Those We Lost In 2020; In Memoriam 2020
Earlier this month, Time magazine ran an extraordinary cover image with a big red X drawn over the number 2020. “THE WORST YEAR EVER,” the cover line read. Time certainly wasn’t alone; A recent headline from the Hill: “Why 2020 really was the worst year ever.” Planning on celebrating new year, 2021? Well, think on was 2020 the worst year ever? With pandemic, social unrest, lockdowns, economic meltdown, soaring unemployment, and fatalities in millions. The internet meme machinery certainly terms it the worst. Worst or not, as historians may demur, it indeed was tragic. We all can concur on the tragedy this year afflicted. Beneath the blanket of 1.7 Million deaths due to COVID-19 is a long list of prominent names we lost in this year. These names are from different areas; Literature, Politics, Society, Arts and others. Toes may curl, so have your hand over your heart as you go through the following list.
The peak summer of 2020 has been a painful one for the literature canvass of Pakistan who saw the passing of several writers of Urdu, Punjabi, Seraiki, Pashto and Balti languages.
Those who left this mortal world in June alone were: Manzar Ayubi, Sarwar Javed, Mazhar Mahmood Sherani, Mohammad Khalid, Tariq Aziz, Najeeb Parwana, Jamil Arshad, Rabb Nawaz Miskin, Wazir Hussain Rahi, Nobahar Shah Khattak and Qadir Khan Sartaj.
Sameer Haider Naqvi
Sameer Haider was a scholar, writer and researcher who wrote several books on religion and poetry. He also remained the Editor of Al Kalam magazine besides heading the Anees Academy.
He was negatively propagated on social media and continuously condemned the insulting behaviour against his speeches.
Poet, journalist and broadcaster, born on April 8, 1942, Muzaffarnagar, UP, India, Nasir Zaidi migrated to Pakistan along with his family after Partition. He received his education in Lahore and did his BA from the Islamia College, Lahore.
He started writing columns with weekly Himayat-i-Islam and worked with daily Imroze, Mashriq, Nai Baat and Pakistan among others.
He published four collections of his poetry, namely Doobtay Chand Ka Manzar, Wisaal, Iltafaat and Waraftagi besides editing and compiling many other books.
Renowned poet Prof Manzar Ayubi passed away on Friday night in Karachi at the age of 88.
Ayubi was born in Badayun in India on August 4, 1932. He moved to Pakistan in 1950. In 1959, he completed his MA in Urdu from the University of Karachi and joined the Sindh education department in 1961. He retired as a senior professor in 1994.
Ayubi wasn’t just a professor, he was a great poet, writer and critic as well. He is known for exploring different genres of Urdu poetry. He wrote several books, including Mizaj (1987) and Takallum (1981).
Renowned poet Ali Yasir died in Feb due to cardiac arrest. He left the world of poetry in grief and bereavement at the age of just 44. He was a versatile personality; a critic, translator, radio/TV writer and anchorperson. He used to moderate poetic symposiums and was publication officer of a number of books published by PAL, reported DAWN, 18 Feb 2020.
rizq jaisā hai muqaddar meñ likhā hotā hai
fan kisī shaḳhs kī jāgīr nahīñ ho saktā.
Some of his famous ghazals are:
ahd-e-sad-maslahat-andesh nibhana paDega
zindagi ki kitab dekhta hun
kuchh is tarah wo dua-o-salam kar ke gaya
aab mein zaiqa-e-shir nahin ho sakta
puri hui jo hijr ki miad aawega
Affiliated with media; he hosted radio and TV programmes, and wrote many documentary films scripts and songs for PTV.
Sarwar Javed, a prominent Urdu poet, succumbed to critical illness he was suffering from in June.
He rose to prominence owing to his contributions to Progressive school of thought through his unique ideas and versatile lyrics. He led an academic forum “Azad Khayal Adbi forum” (progressive literary forum) every week in KMC sports complex, Karachi. He also authored two poetry books.
Mah Talat Zaidi
Poet and critic Mah Talat Zaidi belonged to a scholarly literary family. He published two collections of poems, one of lyric poems and three syllables.
His famous books were: Travelogue of England ‘Tab Nazara Nahi’ and other books include ‘Roop Hazar’, ‘Shakh Ghazal’, ‘How I Smile’ and ‘Jahan of Three Messages’.
Born in 1959, Dr Asif Farrukhi left Pakistani literati community on June 1 owing to diabetes. His loss was mourned in both academic and literary circles. Sociologist and academic Nida Kirmani referred to Farrukhi in a tweet as “a cultural and intellectual beacon”.
According to Rekhta, he published six collections of short stories and two collections of literary criticism. He was editor of Urdu language journal Dunyazad. In 1995, Farrukhi received the Prime Minister’s award for literature, and in 2005 the prestigious Tamgha-i-Imtiaz (Medal of Excellence) from the President of Pakistan.
A founder member of the Karachi Literature Festival, Farrukhi was the professor of practice, Arzu Programme for Languages and Literature, and the director of the Arzu Centre for Regional Languages and Humanities at Habib University.
After completing his MBBS at the Dow Medical College, Karachi in 1984, Farrukhi obtained a Masters in Public Health with a concentration in International Health from Harvard University in 1988. He also published translations of prose and poetry from modern and classical writers. His recent publications included a collection of critical essays on Manto and Look At The City From Here — an anthology of writings about Karachi, according to his HU profile (DAWN)
He used to say:
Banayen ge nayi duniya hum apni
Teri duniya men ab rehna nahi hai ‘
(We will make our own world
We do not wish to remain in yours)
Mohinder Pratap Chand
Mohinder Pratap Narang – his birth name – born August 1935 in Karor Lal Esan now in Distt. Layyah of Pakistan died in October 2020. His family migrated to India when he was 12. He was an eminent Urdu writer and poet who promoted Urdu language and literature in India. Chand had been broadcasting his poems and other writings from various stations of the All India Radio and also from Doordarshan – the national TV network. In Kurukshetra University (India), he initiated the Bazm-e-Adab (literary body) and introduced the study of Urdu in the Curriculum of the University where he taught Urdu for 26 years. He authored over a dozen Urdu and Hindi books, both in poetry and prose, including children literatures in Urdu.
He prescribed Urdu Text Book which was taught since 1986, in the school curriculum of the 7th grade students of the Haryana state, India. ‘Harf-e-Raaz’, ‘Harf-e-Aashna’, ‘Aazar-e-Gham-e-Ishq’ and ‘Zakhm Aarzoo-on ke’ are his notable Anthologies of Urdu poems.
For his over all contribution to the fields of Education & Literature, among other honours he was conferred with ‘Naseem-e-Layyah Award’ (2004) by the International Bazm-e-Ilm-o-Fun, Layyah, Pakistan, ‘Khwaja Altaf Hussain Hali Award’ (2006), the Title ‘Mahtab-e-Sukhan’ (2006) and ‘Bharat Excellence Award’ (2009) by the Friendship Forum of India, New Delhi.
Shamsur Rahman Faruqi
Simultaneously a high-quality writer, competent critic, respected poet, and expert of Urdu lexicon, Shamsur Rahman passed away on December 25. Despite recovering from COVID-19, his health continued to deteriorate. He was 85.
According to Raza Naeem: he wrote many short stories in Shabkhoon, which became extremely popular over time. In 2006, he wrote a novel, Kai Chaand The Sar-e-Aasmaan (‘The Mirror of Beauty’). In Tafheem-e-Ghalib (Understanding Ghalib) and Sher-e-Shor Angez (The Tumultuous Verse), Faruqi presented the explanation, interpretation and analysis of the poetry of Mirza Ghalib and Mir Taqi Mir. In addition, his works – Tanqeedi Afkaar (Critical Thoughts), Asbaat-o-Nafi (Confirmation and Denial), Ghalib Parchaar Tehreeren (Writings Publicizing Ghalib), Urdu Ghazal Ke Ahm Mod (The Important Turns of Urdu Ghazal), Urooz, Aahang Aur Bayaan (Prosody, Rhythm and Narration), Dars-e-Balaaghat (The Lesson of Rhetoric), etc. – are milestones of literary criticism.
He was awarded the U.P. Urdu Academy Award 3 times in 1972, 1974 and 1978; the Sahitya Akademi Award in 1986; India’s biggest literary award, the Saraswati Samman in 1996; and the Padma Shri in 2009, among many others.
Ab ke dhuen mein khoon ki surkhi ka rang hai
Yoon in gharon mein pehle bhi lagti rahi hai aag
(This time around the smoke carries the blood’s red colour
These homes before too have been burnt by fire).
*All translations are by Raza Naeem
Former Balochistan governor Syed Fazal Agha, PTI Punjab MPA Shaheen Raza, Sindh Minister for Human Settlements Ghulam Murtaza Baloch, MNA Munir Khan Orakzai and PTI’s Mian Jamshedud Din Kakakhel are among politicians who passed away after contracting the virus.
Veteran politician and one of the founding members of PPP, Dr Mubashir Hasan, passed away at his residence in Lahore at the age of 98.
It is said that the foundation stone of the PPP was laid in Dr Hasan’s house in Gulberg, Lahore. A close aide of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, he was also one of the contributors to PPP’s first ever manifesto.
Along with J.A. Rahim and S. Mohammad Rashid, Hasan was one of the main architects behind organising the PPP across cities, towns and villages of (then) West Pakistan.
Lal Khan was a political activist and Marxist political theorist. Born Tanveer Gondal, he was a physician by profession but ceased practicing medicine as the intolerant injustices in society made him choose a road to socialist revolution. Tanvir was born the only son of a landowner in a small village in a remote part of the Punjab. That rugged land of Baun was an area that provided soldiers for the army from very distant times right up to the present. Unlike the lush green pastures of the central Punjab, this is a harsh and unyielding land, broken by mountains, rocks and stones. Tanvir used to say: “This land does not produce wheat, fruit or vegetables. It produces soldiers.” He became an ideological soldier fighting for the downtrodden.
According to Alan Woods, in the 1970s, Tanvir was a student of medicine in college and a political activist in Pakistan, participating in gun battles with the fanatical Islamist counterrevolutionaries on campus. After the 1977 military coup led by General Zia-ul-Haq he was imprisoned for a year.
He managed to escape to the Netherlands in 1980, where he began to organise a group of left-wing Pakistani exiles around a paper called The Struggle, establishing life long relation with leading British Marxist Ted Grant. By the time he returned to Pakistan, he had earned a profound reputation as a revolutionary figure. No wonder, mourning echoed from across Europe over his demise.
Son of illustrious leader Mir Ghaus Bux Bizenjo, Mir Hasil Khan Bizenjo was a Pakistani politician who served as Minister for Maritime Affairs, in Abbasi cabinet from August 2017 to May 2018. He previously served as Minister for Maritime Affairs in the third Sharif ministry.
He died at the age of 62 due to lung cancer.
He was active in student politics from the platform of the Baloch Students Organisation (BSO). In the 1970s, Baloch leaders came to power and Sardar Attaullah Mengal became chief minister of Balochistan. Later, when his government was dismissed and Mir Ghaus Bux Bizenjo was arrested along with other Baloch leaders in what is known as the Hyderabad conspiracy case, Mir Hasil started his political struggle from the platform of the BSO. He also remained in the Democratic Students Federation.
Hasil was elected to the National Assembly in 1990 and again in 1997. When the Pakistan National Party and the Baloch National Movement were merged in 2013, Mir Hasil was elected secretary general of the new party, NP. Later, he was elected president of the party. He became a senator in 2009, was re-elected in 2013 and till his death remained a member of the upper house of parliament.
Last year, Mir Hasil was opposition’s candidate for the election of Senate chairman once the no-confidence motion was moved. However, and mysteriously, a number of opposition members voted in favour of the incumbent Sadiq Sanjrani, which Hasil reportedly said was engineered to defeat him even when the opposition parties had a majority.
Mir Hasil struggled for a truly federal and democratic Pakistan where all nations could enjoy equal rights and people had freedoms, Dr Malik said. During his whole life, Mir Hasil remained committed to democracy and human rights. He played an important role in the passage of 18th Amendment.
Prime Minister Imran Khan and Chief of the Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa expressed sorrow over Mir Hasil’s death and conveyed his condolences to the bereaved family, reported DAWN Aug 21, 2020.
Comrade Ch Fateh Muhammad
Born in a small village Chaharke near Jullundur in 1925, he migrated to Pakistan in 1947 and settled in a village in Toba Tek Singh, a centre of Kissan movement in Punjab. A veteran peasant and socialist leader and founding president of the Awami Workers Party’s Punjab chapter, he rose to ranks in Communist Party he joined in 1948. Hailed as a working class revolutionary, he dreamed of a social change in Pakistan and struggled for it. throughout his life.
He will be remembered for his firm commitment to the politics of toiling people, particularly Kisan movement, enduring legacy of grassroots struggle against feudalism and capitalism. He envisioned a single Left front for social change. He was jailed twice for his activism.
He devoted himself to organising peasants’ conferences which culminated in the historic Kisan conference on 22nd March 1970 at Toba Tek Singh. Organised and supported by the major progressive and Left figures, including Faiz and attended by over 300,000 people, this conference, played a major role in initiating land reforms and in the future politics of Pakistan.
A recipient of Faiz Ahmed Faiz Award for his lifelong struggle for the rights of peasants, he got his autobiography titled ‘Jo Hum Pey Guzri’ published in 2016.
Trade union leader Yusuf Baloch was the Chairman of the Pakistan Workers Federation, the biggest confederating body of trade unions in the country. He was also a long-time leader of the renowned Railways Workers Union, and a companion of the legendary Mirza Ibrahim, making him a long-time leftist who came of age during the heady revolutionary upheavals of the 1960s and 1970s.
With the fall of the Soviet Union and the decline of the organized labour movement, Yusuf Baloch kept the revolutionary flag flying as a leader of the Labour Party Pakistan (LPP), one of the component parties that came together to form the AWP in 2012.
PPP Sindh chapter’s vice-president Rashid Rabbani, PPP’s stalwart front line soldier against dictatorial regimes in Pakistan, passed away on Oct 15 due to complications caused by the novel coronavirus. Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah’s special assistant, Rabbani remained loyal with the party for some five decades and despite so many hardships, imprisonment and threats, he stood firm with ideology of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. The PPP announced dedicating the Oct 18 rally to late Rabbani and three-day mourning over his demise.
Born in Delhi in 1941, Former Jamaat-e-Islami chief (2009) Syed Munawar Hasan passed away in Karachi in June. Syed Munawar also served as a director of Islamic Research Academy which under his supervision published around 70 books. He began his political career at the National Students Federation and became the president of the federation in 1959, according to Hafeez Tunio, Express Tribune, 6 June 2020.
Hasan joined Jamaat-e-Islami in 1967 and later served as assistant secretary, secretary and deputy chief of the JI’s Karachi chapter. In 1977, Hasan secured a seat of the National Assembly, defeating PPP candidate. In the 2013 general elections, Hasan tendered his resignation after the party’s loss in the polls and took responsibility for the loss, however, the party continued to endorse him and refused to accept his resignation.
In March 2014, he was then replaced by Sirajul Haq ,the incumbent JI chief.
According to Nasir Jamal, his combative style of politics and hardline perception as visible from his pro-Taliban statements and questionable views on Pakistani soldiers’ martyrdom earned criticism from both political and army circles.
Professor Manzoor Ahmad
Manzoor Ahmad died at the age of 94 after prolong illness in Lahore in October. He was born on October 6, 1926, in Baghdad where his father, Khan Sahib Manzoor Wahid, was posted as a police officer.
Journalist and Cambridge Fellow Majid Shaikh recalls that Cyprian, Mughal and Manzoor set up Shah Hussain College on Lawrence Road. Soon their students were recognised amongst the finest progressive teachers and journalists of their times. Professor Azizuddin Ahmed, a teacher at the Punjab University with left-leaning views, remembers the days as a time when “Pakistan’s own McCarthyism was carrying out a witch-hunt to ‘weed out’ leftists” from every walk of the society,” writes Saqlain Imam, The News.
It is worth mentioning that Shah Hussain College was the hub of intellectual, cultural and literary activities. Renowned intellectual Hamza Alavi used to visit the college to give lectures and lead discussions on international affairs. The alumni of Shah Hussain College include prominent bureaucrats, journalists, politicians and professionals. In 1977 after Gen Ziaul Haq staged a coupe d’état, one of his early orders was for shutting down Shah Hussain College.
Moreover, Prof Manzoor cofounded the Professors’ Association at Islamia College, Civil Lines, in the 1960s “for better salaries and rights of the college’s teaching staff.” Some anti-progressive elements would always frame their goals as anti-Islamic.
Prominent religious scholar with moderate views on religion and the International Chancellor of Jamia Binoria, Mufti Naeem passed away aged 62 on June 20 due to cardiac arrest in Karachi. The paternal side of his family was from Surat, India and his grandfather born a Parsi later embraced Islam.
Notably, Mufti Naeem was one of the first Pakistani Muslim scholars to speak in favour of polio vaccinations and population control, according to Tooba Masood.
In addition, he also asked the Ulemas of all Islamic sects to condemn the misuse of the blasphemy law.
He was the brains behind Paigham-e-Pakistan, a fatwa sought by the government to counter terrorism. It was held in Islamabad on February 10, 2016 and one of the guest speakers was the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem Muhammad Ahmed Hussain. Over five thousand Ulema, Mashaikh and scholars attended the Paigham-e-Islam conference, voicing concern over the rise of terrorism. Back in 2007, Mufti Naeem spoke out against suicide bombings as well.
As mentioned in Express Tribune, in Binoria University, one of the initial madrassahs or religious seminaries, which introduced computer science, English, and other modern subjects along with religious education, hundreds of students from 54 different countries are enrolled.
Nadia Ashraf was a doctoral student at Dr. Panjwani Centre for Molecular Medicine and Research at Karachi University, but she was unable to complete her PhD in the last 15 years; ‘The doctor won’t allow me complete my phD…what does professor want from me…”, she would tell her friends, according to Falah Gulzar from Gulf News.
According to Dr Zahid Khan in Daily Times, she was reportedly harassed by her thesis supervisor, according to social media posts raising several speculations and suspicions on suicide vs homicide. She was also suffering from psychological issues, severe depression, and family issues, long time sudden unexplained absence of her father. Her shocking sudden death linked to alleged harrasment raised an uproar online and hashtag #JusticeForrNadia ran viral. The whole academic community in the country was caught in utter disbelief and demanded answers.
Another mysterious case, Maha who was practising at a private hospital in Clifton had allegedly committed suicide by shooting herself at her house in the upmarket DHA neighbourhood on August 18. She had been repeatedly harassed and was poisoned by the suspects, reported The News, 14 Oct 2020.
A week later, two suspects Taabish Qureshi and Saad Siddiqui were booked by the Police for providing firearms.
The case of Dr Maha shrouded in mystery took new turns after the key suspect nominated in the case Junaid Khan who said he loved her accused her father of having differences with her over a property dispute, noted Faraz Khan in The News. Allegedly, she had argument with her father over selling of property, then locked herself in washroom and shot herself. Meanwhile, the father accused him of blackmailing his daughter.
According to the police, suspects Khan, Hasan and Dr Irfan Qureshi had subjected Dr Maha to mental and physical torture, threatened her and lured her into using drugs, which later led to her death. The prime suspects were granted pre-arrest bails by Sindh High Court in October. (Earlier on September 21, Khan and Hasan had escaped from the city courts after their application for interim bail was rejected. The said they wanted to face trial court hearings but feared arresting by the Police)
On the other hand, her family claimed that Dr Maha had told them that she was being threatened with dire consequences and was being humiliated. She had told them that she would end her life.
Hayat Baloch is one of the several cases of extra judicial killings. An educated young Baloch man of Turbat, Balochistan, he went to his hometown because of the COVID-19 and was planning once the pandemic ends to sit in for CSS exams. A student of Master’s from Karachi University, he was caught amid crossfire after an IED explosion targetting the FC in Tubat.
After online uproar, the FC officials involved in the murder were arrested and a case was registered. IGFC South visited the house of the family and assured justice. Human Rights Minister Shireen Mazari also raised the issue on the floors of National Assembly, reported Express News.
Various human rights agencies particularly Baloch Human Rights Council (BHRC) said it was outraged by the cold-blooded murder of Hayat Baloch at the hands of the Pakistani military. After the insurgents could not be located, FC forces dragged Hayat out of a farm field where he was working with his father, blindfolded him and shot him multiple times. The killing sparked unprecedented protests with people gathering in thousands across Balochistan and other parts of Pakistan and abroad.
Pakistan hockey suffered a huge loss with the passing away of former national captain and hockey legend Abdul Rasheed Junior. He passed away in Islamabad after a brief illness at the age of 79 on November 4.
The former Olympian — regarded as one of the finest centre-forwards the country ever produced — was a gifted spearhead who held many records in the days when Pakistan were a real force in hockey at the international level. Rasheed represented Pakistan at three Olympic Games. He was part of 1968 gold medal-winning squad as well as a member of the 1972 silver medal-winning team and the 1976 bronze medal winning side.
Veteran Karachi based journalist, Qaiser Mahmood passed away on September 11 due to COVID-19 complications at the age of 69. He was diagnosed with lung cancer and despite recovering from the virus, his health continued to deteriorate. He was associated with various national and international news agencies, where he earned both name and fame, writes Waqar Bhatti. His journalism career spanned over four decades starting from Urdu-language daily Jasarat in late 1970s. Later, he joined The News International Karachi as its first Chief Reporter and also served as acting City Editor for the English-language daily briefly. Mahmood also headed the Jang Group’s Infoline. He was a passionate journalist and continued to work for the Voice of America in Pakistan and the German news agency DPA.
Shaheena was an accomplished journalist based in Balochistan. She was shot dead inside her home on September 5, 2020 in Turbat in apparently so-called ‘honour killing’ according to DAWN, at the hands of her huzband.
Shaheena was a host on PTV and the editor of a local magazine, Dazgohar. She was outspoken for issues facing women, in her profession and community. Her efforts aimed at empowering women.
Her murder is a grim reminder that women journalists face innumerable barriers and threats on the basis of their gender. Her murder was linked with brutal murder of Urooj Iqbal in November 2019 who was also shot by her husband outside her workplace for allegedly not agreeing to leave her job.
Khurram Akbar khan died on September 8 after falling from his apartment flat where he went to close the wall of the water tank. He was Executive producer of Abbtakk News.
Former DAWN editor and president Karachi Press Club, Saleem Asmi passed away on October 31 after suffering from several ailments. He was born on November 29, 1934, at Jhansi but spent his formative years in Delhi. Asmi was the first Dawn editor from the news side, having served as a news editor for the paper and Khaleej Times. He was also responsible for launching Dawn’s Islamabad edition. During his time at Dawn, he paid special attention to covering art. Of the two magazines he left behind, The Gallery, as the name suggests, concerned art; the other was Books and Authors.
According to DAWN, during his stint as editor, he decided to publish Osama bin Laden’s interview by Hamid Mir, even though he was a non-staffer, because the interview contained hard news about nuclear technology.
While still at college, Saleem Asmi developed a passion for students’ politics. He was a close confidant of Dr Mohammad Sarwar, the man who played pioneering role in organising the students’ movement in the early 1950s which later gave birth to leftist students’ organisations. It was at the residence of Saleem Asmi in Pir Ilahi Bux Colony that the young activists had regular secret meetings to keep their movement alive. He remained a rebel and a committed Marxist ever ready to fight for what he thought was a right cause, and was imprisoned owing to his outspoken attitude towards Zia regime.
Noted Delhi-based writer and activist Sadia Dehlvi passed away after a prolonged battle with cancer on August 6 at the age of 63. She edited ‘Bano’, an Urdu women’s journal and wrote several books. A well-known food connoisseur, she wrote a book on Delhi’s culinary history in 2017, titled ‘Jasmine & Jinns: Memories and Recipes of My Delhi’. A woman of many talents, Sadia also produced and scripted documentaries and television programmes, including “Amma and Family” (1995), starring Zohra Sehgal, a veteran stage actor. Her first book on Sufism, Sufism: The heart of Islam, was published in 2009 by HarperCollins India, which brought her to the limelight. She also wrote columns for Dawn during the 1980s and the`90s.
Artists, movie and TV shows stars and actors won’t be spared by the merciless year of 2020.
The Scottish actor best known for his portrayal of James Bond, being the first to bring the role to the big screen and appearing in seven of the spy thrillers, died peacefully in his sleep in the Bahamas.
His acting career spanned seven decades and he won an Oscar in 1988 for his role in The Untouchables. Sean’s other films included: The Hunt for Red October, Highlander, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade and The Rock. It was Sean Connery who could render Indiana Jones immediately into boyish regret or relief through a stern fatherly chiding or rejoiceful hug. By blending ruthlessness with sardonic wit “measured in megawatts” as Daniel Craig put, he revolutionised the silver screen with his gritty portrayal of the charming and charismatic secret agent, 007.
A global legend yet a staunch patriot: “Scotland Forever’ wasn’t just tattooed on his forearm but was imprinted on his soul,” said former first Minister Alex Salmond.
List of Bond movies worth watching:
Dr No (1962)
From Russia with Love (1963)
You Only Live Twice (1967)
Diamonds are Forever (1971)
Never Say Never Again (1983)
Actor Irrfan’s death at the age of 53 broke hearts of his millions of fans across the globe. The actor had taken part in a virtual promotion of his film Angrezi Medium just a month and half before his demise. Irrfan, who was undergoing treatment for neuroendocrine tumour for two years, had put a philosophical face on the ordeal. His work lives on.
Even before people could come to terms with Irrfan’s death, veteran actor Rishi Kapoor (67) died of leukaemia the very next day. In 2019, the actor was declared as cancer-free and had returned to India in September 2019 after a year-long treatment in New York. In an emotional message, the actor’s family said he would like to be remembered ‘with a smile and not with tears’. They said the actor passed away peacefully and kept the hospital staff entertained till the end.
The suicide of Sushant Singh at the age of 34 baffled and shocked millions around the world. His fans, friends and family are yet to make peace with his unexpected demise which remains a debated topic and conspiracy theories abound. The actor was found dead at his residence and his death was ruled as suicide after preliminary investigations by the Mumbai Police. While his family accused his actor girlfriend Rhea Chakraborty of abetting his suicide, a murder angle was also probed whereas investigations into a drug angle are still on. Sushant starred in a number of commercially successful Bollywood films such as M.S. Dhoni: The Untold Story (2016), Kedarnath (2018) and Chhichhore (2019). Due to his contribution to the film industry, he received a Screen Award and was nominated for the Filmfare Awards twice.
His debut show was the romantic drama Kis Desh Mein Hai Meraa Dil (2008), followed by the lead role in the soap opera Pavitra Rishta (2009–2011). He made his Bollywood debut in the film adaptation Kai Po Che! (2013).
A legend known for his role as a game show host of Neelam Ghar, which lasted for over 35 years, later renamed the Tariq Aziz Show in 1997 and Bazme Tariq Aziz. He started his career at Radio Pakistan, and then became the first male announcer on Pakistan Television (PTV). In an era of gimmick and exuberance, Aziz set a high benchmark with his sophisticated demeanour.
Aziz was also a politician and became a member of the National Assembly of Pakistan between 1997 and 1999. The late actor also received a Pride of Performance Award by the President of Pakistan in 1992 for his services to the nation.
In his last and cryptic tweet, Aziz wrote, “Lagta hai waqt tham gaya hai. Rawan dawan zindagi ruk gae hai. Kayi dinon se bistar per laitay laitay soch raha hun ke azaadana harkat bhi Maalik ki kitni bari naimat thi. (It seems as if time has paused and life has stopped. I’ve been lying in this bed for so many days and thinking what a blessing the freedom of movement itself was).”
Mention films like Sassi (1954), Gumnam (1954), Dulla Bhatti (1956), Waadah (1957), Devar Bhabhi (1967) and, in particular, Ek Gunah Aur Sahi (1975), to elderly folks in Pakistan and see how they respond in admiration and nostalgia. Sabiha Khanum, acknowledged as the ‘First Lady of Pakistani Cimena’ and arguably the greatest actress of the Pakistani screen, a leading actress of merit, gave a new impetus and vitality to Pakistani film industry.
The Sahiba Khanum-Santosh Kumar on-screen chemistry translated well in their real lives. The pair was talked of in the same manner as Raj Kapoor and Nargis in India. In spite of Santosh being a married man with children, Sahiba fell deeply in love with him even defying his father’s initial opposition to their marriage; a marriage well spoken of in India and Pakistan.
Born Mukhtar Begum in a village near Gujrat in Punjab in 1935, Sabiha was brought up by her grandparents. She learned to milk cows, get water from the well, make rotis and churn butter. A classical village girl she was who subsequently proved to be a top star right through to the mid-60s after her revered debut through radio Pakistan.
Apart from her award in Tashkent and the various (Pakistani style filmfare) Nigar Awards, she was honoured with the Pride of Performance Award, Tamgha-e-Imtiaz for her lifelong services.
Eminent Pakistani ghazal singer Ejaz Qaiser passed away in Faisalabad on Tuesday at the age of 68. He was suffering from multiple diseases. He sang many ghazals in the 1970s and the 1980s on the Radio Pakistan that earned him admiration and fame. He was held as an esteemed “Ustad” (mentor) and looked upon as a figure of inspiration. His famous ghazals included: Mudetain Ho Gaeen Hain Chup Rehte (I have been silent for ages), Tamanaon Mein Uljhaya Gaya Hoon (I have been entangled in wishes), Ankh Barsi Hay Teray Naam Peh Sawan Ki Tarah (tears drop in your name like monsoon rain).
Athar Shah Jaidi
Born July 26, 1943, in Rampur, India, Jaidi is a renowned comedian, writer and a poet. ‘Jaidi ke sang’ was his hit serial on the radio. He continued to play the role of ‘Jaidi’ in many other subsequent television plays. In 1975, he moved to Karachi to write a PTV serial. Khan started his career as a writer some six decades back from Radio Pakistan and wrote around 700 plays for 20 years. Besides a weekly column that he contributed to an Urdu newspaper, his short stories and serious poetry have appeared in almost all literary magazines and won him appreciation both from critics and readers. In 2001, he was awarded the Pride of Performance by the Government of Pakistan. The Pakistan Television (PTV) also awarded him a gold medal on its silver jubilee celebration.
Athar Shah Khan’s legendary role as ‘Jaidi’ in ‘Intizar Farmaiye’ on PTV made him a household name in the country.
Amanullah was born in Gujranwala in 1950. He came to Lahore at an early age where he used to sell toffees in buses and at Data Darbar to make ends meet. A versatile stage, TV and film actor, Amanullah had entertained at least three generations with his particular style of spontaneous comedy. His jokes would incorporate everyday common happenings and environment. One of the best observational comedians in Indian subcontinent, he appeared in Khabarzar show at Aap News.
His performances in various stage dramas and films had accumulated audience appreciation for his clamorous tone. Fond of singing, his earliest performances were at the Data Darbar. His first stage performance was “One Man Comedy Show” at a local theatre in Lahore in which he performed mimicry of famous celebrities.
58-year-old Farrukh Shah was a stage actor and standup comedian. He had become immensely popular in recent times with his resemblance with and mimicry of the Prime Minister Imran Khan, which was even admired by die hard PTI supporters. Impersonating Imran Khan earned him immense fame. Regrettably, he ran financial troubles primarily due to COVID led lockdown when theatres were closed. He took part in protests demanding re-opening of theatres and his bereaved family also made requests to the incumbent PM and the CM for financial help. He breathed his last on 28th July due to cardiac arrest.
Many of Pakistani TV’s great names came from radio background, Tariq was one of those. Who doesn’t remember ‘Murad’ from premier state-run television’s popular drama series ‘Guest House’! A lot of memories are attached with this early 1990s sitcom. Tariq Malik was also well known as Bawa Ji from Radio Pakistan’s programme ‘Jamhoor Ki Awaz’. Malik worked for TV, Radio and stage. Always an actor, Malik would be acting even when he went to the barber’s. He would pose in front of the mirror and rehearse his lines. According to family sources of Tariq Malik, the actor was tested positive for novel coronavirus and died of cardiac arrest subsequently.