OBITUARY: Journalist Mooraj passes away
Eminent journalist and writer Anwar Mooraj passed away on Wednesday morning. He was 86. He leaves two sons.
Mr Mooraj was born in London on Feb 15, 1931. He belonged to a distinguished family from Bhopal and went to Doon School, Dehradun. After Partition, his family migrated to Pakistan. He graduated from the London School of Economics after which he opted for journalism as his career and joined Dawn in the 1960s as an assistant editor. In 1970, he became the founding editor of the monthly The Herald. Between 1982 and 1985, he worked as the chief executive of the Gulf News, and from 1990 to 2004 he was the chief executive of the Pak-American Cultural Centre (PACC). For the last few years he had been writing a column for The Express Tribune.
Mr Mooraj had authored three books; Sand, Cacti and People, Wild Strawberries and Harbour Lights, and co-edited with Dr Hamida Khuhro Karachi – Megacity of Our Times.
He was an admirer of western classical and jazz music, a lover of literature and an art connoisseur. He wrote prolifically on art and culture and was known for his honest criticism of works of art. His profound knowledge of music led him in the ‘90s to deliver a series of lectures on traditional jazz at American cultural centres in Karachi, Lahore, Peshawar and Islamabad.
Mr Mooraj also had profound interest in existentialism. This writer distinctly remembers him once, during a visit to the Dawn offices, referring to French philosopher Jean Paul Sartre as “that pipe-smoking cockeyed man” whom he had met on a couple of occasions.
His funeral will be held after Asr prayers on Thursday at Defence Imambargah. He will be buried in the DHA graveyard.
Journalist Ghazi Salahuddin had a close association with Mr Mooraj. Talking to Dawn Mr Salahuddin said, “He had a great cultural background and a profound interest in music, literature and the arts. His mother was German and father was Indian because of which there was a synthesis of western and South Asian values in him. I used to play chess with him. He was very methodical.”
Journalist Anil Datta said, “He was an amiable man, very friendly. He was an educated person in the real sense of the word. He knew so much about western classical music that he almost had it on his fingertips. Whenever there was a concert in the city, Mr Mooraj would be there. He covered those concerts for Dawn.”
Writer and critic Muneeza Shamsie said, “My husband and I had known him for a long time. Even before our marriage we knew him separately. He was a very nice, hospitable person. I can’t remember a single nasty thing about him. I loved his articles, his humour. He had that rare talent of combining fact and fiction. He was so knowledgeable. I could talk to him about many things.”