KARACHI: Late activist, columnist and poet Abeda Iqbal Azad was remembered as a writer who shed light on life in both Dhaka and Pakistan at a memorial session held at Karachi Press Club on Saturday.
Several journalists attended the session, organised by the club's literary committee to mark Azad's third death anniversary at the Ibrahim Jalees Hall.
Speaking at the ceremony, journalist and literary committee secretary Zaib Azkar Hussain remembered Azad as an era in herself who informed people about life in East Pakistan through her works.
"She has written about her days in Dhaka," he said. "She has also described her life in Pakistan and her struggle in adapting to life here."
Describing her work as against every kind of bias, Hussain said her writings for the rights of women and children can be taken as a charter for human rights. He further called for printing her unpublished works for the young readers. He also requested the administration of the Arts Council of Pakistan, Karachi, to arrange a memorial service for Azad at the Arts Council, of which she was a lifetime member.
Journalist Syed Sakhawat described Azad's work as 'very deep' since she underwent hardships of life both in Dhaka and Pakistan. "Azad had seen the East Pakistan tragedy," he said. "She also faced the problems here."
Young poet Hanif Umar paid tribute to Azad through his speech. According to him, Azad had seen Karachi very closely and, by reading her columns and poetry, one can see her closeness with the city. He said that the writings of Azad were in simple language that everyone could understand.
"Her writings are related to political, social and environmental change," said Umar.
Writer and poet Humaira said that writers are known by their work, and Azad was one of them. By reading her work, one can read her whole life, she said.
According to artist Wasi Haider, Azad had pointed out many social evils through her work.
The late poet's sister, Shazia Tasneem — who is herself a poet — described Azad as a person who always questioned everything. "She always lived in deep thoughts," she said. "She used to count the stars and cherish the weather after rain."
Giving a peak into her sister's personality, Tasneem said Azad was born and raised in what was then East Pakistan and then came to Karachi. She said the culture and environment of Pakistan was very different for her but she never gave up. "She learned and settled here," said Tasneem. "However, she could never forget her time in Bangladesh."
Tasneem further told the audience about how Azad learnt Urdu and then started writing in the language. She added that Azad was a fine artist as well. She thanked the literary committee of the Karachi Press Club for arranging the ceremony in honour of her sister.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 11th, 2015.
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