Legendary Munnu Bhai laid to rest
LAHORE – Renowned journalist, columnist, poet and writer Munnu Bhai passed away in Lahore Friday morning.
Munnu Bhai , whose real name was Muneer Ahmed Qureshi, was 84 years old. Munnu Bhai who dedicated the latter part of his life to the fight against thalassemia at Sundas Foundation, could not ward off the evil effects of pneumonia although he was being treated for the kidney and cardiac ailments.
He was under treatment for several months at a hospital. His funeral prayers were offered in Riwaz Garden after Asr prayers and was laid to rest in Miani Sahib Cemetery. His Qul will be held today (Saturday) at his residence in Riwaz Garden after Zohr prayers.
Muneer Ahmed Qureshi was born in Punjab’s city Wazirabad in 1933. He finished his schooling from a missionary school in Wazirabad. Later he studied at Government College Attock. He started his career as a journalist in 1954 at an Urdu newspaper but soon turned to writing dramas and earned great fame as a dramatist.
He was best known for his drama serial ‘Ashiyaana’ which was characterised by its buoyant and optimistic plot as well as for highlighting family values. His drama serial ‘Dasht’ was another one of his brilliant works and portrayed the life style, cultural traditions as well as the backwardness of the Balochi tribes based in Gwadar, Balochistan. Some of his other immortal drama serials for Pakistan Television include Sona Chandi, Dasht, Tammanna, Gumshuda, and Khoobsurat. The characters of the play ‘Sona Chandi’ are talk of the town even today.
Munnu Bhai was also known for his versatile Punjabi poetry and he rubbed shoulders with Habib Jalib for realism in Punjabi poetry and much of his poetry has a tinge of a realist who lambasts the military junta and bureaucracy.
He had also revealed another fact about his life in a speech made in a public event in 2013 that he was foster brother of a Sikh boy, Gurdutt Singh. “His mother nursed me for 15 days or so, because my own mother was sick at that time”, he told the audience at a ceremony titled in the Punjabi language ‘Munnu Bhai Diyan Sattay Khairan’.
Munnu Bhai wrote columns for more than 50 years and his famous column ‘Gireban’ forced many rulers to analyse themselves.
The daring man wrote great columns pertaining to integrity and received the title of ‘Rashidul Kheri’.
The veteran columnist focused on highlighting country’s economy and the problems faced in general. His columns were converted into a book form by Intezar Hussain.
Later, a manuscript by the name ‘Boond Boond’ was published. His last book was ‘Qatry Mai Darya,’ which comprised of 295 columns. In 2014, he donated his entire literary collection to Government College University (GCU) as a token of appreciation for its contribution to the promotion of drama and literature.
He was awarded Pride of Performance Award by the President of Pakistan in 2007 for his services to the nation. His death has been widely condoled by leading people from different walks of life.
President of Pakistan Mamnoon Hussain, Prime Minister Khaqan Abbasi, Chief of Army Staff Qamar Javed Bajwa, Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif, former President Asif Ali Zardari, PTI chief Imran Khan and Ch Shujaat have expressed deep grief and sorrow over the sad demise of Munnu Bhai . They prayed for the departed soul and prayed that Allah Almighty may give courage to the bereaved family to bear this irreparable loss. President Mamnoon said that his services in the field of literature and journalism will always be remembered. Chairman PPP Bilawal Bhutto Zardari expressed his condolence following the news of Munno Bhai’s death.
“So sad to hear Munnu Bhai has passed away. Pakistan loses another progressive voice of integrity and sanity,” he tweeted.
Pakistan Academy of Letters Chairman, Prof. Dr. Muhammad Qasim Bughio said it is a great loss for Pakistani nation as he was not only an outstanding journalist but also a very fine poet, dramatist and translator. “He was a true journalist. In his columns and poetry he always raised voice for the promotion of the basic human values and rights of the poor and unprivileged people, and stood to fight against the anti-democratic forces in the country,” he said.
The chairman said in later years Munnoo Bhai dedicated himself to the welfare of the ailing children.