A legend for millions of Pakistanis at home and abroad, the late Urdu commentator Munir Hussain (1929-2013) was paid tribute at The Second Floor in Karachi, worthy of the status he left behind.
Hussain, born in Amritsar, passed away due to cardiac arrest on July 29, but he has left behind nearly three decades of memories of delivering cricket commentary in Urdu through radio and television. He will also be remembered for making contributions to sports journalism through his popular weekly columns in Jang and founding the first Urdu cricket magazine Akhbar-e-Watan.
The evening, which was moderated by ESPNcricinfo’s Saad Shafqat, dwelled on fond memories of the man.
“It’s been a great loss for the cricket community and its followers,” said Shafqat. “Hussain began commentating in 1969 and held great respect amongst the older generation.”
A 10-minute slide show was relayed with Hussain’s pictures which were self-explanatory at best. They illustrated the prominence he held, including the accomplishments he achieved during his lifetime.
“All his pictures convey his feelings and tell a story,” stated his son, Iqbal Munir.
Many stories by friends and family were foretold of his personality and work, demonstrating the impact he had on those around him.
“I found him to be warm and wonderful,” said Commander Arshan Gilani, a friend. “He always laughed with you, never at you.
“Munir also looked after most of the cricketers and his hospitable nature was evident when he invited them to his home as well.”
All those present believed he was a key figure in cricket and its administration and stated that he would go to lengths through his columns and other pieces to protect the rights of others when the need arose.
“He was a people person and doted on his grandchildren,” said Afiya Salam, a relative. “His confidence and positivity were clear when he braved his illness [during his ulcer, when he had to undergo 60 blood transfusions].”
The evening came to a close with parting words from his grandchildren who held him in great esteem.
“He never compromised on our upbringing or education,” said granddaughter Khizra. “He was so loved that at the funeral we were not given a chance to cry because people kept telling us stories about him and his generosity.”
Published in The Express Tribune, August 24th, 2013.