qasmi sahib was the recipient of Pakistan Academy of Letters’ lifetime achievement award, the President’s Pride of Performance (1968) and the country’s highest civil honour, the Sitara-e-Imtiaz, for literature. He was also an integral part of the Anjuman-e-Tarraqi Pasand Mussanafin (Progressive Writer’s Movement) in Pakistan, a Communist-dominated association. Other stalwarts in this association included Faiz Ahmed Faiz and Sajjad Zaheer among other notable names. These were the writers and poets who advocated the philosophy of “literature for life” and not “literature for the sake of literature”, a philosophy that was followed by its parallel body, Halqa-e-Arbab-e-Zauq. They believed that literature should relate to social issues and not be divorced from them. It is absurd to believe that literature can be otherwise, as it is not something you pull out of thin air. It is the reflection of society and in turn influences society. Literature is all about reflecting the human condition in all its diversity, complexity and universality. Ahmad Nadeem Qasmi later became the secretary-general of the Anjuman-e-Tarraqi Pasand Mussanafin, which resulted in his imprisonment on two occasions under the Safety Act. He held editorial positions for various journals and magazines during his lifetime, and always tried to highlight social evils through his work. His works would be eternally treasured.

Despite his towering standing as a literary figure, Qasmi sahib's life and career were not free of controversies. He was alleged to have received many perks and privileges during Ziaul Haq’s regime. That, however, still does not take away anything from his stature as his indent in print is indelible from the pages of Pakistan’s cultural history. He was one of the greatest luminaries of the literary field. “Kaun kehta hai ke maut aaye to mar jaaoonga, Mai to darya hoon, samandar mein utar jaaoonga,” are the words from a poem by Qasmi sahib. He was right, he has not died in the real sense of the word because his work will always be entrenched in the deep blue seas of literature and remain immortalised. We need Qasmi’s voice more than ever now because of the sad state of our culture and literature. The society that we live in has touched the depths of depravity. Our younger generation and the generations to follow must read his work and understand it, because otherwise this nation would be lost in an abyss of ignorance and philistinism.


wolf~! said…
I am sooooo proud of you. Your writing is certainly your passion and calling. Please follow your heart and your words will continue to ring true. You are a great will go far my dear! Love ya and miss ya Lots...hugs those sisters of yours for wolf! mwaaaaaaaaaaaaaah
mehmal said…
Thank you wolfie! It's so good to see you here babes *huggles*
Indeed, writing is my passion and I am so glad that I finally chose a field where all I have to do is write hehe :D

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