‘Novelist Abdullah Hussain was a literary historian’

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ISLAMABAD: Participants of a literary reference organised by Pakistan Academy of Letters (PAL) on Tuesday paid rich tributes to the legendary fiction writer Abdullah Hussain who died in Lahore last week.

The event was attended by Information Minister Senator Pervaiz Rashid who told the participants that the late writer and he were born in the same street in Lahore.

“But Abdullah Hussain was born before me and his name will live long after me because of his services for literature,” he said.

Senator Rashid said as a student, he would read the books of Abdullah Hussain. “In those days, there were three kinds of readers, those who would read about Islamic history, those who read romantic novels and thirdly, those who read Ibne-Safi’s works of fiction. But Hussain’s work was popular with all kinds of readers,” he said.

He narrated to the audience that many years ago he would live in rented houses but not many people were willing to lease their house to a politician.

“My wife told me that Abdullah Hussain’s house was available for rent. I went to the house and met his wife, Dr Farhat, as Mr Hussain was abroad. During the meeting, we discussed Mr Hussain’s book, Udaas Naslein in great detail,” he said.

When Senator Rashid visited Dr Farhat the next day, he was given the keys to the house.

“Mr Hussain’s wife told me that she had spoken to her husband who said that anyone who has read the book Udaas Naslein must be a good person,” he said.

Poet Kishwar Naheed told the audience that Abdullah Hussain was a chemical engineer by profession and his real name was Muhammad Khan.

“Hussain wrote a book about a person who participated in the First World War but in those days Colonel Mohammad Khan was very famous for his book Bajang Amad and so the publisher suggested that he change his name,” Kishwar Naheed said.

“Muhamamd Khan’s peon was Abdullah Hussain so he used his name for the book and later adopted it as his pen name,” she said.

Kishwar Naheed said that despite his success as a novelist, he remained humble. She further said that in his works, especially novelettes, he highlighted the double standards in our society.

Professor Fateh Muhammad Malik said that Abdullah Hussain faced criticism when he wrote a novel against the creation of Pakistan but the novel opened a door for those who wanted to express their opinions about the Pakistan movement.

Abdullah Hussain’s daughter Noor Fatima said Hussain was a very loving father. “My father used to tell us stories every night and because of him, I know all local stories, even though I lived in the United Kingdom,” she said.

PAL Chairman Dr Muhammad Qasim Bughio said that the books written with a political and social context have the potential to change the world and the lives of the future generations.

“Abdullah Hussain’s novel Udaas Naslein is considered to be one of the best novels ever produced in Urdu. Along with Quratulain Haider’s Aag ka Darya, and Shokat Siddiqui’s Khuda Ki Basti, Udaas Naslein is a novel without which, the history of Urdu literature cannot be written,” he said.

Literary figure Ahmad Javed said that Abdullah Hussain is one of Pakistan’s best novelists who wrote about the Pakistan movement. He observed society and then portrayed it in his novel which also made him a literary historian.

Poet Dr Ghazanfar Mehdi said that his friendship with Hussain went back a long time and he held events for all his books.

Dawn, “‘Novelist Abdullah Hussain was a literary historian’,” in Dawn, July 15, 2015. Accessed on July 15, 2015, at: http://www.dawn.com/news/1194572/novelist-abdullah-hussain-was-a-literary-historian

The item above written by Dawn and published in Dawn on July 15, 2015, is catalogued here in full by Faiz-e-Zabaan for non-profit educational purpose only. Faiz-e-Zabaan neither claims the ownership nor the authorship of this item. The link to the original source accessed on July 15, 2015, is available here. Faiz-e-Zabaan is not responsible for the content of the external websites.

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