Qasmi – Urdu literature mourns a giant 2/4

Dawar-e hashr! mujhe teri qasampicture
Umr bhar mein ne ibadat ki hay
Tu mera namaa’ amal tau dekh
Mein ne insaan se mohabbat ki hay

O Lord of the Day of Judgment
I swear by you
I have worshipped all my life
Look at my balance sheet
I have loved mankind  

Yet another field that benefited with Qasmi’s presence was journalism, both from his own writing and his work as an editor. By the late 1930s Qasmi was editing reformist magazines such as Phool and Taleem-i-Niswan . In the next two decades he edited renowned publications such as Adab-e-Latif , Sawera , Naqoosh, and daily Imroze – a leading Urdu daily which he left when Ayub Khan’s Progressive Papers Limited took over in 1959, despite encouragement to stay on – and finally a journal he set up himself, Fanoon.

ai Khudaa ab tere firdaus pe meraa haq hai
tuune is daur ke dozakh mein jalaayaa hai mujhe

My Lord! Now, I can rightfully claim thine paradise
You have burnt me in the hell of my times

Qasmi’s writings in Imroze and later in the daily Jang have been noted as progressive critiques on social and political issues. His journalistic writing was terse and often bold compared to his peers and he never compromised on the principles he held close to his heart. His Imroze editorials opposing Ayub Khan’s martial law landed him four months of incarceration in 1958-9. Qasmi’s last column for Jang in 2006 argued that the Constitution of 1973 was a consensus document and should not have been amended time and again.

Qasmi was awarded the Pride of Performance in 1968 and Sitara-e-Imtiaz in 1980. In 1974, he was appointed secretary-general of the Majlis-Taraqee-Adab – a Board of Advancement of Literature established by the government of West Pakistan in 1958 – and Qasmi worked in that position till his last.

Cont. [1] [2] [3] [4]

Published on August 12, 2006 at 10:52 am  Leave a Comment  

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