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Death of writer Ahsan Saleem leaves a vacuum in progressive Urdu literature


June 30, 2016


The sad news of the death of renowned writer and poet, Ahsan Saleem, has yet to sink in the literary community who still cannot believe that they have lost the lively and enigmatic scholar from among their midst.

The editor of Urdu quarterly “Ijra” and the secretary of “Ijra Takhleeqi Mukaalma” died after a protracted illness on Saturday night. “This news is something I hope I never get a confirmation of,” remarked Iqbal Khursheed, a noted short story writer and journalist, reacting to the news of the death of Ahsan Saleem on Saturday.

However, poet and joint secretary of the Ijra Takhleeqi Mukaalma, Shabbir Nazish, related the necessary confirmation of the scholar’s death.

“With Ahsan Saleem’s death, a champion of change in Urdu literature has been lost,” remarked Ijra Takhleeqi Mukaalma’s president, Safdar Siddiq Razi. “He was a wonderful writer who, despite all his commitment to content and form, was confident that writers were duty bound to play a role in eliminating the menace of terrorism. He wrote a lot of articles and editorials setting a role for writers to change the society in terms of development, progress, education and elimination of terrorism.”

Razi quoted the late scholar as saying, “Creativity is a true weapon to resist terrorism and other inhuman actions of vested interests”.

Razi said Ahsan Saleem kept raising questions and mooting agendas for the writers of the country, either by direct address or stirring the pot at literary gatherings held on various occasions.

Even the quarterly published under his editorship, Ijra, had scholars and critics including Shaheen Niazi and Sabir Zafar working on leaving no stone unturned to discuss contemporary Urdu literature and literary movements.

Litterateurs and scholars whom The News talked to agreed that Ijra had emerged as a credible and renowned document of Urdu literature in the subcontinent and other parts of the world where the language was spoken and understood.

The quarterly not only works of local writers but also those writing Urdu literature in other countries.

Ahsan Saleem was also the author of three poetry collections that were titled “Paton min posheeda aag”, “Munjamid Piyaas” and “Jooyay men jeeti hui aankhein”, besides leaving behind bodies of work as a critic of Urdu literature and culture. He was also a distinguished poet of nasri nazm (blank verse) while also leaving his unique imprints on Urdu ghazal.

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