Columnist Muqtida Mansoor remembered
KARACHI: Friends, colleagues and a member of the family of the late Urdu columnist and leftist scholar Muqtida Mansoor shared their views about him at an event held in honour of his memory at the Arts Council of Karachi on Sunday evening.
Writer Zaheda Hina said Mansoor, who passed away on Dec 21, was like a younger brother to her. She met him years ago, and it was at her office that he changed his name from Muqtida Ali Khan to Muqtida Mansoor. Once he associated himself with the world of pen and paper, he remained with it till he breathed his last.
In a society where so-called enlightened people had dark souls, his presence as a thinker was nothing less than a breath of fresh air. There were occasions when she would disagree with his political standpoints, but after a debate, the disagreement would evaporate in the air. He was of the opinion that writing columns with historical, cultural and political perspectives could educate the youth of our country.
Ms Hina said it was because of Iqbal Alvi’s efforts that people had gathered at the Arts Council to pay tribute to Mansoor and to introduce to the audience a booklet that the late columnist wrote on secularism. The very mention of the word secularism made some people link it to atheism and irreligiousness. Mansoor was aware of it, and tried in his writings to make people understand the spirit of secularism. In order to clarify, he dug deep into the historical background of secularism.
Karamat Ali said he was not happy with Mansoor because he was eight years younger than him but passed on in an untimely manner. Another person, Asma Jahangir, also left us that way. Mansoor practised his intellectualism and was committed to his cause. He had the ability to communicate messages through his writings on a daily basis. He [Ali] worked with him on a number of occasions. Mansoor was a junior to him in NSF. He was a revolutionary and did not believe in violence. He played a big role in peace movements.
Mr Ali said Mansoor’s focus was two-fold. One, he was a firm believer in the fact that democracy could not succeed until local governments were put in place and empowered. The late scholar had also suggested a structure for local governments. Two, he wanted to understand the cause of religious extremism and the functioning of the madressahs, for which he visited two prominent madressahs.
Mansoor’s daughter Erum Ali said people knew him as a columnist but she’d talk about him as a father. She told the audience he never discriminated between his sons and daughters. He provided them with the best of education, and perhaps he was a satisfied man in that regard. He once asked her to keep his library in a proper condition, read books from it and discuss those books with him. Doing that, she chanced upon a series of history books penned by Dr Mubarak Ali, which instilled in her an interest in history, as a result of which she went on to study the subject and now teaches history at the University of Karachi.
Iqbal Alvi said he had known Mansoor since 1968 when they used to get together in Drigh Road for scholarly discussions.
Ahmed Malik said Mansoor’s works should be compiled into books.
Dr Haroon Ahmed, who presided over the condolence reference, also reminisced about the time when some likeminded people used to meet in Drigh Road.
Dr Tauseef Ahmed Khan conducted the programme.
Momin Khan Momin, Naghma Sheikh, Kaleem Durrani, Dr Ayub Sheikh and Abdul Khaliq Junejo, among others, also spoke.