Tribute paid to Quresh Pur, Hasan Shaheed Mirza
KARACHI: When scholar and celebrity TV host Quresh Pur died on Aug 5, there were hardly a dozen people who attended his funeral. But on Wednesday evening the Manzar Akbar Hall at the Arts Council Karachi, where a condolence reference for Quresh Pur and voiceover artist Hasan Shaheed Mirza (who passed away on Aug 3) was being held, cut a different picture.
There were quite a few television and radio fraternity representatives who turned up to pay tribute to the two eminent individuals. Some even claimed they had learned a great deal from the two illustrious men.
TV producer M. Zaheer Khan said he had known Quresh Pur since 1968. It was Saleem Gilani who introduced Quresh Pur, Obaidullah Beg and Iftikhar Arif to Aslam Azhar and presented the idea for the quiz show ‘Kasauti’ that later catapulted the three Kasauti regulars to fame. Initially, the programme was recorded, but later it was aired live. It acquired unprecedented popularity, so much so that people would telephone PTV offices with such frequency that it damaged PTV telephone exchange, he said. He argued Kasauti should never have been discontinued and lamented that in this day and age individuals like Quresh Pur and Hasan Shaheed Mirza could not be found because the corporate sector would not allow them to prosper.
Voiceover artists Shahabuddin Shahab said although he had known both Quresh Pur and Hasan Shaeed Mirza, his relationship with them was of a formal nature. He was junior to both of them and had great regard for them. He said once when he sought Hasan Shaheed Mirza’s opinion on the current crop of TV presenters he remarked, “These days fake people (khota sikka chal raha hai) have taken over which is why I have decided to save my reputation and sit in a corner quietly.” Shahab also mentioned how once Quresh Pur taught him the finer points of Persian pronunciation.
Actor Fahmid Ahmed Khan, who was one of the very few men who attended Quresh Pur’s funeral, said throughout his life Quresh Pur never left his house situated in Nazimabad’s Muslim League Quarters. After he retired from PTV he tried to build a stairway for which he wanted to consult with a relevant person. Mr Khan called up a civil engineer for the purpose. When that engineer inquired Quresh Pur as to why he had not spent money on making a stairway earlier when he being a celebrity must’ve earned it in a big amount, the scholar replied he did not buy cement and bricks from the money he earned; instead he had bought books which could be housed by cement and bricks. Mr Khan also mentioned the fact that when Quresh Pur died, a TV channel ran the news of his passing away accompanied by Obaidullah Beg’s picture. They didn’t even recognise his face.
Prof Sahar Ansari went down memory lane and told the attendees about a place in Karachi where people like Quresh Pur, Jaun Elia used to hang out. He praised Quresh Pur’s extraordinary command over the Persian language and said one of Iran’s foremost writers had praised the way he (Quresh Pur) spoke Persian. He remarked, “Bodies breathe their last, but not voices.”
Khalid Zafar, Ibrahim Khan, Bakhtiar Ahmed, Qaiser Naqi Imam and friends and family members of both the deceased men also spoke.