KARACHI: Renowned Sindhi writer and journalist Shamsher Ali aka Shamsherul Haideri passed away on Friday after a prolonged battle with cancer. He was 81.
He had been recently shifted to the Aga Khan University Hospital a few days ago on the instructions of the Sindh government. He was laid to rest at the Chowkandi graveyard.
He leaves behind a widow, five sons and three daughters.
Born on September 15, 1931, Haideri acquired his early education in Badin and went to the Sindh Madressatul Islam in Karachi and Noor Muhammad College in Hyderabad for further schooling. He went on to complete his graduation and post-graduation from the University of Sindh in Jamshoro.
Haideri started his career in journalism when few people knew of its importance. His writing skills were appreciated as he could write fluently in Sindhi, Urdu and English.
In 1955, he joined the Sindhi Adabi Board as its secretary and later on served as the editor of “Naee Zindagi” magazine published by the press information department for eleven years. He also served as the director of the same department.
Haideri became the first anchor of Sindhi television programmes as he started hosting “Ras Rehan” on Pakistan Television Corporation (PTV) in 1970. During 40 years of his affiliation with the state TV, he wrote many dramas for PTV and hosted many programmes.
He was also the editor of Sindh Gazetteer, published a few months ago by the Sindh Information Department.
He had previously served as the editor of many Sindhi newspapers, including Daily Mehran, Hilal-e-Pakistan, Khalq, Khadm-e-Watan and Barsaat.
Haideri retired as a Grade 19 officer in 1999, after stints in the information and broadcasting ministry and the youth affairs ministry.
The eminent scholar remained a member of the Urdu Dictionary Board, Karachi for three years and was a member of the Pakistan Films Censor Board Karachi for three years as well.
He was the founder member of Sindh Graduate Association and Sindhi Adabi Sanghar Sindh. He was also the Life Fellow of the Pakistan Academy of Letters.
The famous writer earned acclaim not only among the literary circles but also among the youth due to his simple but striking and meaningful words.
Haideri was famous for his writing skills and a very simple and humble lifestyle. Until he was shifted to a hospital, he continued living in the government quarters despite his friends and relatives wanting him to make his own house.
The Sindhi intellectual wrote many books and articles on a diverse range of topics. His most famous books were Laat, Sujaag Sanghar, Flame and Flute, Poet for all Times, Kaak Mahal, Tareekh Jo Kichro, Sindh Updates, Tareekh-e-Kalhora, Sindhi Azad Nazam Ji Osar, Sindhi Shairi jo Ebhyas, Roshan Tara, Laat Aeen Waat and Faqeer Bayan Kare Tho.
Haideri produced and directed two documentaries on Thatta and Makli for the Sindh Culture Department. He also supervised two films on the shipping industry for the communications ministry.
Radio and television
For almost 40 years, Haideri wrote scripts, plays and songs for the national television, while also contributing in talk shows and documentaries, both in Urdu and Sindhi. He was the chief organiser of the PTV’s Sindhi news section at Karachi. He was writing the scripts of the famous programme for children, Roshan Tara, since it was started some 40 years ago.
Haideri’s contribution in features, musical stories and songs for Radio Pakistan’s Hyderabad and Karachi stations was also much appreciated.
Haideri received over 40 literary, cultural and journalism awards from Pakistan and India as well, including the presidential award of Pride of Performance.
He was the longest surviving Sindhi journalist whose career spanned over 56 years.
“We lost a very nice person today. The era of a great Sindhi literary figure has ended with his death, but he’ll be alive through his writings,” said Mahtab Akbar Rashdi, a renowned writer, intellectual and Haideri’s contemporary.
Expressing her grief over the Sindhi poet’s demise, Rashdi said that he dedicated his whole life to writing. “I cherish the moments spent with him,” she said. “Many journalists and writers learnt a lot from one of the greatest literati.”
Published in The Express Tribune, August 11th, 2012.