Intizar Hussain

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Intizar Hussain
Native name
انتظار حسین
Born 21 December 1925
Dibai, Bulandshahr district, British India, now India
Died 2 February 2016 (aged 92)
Lahore, Punjab, Pakistan
Occupation Writer, Poet
Language Urdu
Nationality Pakistani
Alma mater Meerut College
Notable awards Sitara-i-Imtiaz Award (Star of Excellence)

Intizar Hussain (Urdu: انتظار حسین‎; December 21, 1925 – February 2, 2016) was a Pakistani writer of Urdu novels, short stories, poetry and nonfiction. He is widely recognised as a leading literary figure of Pakistan.[1][2][3]

Personal life

Intizar Hussain was born in Dibai, Bulandshahr, British India in 1925, and migrated to Pakistan in 1947. His exact date of birth is not known, sources indicate that he was born on 21 December 1922, 1923 or 1925. After passing the Intermediate Examination (high school equivalent in the USA) in 1942, he gained a bachelor's degree and a master's degree in Urdu literature at Meerut College in 1944 and 1946 respectively.[1] Hussain's wife Aliya Begum died in 2004. They had no children.

Literary work

He wrote short stories, novels and poetry in Urdu, and also literary columns for Dawn newspaper and Daily Express newspaper.[1][2] The Seventh Door, Leaves and Basti are among his books that have been translated into English. Among the five novels he wrote - Chaand Gahan (1952) چاند گہن, Din Aur Daastaan (1959) دن اور داستان, Basti (1980) بستّی, Tazkira (1987) تذکرہ, Aage Samandar Hai (1995) آگے سمنّدر ہے- Basti بستی received global praise.[4] His other writings include Hindustan Se Aakhri Khatھندوستان سے آخری خط, Aagay Sumandar Haiآگے سمنّدر ہے, Shehr-e-Afsosشہر افسوس, Jataka Talesجھٹاکا ٹیلز, Janam Kahanianجنم کہانیاں and Wo Jo Kho Gayeوہ جو کھو گئے. Aagay Sumandar Hai آگے سمنّدر ہے (Sea is facing you in the front) contrasts the spiraling urban violence of contemporary Karachi with a vision of the lost Islamic realm of al-Andalus in modern Spain.[5][2][6] His novel Basti بستّی is based on Pakistani history.[1]


On February 2, 2016 he died at National Hospital, Defence Housing Authority at Lahore on 2:45 p.m, after contracting pneumonia.[5][7] The Indian Express termed him the "best-known Pakistani writer in the world" after Manto.[8]


Hussain believed that two forces had risen in contemporary Pakistan: women and the mullahs. He also acknowledged his study and the influence of Buddhist texts and the Mahabharata.[9]


In 2016, Pakistan Academy of Letters (PAL) announced the ‘Intizar Hussain Award’ which would be given to a literary figure every year.[10]

Accolades and international recognition

In 2007, Hussain received the Pakistani civil award Sitara-i-Imtiaz (Star of Excellence) by the President of Pakistan. In 2013, he was shortlisted for the Man Booker International Prize after Frances W. Pritchett translated his Urdu novel Basti into English.[11] He received a lifetime achievement award at the Lahore Literary Festival. Newsweek Pakistan called him "Pakistan’s most accomplished living author" in 2014.[3] In September of the same year, Hussain was made an Officer of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French government.[12]


• A Chronicle of the Peacocks: Stories of Partition, Exile and Lost Memories[13]
• The Death of Sheherzad[14]
• Basti (1979)[15] بستّی
• Chiraghon Ka Dhuvan (memoir) (1999) چراغوں کا دُھواں
• Chaand Gahan (2002) چاند گہن [16]
• Ajmal-I Azam (2003) اجملِ اعظم [17]
• Surakh Tamgha (2007)سُرخ تمغہ [18]
• Qissa Kahanian (2011) قِصّہ کہانیاں [19]
• Justujoo Kya Hai (autobiography) (2012) جُستجو کیا ھے
• Apni Danist Mein (2014) اپنی دانِست میں [20]


  1. ^ a b c d "Legendary writer Intizar Hussain passes away". Dawn newspaper. Retrieved 3 February 2016.
  2. ^ a b c "Intizar Hussain, leading Urdu writer, dies aged 92". The Guardian. Retrieved 3 February 2016.
  3. ^ a b Ahmed, Khaled (6 October 2014). "Silent Type". Newsweek Pakistan. Retrieved 3 February 2016.
  4. ^ Rumi, Raza (February 4, 2016). "In memoriam: Writers like Intizar Husain never die, they live on in their words and ideas". Dawn newspaper. Retrieved 1 February 2017.
  5. ^ a b, Published 2 Feb 2016, Retrieved 22 Feb 2016
  6. ^ Raj, Ali (2 February 2016). "Intizar Hussain – the seller of dreams". The Daily Tribune. Retrieved 3 February 2016.
  7. ^ "Intizar Hussain: Mourning an Urdu literary icon". BBC News. Retrieved 3 February 2016.
  8. ^ Ahmed, Khaled (31 October 2014). "An escape from ideology". The Indian Express. Retrieved 3 February 2016.
  9. ^ Imtiaz, Huma (13 February 2011). "FESTIVAL: The best of Urdu & other Pakistani languages". Dawn. Retrieved 3 February 2016.
  10. ^ "'Intizar Hussain Award' announced". Dawn newspaper. February 10, 2016. Retrieved 1 February 2017.
  11. ^ "Pakistani novelist among finalists for Man Booker International Prize". Express Tribune. January 24, 2013. Retrieved 1 February 2017.
  12. ^ "Hommage de Fleur Pellerin, ministre de la Culture et de la Communication, à Intizar Hussain" (in French). Ministry of Culture. Retrieved 3 February 2016.
  13. ^ A Chronicle of the Peacocks: Stories of Partition, Exile and Lost Memories. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0195671742. Retrieved 1 February 2017.
  14. ^ The Death of Sheherzad. HarperCollins India. ISBN 978-9351362876. Retrieved 1 February 2017.
  15. ^ Basti. The New York Review of Books. ISBN 9781590175828. Retrieved 1 February 2017.
  16. ^ Hussain, Intizar. Chaand Gahan. Sang-e-meel. ISBN 978-9693506174. Retrieved 1 February 2017.
  17. ^ Hussain, Intizar. Ajmal-I Azam. Sang-e-meel. ISBN 978-9693509915. Retrieved 1 February 2017.
  18. ^ Hussain, Intizar. Surakh Tamgha. ISBN 978-9694265308. Retrieved 1 February 2017.
  19. ^ Hussain, Intizar. Qissa Kahanian. ISBN 978-9695811788. Retrieved 1 February 2017.
  20. ^ Hussain, Intizar. Apni Danist Mein. Sanjh Publications. ISBN 9789693527339. Retrieved 1 February 2017.

External links

  • Column archive
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