The lion of Ganga-Jamuna civilisation

Ashar called Hussain the lion of Ganga-Jamuna civilisation

Muhammad Shahzad February 20, 2016
Intezar Hussain. PHOTO: FILE


Intezar Hussain was the only post-colonial writer in Urdu literature to have touched upon all major aspects of aesthetics, art, literature, politics and history, writer Nasir Abbas Nayyar said on Saturday.

He was speaking at a session, titled The World of Intezar Hussain, at Lahore Literary Festival. Other speakers on the occasion included Asif Farrukhi, Eruj Mubarak, Ikramullah and Kishwar Naheed. Masood Ashar was the moderator.

Nayyar said for Hussain the term ‘east’ was very vast. “It included Indian east, Ajmi east, Semitic east and Christian east,” he said.

Quoting Chinua Achebe, an African post-colonial writer, Nayyar said history is written by the narrative of a hunter… If it were written by the narrative of a lion, it would be a different history. “Intezar Hussain wrote the narrative of a lion,” Nayyar said.

Ashar called Hussain the lion of Ganga-Jamuna civilisation. “He wrote as the architect of 5,000-year-old Ganges civilisation,” he said.

Farrukhi recalled that once he had introduced Hussain to his boss in Canada. “He told Hussain how beautiful Canada was. He asked Hussain to take a look at the greenery around, crystal-clear water, whispering of sparrows and the glittering sun.” Farrukhi said that Hussain had responded by saying, “Saab! Everything is beautiful in Canada except the squirrels. A squirrel in our continent is more beautiful because a god in an Indian myth put his hand on it.”

Farrukhi attributed Hussain to River Ravi which he said entered the Ganga-Jamuna civilisation. “One cannot separate Lahore and River Ravi from the life, art and personality of Hussain.”

Farrukhi earlier read an extract from Hussain’s novel Basti to start the session. Ashar said Hussain should be celebrated, not mourned.

Naheed said she had had an acquaintance with Hussain since she was 20 years of age. She said Hussain had praised and published in a magazine a poem she had read at Halqa Arbab-i-Zauq.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 21st, 2016.


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