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Monday, April 12, 2010

I Mahajirzadeh: Mushtaque Ahmed Yusufi - An Introduction

We are the music makers, And we are the makers of dreams ...We are the movers and shakers Of the world for ever it seems
Mushtaque Ahmed Yusufi quoting Arthur O'Shaugnessy's soulful verse well explains the role of an artist in society
He has written four books:
Chiragh Talay (1961)
Khakam e b'dhan (1969)
Zarguzasht (1976)
and Aab e Gum(1990).

The first two books won the Adamjee Prize, while the last one got the Hijra Award as well as Pakistan Academy of Letters' Award.

Here are his words on humor culled from Pehla Patthar/Chiragh Talay and Dast-e-Zulaikha/Khakim Badhan. Translation and re-arrangement is entirely mine and is not literal.

I know this much that I am blessed. I can laugh at myself and at my miseries and afflictions whenever I want to. And if I can share this trait with you I will consider myself a lucky person. I have never claimed that laughter can turn gray hair into black. But I also know this that with laughter the gray hair do not appear as bad.

Freedom of Laughter is, in my opinion a greater freedom than Freedom of Speech. It is my firm belief that if a nation can laugh freely (at itself) it can never be enslaved.

I am aware that this 'light' of humor can neither lit a fire nor cremate a body.

Humor is the fire that is felt unseen.

Some consider humor should be used as a Reform Tool. If humor could do it, why would we need explosives?

Sense of humor is the real sixth sense.

Those who are blessed with it can easily overcome any obstacle.

In religion, alcohol and humor everything is easily soluble; all the more in Urdu literature.

When the intensity of pain that results in 'satire' reaches a crescendo, it spreads throughout the body, invigorating every blood cells and every vein begins to cascade with 'humor'. This process is the feverish outcome of the fierce fire raging in the blood transforming it into humor. Wood burns into coal; coal burns into ashes. But if the temperature of the inherent fire in the coal is greater than the temperature of the outer fire than the coal turns into a diamond.

But humor has its own sets of priorities and unique demands. It should be free of angst, bitterness and disillusionment. Or else the boomerang (of humor) will turn around and claim the humorist as its firsts victim.

For a humorist it is forbidden to advise, warn or quarrel. He builds a Wall of Laughter between himself and the bitter facts of life around him.

[and now some working definitions culled from the word bible]


---A literary work in which human vice or folly is attacked through irony, derision, or wit.
---A composition, generally poetical, holding up vice or folly to reprobation; a keen or severe exposure of what in public or private morals deserves rebuke;
---Keenness and severity of remark; caustic exposure to reprobation; trenchant wit; sarcasm.
---Witty language used to convey insults or scorn.


---That quality of the imagination which gives to ideas an incongruous or fantastic turn, and tends to excite laughter or mirth by ludicrous images or representations; a playful fancy;.
---a message whose ingenuity or verbal skill or incongruity has the power to evoke laughter
---the trait of appreciating (and being able to express) the humorous
---less caustic and devoid of sarcasm
---driving the same point home evoking laughter rather than uneasy pain or sarcasm.

After this brief introduction to Mushtaque Ahmed Yusufi I will be serializing Mahajirzadeh : my tribute in English to his unique humour and writing style. The we used is a first person singular much like the royal we. Urdu writers from a certain region frequently used hum (we) instead of maiN (me or I.)

next:II Mahajirzadeh: BaRi and Manjhli on Monday Apr 19


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