Obaidullah Baig: The living encyclopedia who is no more

Published: June 28, 2012
Baig was also famous for the documentaries that he made on various issues. PHOTO: FILE

Baig was also famous for the documentaries that he made on various issues. PHOTO: FILE


Media persons and writers gathered at The Pakistan Academy of Letters on Wednesday for a condolence reference for the much-loved ‘Kasauti’ champion, Obaidullah Baig, who passed away last Friday.

An eminent Urdu writer, columnist and media expert, Obaidullah Baig first teamed up with Iftikhar Arif in the 1970s and then with Ghazi Salahuddin in the 1990s for the famous Pakistan Television (PTV) quiz show, “ Kasauti”. He regularly appeared in a similar programme on a private TV channel, “Kasauti, Master Mind” till the day he died. The programme is conducted by Kasauti’s host, Quraish Pur.

Staring over an hour late, the reference began with poet Asghar Abid praising Baig’s work ethics and his ability to evoke unity amongst the people through his writings.

Naseer Malik, former senior cameraman at PTV, shared how Baig would specially come over to his place to eat phulkas (rotis) made by Malik’s sister-in-law, Salma, whom he later married. His wife, Salma Baig also hosted programmes on PTV and was an educationist.

An emotional Iftikhar Arif, the renowned poet, said, “The 50 years of association I had shared with Baig had been priceless.”

He recounted how Baig would help him translate Urdu into various other languages late into the night during his time in Radio Pakistan.

Urdu fiction writer Hameed Shahid regretted the fact that with every passing day the country is losing its finest people “The way we don’t hear good news anymore, we seem to be losing good people too,” he said.

Television executive Agha Nasir was the chief guest at the event and was the last to pay tribute to the writer. “Obaidullah was perhaps the only person I know who despite lacking a formal elite education was more knowledgeable than anyone else,” said Nasir.

He said his favourite were Baig’s documentaries on social issues that he made throughout his career.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 28th, 2012.

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Reader Comments (4)

  • Kazmis
    Jun 28, 2012 - 8:41AM

    I have great respect & regards for Mr. Obaid, but saying that he was an encyclopedia etc tc is over exaggerating. He was a simple good reader not even scholar he needed lot of feed back knowledge in KASOOTI to identify and recognized any thing or personality, many time he used to fail. It was a trick to solve the problems in 20 selective questions. After that he was happy and busy in books etc, but what contribution he has given in literature or in any other program?


  • Iftikhar
    Jun 28, 2012 - 12:40PM

    Mr. Late Obaidullah Baig was great person in our society. It will take years to fill gap


  • Asad Shairani
    Jun 28, 2012 - 1:22PM

    @Kazmis: Obaidullah Baig wrote (atleast) a couple of novels and produced a brilliant series of documentaries on Pakistan. In addition, he inspired millions (including myself) towards acquiring knowledge and developing a habit of inquiry. His contributions are immense.


  • Haven't lost my sanity
    Jun 28, 2012 - 10:29PM

    @Kazmis and all other negative people: OB was an inspiration – simple as that!


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