With 35 books to his credit, the death of Shehzad Ahmed is a great loss to the Urdu literary world, said Islamabad-based literati on Thursday.
The 80-year-old poet’s health suddenly deteriorated after he came from office in Lahore on Wednesday. He died on his way to the hospital.
As a writer from the post-partition era, he was in literary circles with the likes of Nasir Qazmi and Ahmed Faraz. However, what distinguished him from other contemporaries was his extensive knowledge and command over various disciplines --- poetry, philosophy, anthropology and psychology.
Besides having 35 books to his credit, Ahmed had also been awarded with the Pride of Performance award and Allama Dr Muhammad Iqbal Award from the Pakistan Academy of Letters (PAL).
PAL Chairman Abdul Hameed on Thursday said, “Though he lived a long life, the reason why literary figures are grieved is because he was still contributing in his fields of interest.” Urdu poet Iftikar Arif said, “It is very rare that creative individuals are equally rooted and oriented towards harder disciplines, but Ahmed was one such beacon of knowledge.”
Ahmed had a knack for meshing his modern sensibility with the classical form in his ghazals. However, his immaculate translation skills usually went unnoticed, said Arif. “He would always take up opportunities where he could merge various disciplines together, Last week, he gave me a translation of Majid Fakhry’s History of Islamic Philosophy.”
He also commended Ahmed’s work in reviving the Majlis-i-Tarikh Adabiyat. “Under his professional attitude and direction, Ahmed published more titles and organised the library which was very much needed.”
Writer Shabnam Shakil said she was an avid reader of Ahmed’s scholarly publications which comprise well-informed, encompassing theories from the world over.
“He had the writing prowess and guts to write about topics such as sexuality and psychology in our society without an ounce of vulgarity,” she commented.
Writer Ali Akbar Abbas said, “He was the epitome of a writer, he showed the world you can never stop creating and contributing if you have writing in your blood.”
Published in The Express Tribune, August 3rd, 2012.