↑ Grab this Headline Animator

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Harish Puri: PTV on the border

I did not know Khalid Hasan. Yet, the sense of loss at his passing away is so personal that it defies logic. He was, to my mind, the perfect writer, and the perfect gentleman. Write to him, and you can be sure his response will be lightning quick, precise and to the point. I once took up issue with him on the use of the phrase `lady wife' which I have always found obnoxious – I mentioned that it was widely used (much to my chagrin) in the Indian army, and that I was surprised to find it in one of his articles. He promptly replied that the tautology implied in the phrase was indeed uncalled for, and although not exactly bad syntax, it was widely used all over the subcontinent.

His turn of phrase was near perfect, and he reminded me of my old English teacher at school (Mr Khanolkar, God rest his soul). His translation of Urdu poetry into English (a passion I happen to share) was commendable, but what stood him apart was his totally unbiased and principled stand on all issues – even if it meant speaking as a minority voice. His take on the journalist who hurled a shoe at President Bush exemplified this trait, and is enough to make him pure gold as far as I am concerned.

I read a lot of Pakistani writers – Ayaz Amir (erudite, but inconsistent), Ejaz Haider (analytical and sharp), Irfan Husain (balanced, very readable), Ardeshir Cowasjee (revered), Ikram Sehgal (sound military mind), Masood Hasan (pure joy), Kamran Shafi (like me, an army man) and Shireen Mazari (ouch!) to name a few. But having written to all of them at some time or another, KH is the only person who always replied! And mind you, as all these venerable gentlemen will agree, KH towered over all of them.


Post a Comment

<< Home