‘Pakistan Writers’ Guild founded by Aaliji will be revived’ | Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

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‘Pakistan Writers’ Guild founded by Aaliji will be revived’

Pakistan Press Foundation

KARACHI: “I will narrate an incident which indicates the extent of my father’s devotion to Anjuman Taraqqi-i-Urdu. Back in the ‘60s my father told us he was buying a car, a Fiat, which at the time was priced at Rs11,500. I was so excited that I distributed sweets among my friends. It was a big thing in those days to own a Fiat. We waited all day long for the car to arrive at our residence. It never did. When I asked my father whatever happened to the car he told me he had given the money to Anjuman as it was short of funds and its employees hadn’t received their salaries,” said Raju Jamil on Saturday at a memorial service commemorating the life and times of his father, Jamiluddin Aali, who was an Urdu poet, lyricist, columnist, civil servant and senator. He also held important positions at several literary and financial institutions.

Speaking about his final days, his son said that ever since Aaliji’s wife, Tayyaba Bano, passed away nearly two years ago, he lost his will to live. And during the last two months of his life, he became forgetful and did not keep well. “But I am grateful he passed away peacefully, without any suffering.” Because Aaliji lived with Raju, it gave the son an opportunity to discuss with his father the workings of the Anjuman and the initial days of the Pakistan Writers’ Guild among other things. “I have complete understanding of the objectives of these organisations.”

Raju Jamil, who is also the president of the Anjuman, promised to revitalise the Pakistan Writers’ Guild of which his father was one of the founder members. “Insha Allah, I will carry on my father’s work,” he said.

Earlier, Najma Hassan, a London-based Urdu poet, in her homage to Jamiluddin Aali said she found him to be a down-to-earth person, who encouraged young and new writers and poets. “He was in town once and called me up saying he had read my poetry collection and liked some of my verses. I just couldn’t believe my ears that such a great poet had bothered to phone me and praise my work.”

Dr Pirzada Qasim Siddiqui in his eulogy to Aaliji recalled his interest in scientific matters which found expression in his poetical works. Dr Siddiqui called Aaliji “dilnawaz shakhsiyyat [tender-hearted personality]”, but added he also had a quick temper, so I told him once, “Aaliji, please don’t lose your temper over everything, you can sulk if you like but please don’t get angry.”

On a serious note, Dr Siddiqui told the attendees that Aaliji had made his name as a poet before Pakistan came into being. “He was a true visionary and an intellectual. Most people are prone to empty words and no action but Aaliji was the exact opposite. He had the drive and ambition to take on challenging projects and this made him an exceptional personality.”

Dr Siddiqui also recollected the good old days of the Pakistan Writers’ Guild in his speech. “The Pakistan Writers’ Guild was created for the welfare of writers and poets, many of whom suffered financial hardships. The Guild would often take writer delegations to different countries and organise seminars and conventions.”

Whoever is willing to take up the baton, must, hence, be supported by all, he said, most probably referring to Raju Jamil, who like his father has taken up the task to look after the administrative affairs of the Anjuman and revive the Guild.

Professor Sahar Ansari in his tribute to Aaliji rejected the claim that the Guild was created by General Ayub Khan to endorse his dictatorial regime. “Had it been so, do you think the likes of Ghulam Abbas and Qurratul Ain Hyder would have associated themselves with such an organisation?”

He recalled another incident at the time when Ayub Khan with his retinue came to attend a session of the Guild, “as he was heading towards the stage, Aaliji stopped him and directed him to sit with the public in the front row. Maulvi Abdul Haq presided that session.”

Prof Ansari also praised Aaliji’s inclusion of Futurism in his verses and columns and his painstaking efforts for the creation of Urdu university.

Zubair, personal secretary to Aaliji, also spoke and praised Aaliji’s generosity and courteousness. Riffat Siddiqui read out Jamiluddin Aali’s dohas and ghazals. Sayyidain Rizvi and Hayat Rais Amrohvi read out versified tributes to Aaliji.

Dawn