Few people have command over a language. Even fewer can claim over two. And there would be just a handful of men and women who can critically analyse Urdu literary work and also write in English. Dr Muhammad Ali Siddiqui did all of that.
He passed away on Wednesday after falling sick a few days back. He was laid to rest in Karachi amid gushing praises from writers, academics and students.
“A great void has been created,” said Professor Dr Pirzada Qasim, former vice chancellor of University of Karachi.
“We don’t have too many literary critics in the first place and he was a creative critic.”
Born in a middle-class family on March 7, 1938, in Amroha, India, Siddiqui spent his life reading and writing. He did his PhD in Pakistan Studies in 1992 and D.Litt in 2003.
He worked at Pakistan Study Centre of Karachi University and later became Director of Quaid-e-Azam Academy, Dean of Faculty of Social Sciences at Hamdard University and Dean Faculty of Management and
Social Sciences at Institute of Business and Technology.
He penned over 15 books and wrote thousands of articles and research papers. His career as a columnist is equally diversified.
He wrote for Indus Times, Dawn, Morning News, Business Recorder, Hurriyat and contributed articles to many Urdu publications such as Jaam-e-Nauh, Auraak, Afkaar and Funoon. He was the current president of Progressive Writers Association.
Siddiqui also received Presidential Pride of Performance award for his contribution to literature in 2003.
Tawazun, a compilation of critical essays, was his first book published in 1976. He had representation on many international literary forums.
He leaves behind a widow and six children and a treasure of literary works.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 10th, 2013.