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September 21, 2020

Persian to suffer loss due to Dr Sajidullah Tafhimi’s passing away

Karachi

September 21, 2020

Persian literary figure Prof Dr Sajidullah Tafhimi passed away on September 2. The scholar had served the University of Karachi’s (KU) Department of Persian for over four decades.

Tafhimi was born in India’s Panipat city in 1941. His family moved to Pakistan after Partition to settle in Punjab’s Jhang city. He got his bachelor’s degree from the University of the Punjab in 1964. He got into KU the following year, and in 1967 completed his master’s degree in Persian.

He later joined KU as an assistant lecturer, and enrolled in a doctorate programme. He left for Iran after completing his PhD thesis titled ‘Shaikh Sharafuddeen Bu Ali Qalandar Panipati: His Life and Persian Works’. He improved his knowledge of modern Persian language and literature at Tehran’s Daneshgah Sepahan Inquilaab.

While at KU, he compiled ‘A Glossary of Literary Terms’ in two volumes that was published by the Iran Pakistan Institute of Persian Studies in Islamabad in 1996. Another Tafhimi-led research project, which was titled ‘A Concordance of Allama Iqbal’s Persian Works’ and published in four volumes, was widely appreciated in both Pakistan and Iran.

He has written some 14 books, but the number of his total publications is over 40. He retired from KU in 2001, but he continued his research activities and teaching at the university for several more years.

Last week KU’s Persian department had held a condolence reference in his memory. The department’s head, Dr Ramzan Bamari, said on the occasion that Dr Tafhimi used to provide proper guidance to his students and the department’s teachers.

Dr Bamari said that Dr Tafhimi’s passing away has caused an irreparable loss not only to academic circles but also, especially, to Persian language and literature. Recalling his student days, Dr Bamari said that when he had come to Karachi from Balochistan, Prof Tafhimi had encouraged him and said that knowledge was not inherited property, but those who try to gain knowledge would surely have it.

He said that Tafhimi respected every religion and people of every faith and ethnic background, adding that he was an excellent researcher who provided guidance to people not only in Karachi but also across the country.

Dr Bamari said that Dr Tafhimi’s services for the promotion of the Persian language will always be remembered, adding that his mission needs to be continued. Prof Tahira Siddiqui, former head of KU’s Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences, said that Dr Tafhimi was a very kind and principled person who never scolded anyone.

She said he had spent his entire life researching and kept nothing for himself but handed over everything to others, adding that it was a great thing for a man to research and teach until his last breath and pass it on to others.

Prof Tahira said that it was a sign of Dr Tafhimi’s humble temperament that he never made any complaints to anyone but was always busy with his research. Prof Dr Shakeelur Rehman Farooqi said that Dr Tafhimi had been one of those few people who were still active in promoting the Persian language.

“I don’t think that the gap created by Dr sahib’s departure will ever be filled. He was a shining star of Persian literature not only in Pakistan but Iranian academics also know him through his research work.”

Dr Shehla Saleem Noori, former head of the Persian department, said that Dr Tafhimi was not only a devoted teacher and researcher but also an expert in administrative matters.

Dr Nazir Bespa said that Dr Tafhimi had highlighted many scientific and literary aspects of Persian, adding that he was well-known as a teacher and scholar of Persian language and literature in Pakistan and other countries, especially Iran, Afghanistan, India and Bangladesh.

He also said that Dr Tafhimi was a senior researcher who taught his students to use ancient skills and traditional methods along with modern technologies for conducting quality research.

Majidullah Tafhimi, son of Dr Tafhimi, said: “I saw every aspect of my father’s personality. He was a kind father who guided us and emphasised on gaining knowledge from everywhere.”

The programme was also attended by Dr Tafhimi’s colleague Dr Hussain Jaffar Haleem and other teachers of the department, including Faiza Khatoon and Bilquees Laghari. They expressed their grief over his passing away.