M. Hameed Shahid
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عبد اللہ حسین ادبی ریفرنس




Abdullah Hussain a towering personality of Pakistan’s literary landscape

Zubair Qureshi

Wednesday, July 15, 2015Islamabad—Mohammad Khan known as Abdullah Hussain revived people’s faith in fiction as he neither wrote glorified anecdotes of Islam nor any ‘feel good’ novels of love between cousins or classmates or even thrilling crime stories full of suspense. His was the story of the weary generations of the subcontinent that happens to be the title of his magnum opus, ‘Udas Naslain’ or ‘Weary Generations’.

Information Minister Pervaiz Rashid remembered Abdullah Hussain in the words given above while addressing a reference in his memory organized at the Pakistan Academy of Letters (PAL), Tuesday. Abdullah Hussain passed away early this month on July 4, 2015.

Eminent feminist poet Kishwar Nahid, senior writer Masood Mufti, critic and intellectual of high standing Prof Fateh Muhammad Malik, PAL chairman Dr Qasim Bughio, another noted fiction writer Hamid Shahid, Mustansar Javed, Ravish Nadeem, Ahmed Javed, Ghazanfar Mehdi and Noor Fatima daughter of late Abdullah Hussain were among a large numberof men and women of letters who had come up to attend the reference and share their views about their very dear Abdullah Hussain.

Pervaiz Rashid said Abdullah Hussain paid what he did not owe and he paid quite a heavily. Weariness and drabness of life which are the noted features of his novel seem to permeate the whole society and no one can escape this, said the information minister while giving his opinion of the novel.

Abdullah Hussain’s novels hit the market when stereotype works of stereotype writers were in vogue. In his novels, people found an accurate expression of their age, said Pervaiz Rashid. Noor Fatima daughter of Abdullah Hussain remembered her father as a genuine storyteller. “I was 6 when he started telling me stories and like Sheharzad of Arabian Nights he left the story incomplete every night,” said Noor Fatima. In this way, he inculcated in us love for books and story reading.

Kishwar Nahid in her brief speech remembered some two years back she celebrated 50 years of Udas Naslain or Weary Generations in the same PAL conference hall and the writer himself was the chief guest on that occasion. Telling the audience story of Abdullah Hussain, Kishwar Nahid said when Abdullah Hussain was an employee in a chemical factory in Daud Khel (Mianwali) he had ample time and used to wonder how to utilize that time, said Kishwar Nahid. One of his friends suggested he should write. Now the task was what he should write. Again a friend told him about a retired Subedar from World War I. He was advised to meet that soldier and he would give him quite a substantial matter to be written about. Thus was born the plot of his novel, said Kishwar Nahid. Abdullah Hussain liked to live by himself, and this he loved to do so till the last day of his life.

Prof Fateh Mohammad Malik credited Abdullah Hussain for writing something that restored readers’ faith in story. Masud Mufti who himself is an acclaimed writer said Abdullah Hussain highly valued his relationship with his readers. It goes to the credit of Naya Idara, a publishing house that published his novel and introduced him to the Pak Tea Club community. “Abdullah Hussain had rightly named his novel as ‘weary generations’ as people of this region got nothing but weariness and drabness after experiences of two wars WWI and WWII and establishment of new states, said Mufti.

Hamid Shahid called Abdullah Hussain a towering personality who like an iconoclast broke all the previous images and introduced story in its true form. Dr Bughio called Udas Naslain a trendsetter. There was a time police investigated those who bought or read this book and booksellers too faced inquiries but the popularity of the book never subsided. When PALoffered Abdullah Hussain Kamal-e-Funn Award in 2012, he asked if the award was being given on the desire of some government personality. Upon our clearance, that there was no such intervention by the government side and PAL committee had recommended his name for that, only then he agreed to accept that award, said Dr Bughio.


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