Thursday, March 19, 2020



JAUN ELIA,  INTIZAR  HUSAIN AND   ZAHIDA   HINA  ...( Intizar Husain in centre )

Let me say briefly about the persons in this photo..

JAUAN  ELIA ( 1931-2002)   AND  ZAHIDA HINA ( born 1946)

Ka'am ki  baat maine ki hi nahin
Ye mera taur e zindagi hi nahin
(Jaun Elia)

Jaun Elia was from Amroha ( UP ) . He was a poet ,scholar, biographer ,translator  and writer. He was fluent in Urdu, Hindi , Arabic, English, Persian, Sanskrit and Hebrew. He  married  Zahida Hina in 1970 and  in 1980, they were divorced . .His wife's parents were from Sasaram , Bihar originally.

In every  Mushiara, Jaun did his  poetry recital in a unique style. He would be seen asking  for tea, cigarettes , naming friends and conversing with them in the audience thereby involving everybody and making it  look like a ‘rock concert’. He died of liquor abuse and asthma.
Elia authored many books in prose and poetry. He also did translation work. His poetry in particular appears like a flowing  river   that carries  water of pain, sorrow, separation ,love and  dejection. In his poetry, Elia appeared  depressingly lonely and outspoken yet brilliant. The  existential crisis of human beings is also the dominant subject of his poetry.
Jaun was first cousin to well known film producer /director Kamal Amrohi .Initially ,he believed in marxism but later on he became an agnostic.

Woh Jo tameer hone vaali thi
Lag gayi aag uss imaarat mein...
( Jaun Elia)

 Zahida Hina  is a writer , journalist ,novelist , and dramatist .   Her works have been translated into English, German, Russian, Hindi, Sindhi,  Punjabi (Gurmukhi script )  Marathi, Bangla and Pashto by many leading writers including Faiz Ahmed .
I rate  her novel "All Passion Spent "  ( Na janoon raha na pari rahi ) as a masterpiece that focuses on the human aftershocks that accompany the 1947 partition of India and the emergence of India and Pakistan as two separate countries. In this work, her style to present the human tragedy of 1947 and the accompanying   displacement is superb and moving. With lost  friends and loved ones , the survival instinct in displaced people  starts a  quest for planting new roots in a new land  under totally altered environments.

Zahida says:-

“Stories just come to me. I can’t visualise the character; instead I just keep writing. My writing process is based on an event or an instance that just hits me and it is then that I start writing. I can never remember the process as I am completely engulfed in that state of being.”

About her unsuccessful marriage  with Jaun Elia, Zahida Hina  has said :-

" Both of us made wrong choices . We are both responsible for what happened between us ."
She remains an opponent of  war ,  building  nuclear arsenal  and military dictatorship. She used to write a column for Hindi newspaper Dainik Bhaskar.

Zahida Hina also wrote some poems and Gazals. Two sample couplets  from her Gazal are as under:-

Haañ charāġhāñ kī kaifiyat thī kabhī
ab to palkoñ pe ik diyā bhī nahīñ
vaqt itnā guzar chukā hai 'hinā'
jaane vaale se ab gila bhī nahīñ"

INTIZAR  HUSAIN ( 1924- 2015 )

Born in Bulandshahar ,  Intizar Husain  is a well known Urdu short story writer .He has an unbiased approach towards social and political issues. His sensibility is not only modern but  cosmopolitan as well. He does not belong to any camp.

He has written  honestly  and profusely  about Partition,  migration, corruption and  religious fanaticism. He has wri
tten in English and Urdu . He has his readers in the Indian subcontinent , Europe and the US. Born in Bulandshahar ,  Intizar Husain has an unbiased approach towards social and political issues. His sensibility is not only modern but  cosmopolitan as well. He does not belong to any camp. He was nominated for the Man Booker International Prize in 2013.

Intizar Hussain writes:-

" We lived in a village near Bulandshahar . Our house was the last house in the Muslim cluster and as a matter of fact, the Hindu Mohalla began from our house . I have grown up celebrating Diwali, playing Holi, watching Ramlila and participating in Dussehra celebrations . It is difficult to overcome your happy past."

Intizar Husain is a lover of Mahabharata. The characters of Mahabharata  are reflected in his work as well. In 1947, his family left India, though they were not very happy about it. He informs :-
 “The idea was not to go away forever. People packed their things and left giving their keys to their Hindu neighbours. There is a similar situation in my novel Basti.The first Partition was in the Mahabharata, and then it was me when I was exiled. Only the Pandavas and I knew the pain of leaving one’s land. The Mahabharata is such a powerful narrative of that pain.”

His stories have been translated into many languages. A fine specimen of his Urdu short stories has been translated into English by Dr Rakshanda Jalil and published by Harper Collins India.

The book is titled "Intizar Hussain .The  death of Sheherzad" . It is available on Amazon.

(Avtar Mota)

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