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Thursday, July 16, 2009

3rd Death Anniversary of Ahmad Nadeem Qasmi. (2009-6)

Poet, short story writer, editor and newspaper columnist Ahmad Nadeem Qasmi dominated the literary scene for nearly 70 years before his death in Lahore on July 2006. Born to poor parents in mauza Angah of Khushab district on 10th November 1916 he rose to prominence as poet and writer of short stories and as one of the prominent leaders of the Progressive Writers Movement which for the greater period of the 20th century remained the main inspiring force in the world of letters producing some of the most eminent scholars, poets, fiction writers and literary critics of our time. Ahmad Nadeem Qasmi became the Movement’s secretary general in 1948 and held his eminent position till 1954.

He appeared on the literary scene in 1931 on the publication of his dirge on the death of Maulana Mohammad Ali Jauhar in the daily Siyasat, Lahore. His first short story was published in Rooman, Lahore in 1936. During his long and multi-facetted literary career he edited eminent literary journals like the adab-e-Latif and Naqoosh and subsequently assumed editorship of Funoon which he started in 1962 and remained its guiding spirit to the time of his death. As perhaps the longest surviving Urdu journal, Funoon has influenced literary trends in the subcontinent and launched the careers of a number of poets and writers who shine on the literary horizon of Pakistan.

Ahmad Nadeem Qasmi also earned eminence in journalism as an editor and columnist. He was editor of the daily Imroze from 1953 to 1959 and his columns on culture, society and socioeconomic issues continued to appear in leading national dailies and are regarded as epitome of stylish expression and sobriety of opinion. He also wrote for children and was editor of weekly Phool from 1941 to 1945. His work for the promotion of literary activities in the country is also a salient feature of his life. He remained associated with the Majlis-e-Tarraqi-e-Adab, Lahore as its Director from 1974 to the time of his death in 2006.

As a towering personality of our time his commitment to the causes of peace and freedom, a just social order, emancipation of the down trodden sections of society from poverty, the promotion of humanity, tolerance and compassion were themes that featured not only in his creative work but also transformed his life as a progressive activist. He went to jail for this progressive beliefs in 1951 and 1958. His patriotic attachment to Pakistan and his love for his people runs through his poetic and prose writings.

Among his literary heritage are 15 collections of short fiction, eight collections of verse and 10 other books on literary and other subjects. He was awarded the Price of Performance by the government in 1968, the Sitara-e-Imtiaz in 1980 and the highest, Nishan-e-Imtiaz, in 1999. The Pakistan Academy of Letters conferred upon him its lifetime achievements Kamal-e-Fun award in 1997.

Ahmad Nadeem Qasmi led a full, long and rich life in all respects, as an honest man who rose from modest origins to great national stature, as a leading poet and writer, as an eminent journalist and as a very active member of the literary community whose work inspired his contemporaries, the younger will continue to inform future trends in literature.

On the 3rd Death Anniversary of Ahmad Nadeem Qasmi Pakistan Post is issuing a Commemorative Postage Stamp of Rs. 5/- denomination on July 10, 2009.