For first Sindhi host on PTV, a night in the spotlight once again

Shamsherul Haidery is best known as a poet, author, journalist and drama writer.

Our Correspondent May 21, 2012

KARACHI: On Saturday night, the Arts Council auditorium was packed to the rafters with literary figures, contemporaries, friends and family members of the master of all trades, Shamsherul Haidery, to pay tribute to more than six decades of work. For those who may not know, Haidery is a renowned Sindhi poet, author, journalist, drama writer and the first Sindhi host on Pakistan Television.

Despite receiving widespread recognition and many accolades for his work, Haidery preferred a humble life and seldom left his house.

“What a great tribute is being given to a man at a time when he has lost his eyesight,” whispered a young poet, Masroor Pirzado. “We are honouring a man who did not even build a house for himself despite holding several high posts.”

The slender Haidery was known among his contemporaries for being a chain smoker and drinker of strong tea. “He likes strong tea but he is a sweet person,” quipped writer and host, Mehtab Akbar Rashdi. “Haidery has done a great work in Sindhi literature and loves his people.”

Haidery’s real name was Shamsheer Ali and he was born in a small village in Badin, called Kadhan. He acquired his early education from his native town and then came to Karachi to study at Sindh Madrasatul Islam.

He has been the editor of Sindhi newspapers, Daily Mehran and Hilal-e-Pakistan, and a famous magazine called Nain Zindagi. In 1955, he joined the Sindhi Adabi Board and was the first Sindhi anchor to appear on PTV in 1970.

Sindh’s information minister Shazia Marri was also present on the occasion. “Sindh is grateful to him for his services to literature and the homeland,” she said. “It is an honour for me to be a part of this graceful ceremony.”

Sultana Siddiqui of Hum Television said that Haidery was a lively man. “His work is great and wish I could do a little of that.”

According to intellectual Jami Chandio and poet Imdad Hussaini, Haidery’s style in prose and poetry was different from that of his contemporaries. “He is a creative man and a gifted person,” they said. “His language is simple and attractive,” added Hussaini.

Author Naseer Mirza, who hosted the show, said that Haidery’s wife always complained that he spent most of his time writing and reading books. “I asked her how was he as a husband,” joked Mirza. “She replied that Haidery only spent eight nights with her and she gave him eight children.”

Haidery’s daughter, Naseem, said that her father’s complete dedication, commitment, passion and love for Sindhi language was just one of the aspects of his life. “He was a humble person and never complained about the ups and downs of life.”

Syed Mohammad Ahmed Shah, the president of the Arts Council, announced a lifetime honourary membership for Haidery. This honour has also been presented to Faiz Ahmed Faiz, Noor Jahan, Adib Rizvi and Mehdi Hasan. Shazia Marri also announced a prize of Rs0.5 million for him.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 21st, 2012.


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