Renowned Urdu fiction writer, critic, translator and columnist Intizar Hussain died in Lahore on Tuesday. He was 92. He had been hospitalised with pneumonia for the past few days. Intizar had lost his wife in 2004 and the couple had no children.
A recipient of a number of national and international literary awards, including Sitara-e-Imitaz, Intizar was born on December 7, 1923 in Bulandshahr city of India’s United Province (UP). In 1947, he migrated to Pakistan, along with famous Urdu critic Saleem Ahmed and settled in Lahore.
He remained associated with various newspapers and retired from Daily Mashriq in 1988. However, Intizar continued to contribute weekly columns to leading Urdu and English dailies till his very last days.
Intizar came into prominence with the upheaval of 1947 as the two new countries saw massive displacement of people. This transition became one of the major themes of Intizar’s writings and his chief concern with the destiny of this country.
He was regarded as one of the greatest Urdu fiction writers and had a wide readership across the globe. He had a unique diction and style and his novels and short stories were marked with a deep sense of nostalgia.
Intizar wrote a number of books – novels, short stories, literary criticism, character sketches, columns and translations – and received a number of awards, including the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Lahore Literary Festival in 2012. In 2013, Intizar became the first and only Pakistani to be nominated for the Man Booker International Prize. He also received the French civil award.
His famous works include ‘Basti’, ‘Tazkira’, ‘Aagay Samander Hai’, ‘Hindustan Se Aakhri Khat’, ‘Shehr-e-Afsos’, ‘Jataka Tales’, ‘Janam Kahanian’, ‘Wo Jo Kho Gaye’ and ‘Alamaton Ka Zawal’. Talking to The Express Tribune, Intizar’s niece Nelofar Riaz Batalvi said his funeral prayers will be offered on Wednesday (today) at 1:30pm at Komi Markaz Khawajgaan Shadman.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 3rd, 2016.