The government on Tuesday announced the annual Intizar Hussain Literary Award in order to pay tribute to the literary services of the renowned fiction writer.
“Intizar Hussain Literary Award would be given annually to literary personalities over their outstanding contributions,” Advisor to the Prime Minister on National History and Literary Heritage Irfan Siddiqui said while addressing a condolence reference in Islamabad at the Pakistan Academy of Letters (PAL).
“Intizar Hussain was an excellent writer and the gap in the literary world cannot be filled after his death,” he added.
Other speakers also paid tribute to the renowned Intizar Hussain during the reference. Prominent literary personalities, including Chairman Pakistan Television Ataul Haq Qasmi, Kishwar Naheed, Fateh Muhammad Malik, relatives and friends of (late) Intizar Hussain, Prof Jaleel Aali, Dr Ihsan Akbar, Director General National Language Promotion Department, Professor Qaisra Alvi, Managing Director National Book Foundation (NBF) Professor Dr Inamul Haq Javeid and Director General PAL Dr Rashid Hameed also attended the condolence reference.
Veteran short story writer, novelist, columnist and poet Intizar Hussain passed away on February 2 at a hospital in Lahore. The 92-year-old was undergoing treatment at a private hospital.
Hussain was among the 10 finalists for the Man Booker International Prize for fiction in 2013. He was the first Pakistani and the first Urdu writer ever to be nominated for the international award.
Intizar Hussain was also conferred upon the ‘Officer of the Order of Arts and Letters’ by the French Ambassador to Pakistan Philppe Thiebaud in September 2014.
Hussain was born December 21, 1925 in the United Provinces, India. When the idea of Partition was trumpeted, there were many amongst Indian educated youth and writers who fancied the concept and, driven by optimism, boarded the train to Pakistan. While the turbulence of subsequent years disillusioned some to a great extent, the fall of Dhaka made regret bleed into their writings. All his life, Hussain too was unable to escape the remorse of deserting his homeland, his jamun and imlitrees.
Over a writing career that spanned an era, Hussain wrote five novels and published seven collections of short stories. He worked with both Imrozeand the daily Mashriq, and till his death, contributed to Daily Expressand Dawn. His language was simple and his writing style was rather journalistic. Hussain’s expertise over Indian mythology was unparalleled and his works reflect his love for classical metaphors and religious themes. Al-Andalus was his El Dorado. His novel, Agay Samadar Hai, derives heavily from Iqbalian depictions of Muslim Spain. Basti,Tazkira, Zameen Aur, Falak Aur and Sheher-e-Afsos were amongst his other notable works.