Khalid Hussain, A wandering Yogi

Khalid Hussain

          The acclaimed script writer , popular poet and nice person of  Pakistan Television Industry Khalil ur Rehman Qamar possesses the intellectual awareness and creative individuality.He is known for his writing about social issues particularly women problems where he uses  his pen without fear. When ever I find him on the stage or  speaking during an interview I get engrossed , in particular , when he speaks bluntly about magnificence of women and their psychological qualities. He says, when I present in TV dramas the love and stature of women the lingo used is what I have learned from the elderly, weavers, cobblers, carpenters and shopkeepers living in the vicinity. While listening to him I feel that the kind hearted person sitting across the border is not unknown to me as he resembles our own Khalid Hussain sitting on this side of the fence whose creative language, captivating narrative, sincere smile, resembles exactly that of Qamar sahib. Both literary doyens look similar to me and I feel proud that if beyond the line Qamar the   sensitive dramatist and the  poet  of perfection exists we also have Khalid Hussain a  story writer of high intellect whose craftsmanship and magic of the pen is praise worthy.

          Punjabi literature has many such authors on the horizon who happen to be like torch bearers of their cosmos but Khalid is one such writer who neither yearned for the sky nor  tried to achieve one.In order to lighten up the Punjabi literary cosmos  he rose from a far flung hilly area in J&K  and without any hesitation spread over the literary horizon. His creative mind did not accept the barriers of boundaries ,instead tried to light up and glitter  the gray areas of social life .He did not restrict himself to J&K but spread his wings over the world of Punjabi literature. World over ,the lovers of Punjabi language his fans and readers enjoy his writings written in original  Punjabi language in a peculiar style encompassing his life long experiences .  

          As per his physique he looks like a film actor and his dress sense ,sophistication , broader looks and good behaviour cultivates happiness among his friends and contemporaries. I used to call him Shashi Kapoor at some point of time.To write about such a personality, according to Dr. Manmohan the famous Punjabi critic and Sahatya Academy awardee, is a daunting task . I have never thought of writing about Khalid Hussain because I can write a short story, a novel, and at times indulge in poetry but to write about someone’s life is a new experiment for me. To pass through this task when I started reading Khalid’s creative writings I felt the rhythm in his syntax and his craftsmanship. Then his autobiography ‘Maati  Kudam Karaindi Yaar’  became my documents to peep through his life and understand his person making the writing easy.

          I don’t want to describe Khalid Hussain as a writer or short story writer only as he happens to be a multi faceted person. As I gazed at him from different angles I found him a surprising miracle. One sentence describes him aptly ‘he remains a friend of friends’. This sentence is not spoken through hat but a hard reality as not only his friends believe him as a friend but people having malice accept that he does not leave anybody’s hand if found in distress. He not only guides the writers of his children’s age but acts as true camaraderie of his contemporaries and friends. He keeps the cards close to his chest about certain statements during bad times of the people known to him..Actually he is a deep delver.

          Acclaimed Hindi writer Vaishno Prabhakar was writing” Awara Maseeha” biography of famed novelist Sharat Chander Chatterjee ,his close friend Hari Das Chatopadhay told Vaishno Jee some important and sensitive facts about the life of  Sharat .He said, “ A writer is not duty bound to share all about his life but details about his writings are to be communicated to the readers as this is the real recognition of the writer. The private and literary life of a writer can never be the same. When the writer leaves this world his fans and new readers  will try to understand him through his writings only and not by scavenging his private life. “

             But this remains a fact that when Khalid’s creative pieces are discussed saintly vibes of his  personal life circulate in the literary circles as to become a living legend is not everybody’s luck. Whether Khalid is present or absent in any literary meeting references devoid of  him  makes the function dull and tasteless. I don’t want to mention Khalid’s literary history as many write ups have been penned down about it and numberless critical/ analytical essays have been jotted down .As such, I will confine my write up to the life as I have observed ,understood and known about him. In fact when I observe him fully I find Khalid possessing social acumen who is prompted by ups and downs, injustice, inequality, legitimate and illegitimate to speak out. He is not an extremist but raises his voice against the religious fanaticism and terrorism when he feels his voice will have some effect. He represents a bridge between shared civilization and culture.

          Secondly, his alert character about political issues comes to fore. The political threads connected to Kashmir, on local or international level, are under his observation. This way he represents a complete history. The emotions about his soil run in his heart and this love for the land forces him to raise his voice openly against the political thugs and manipulators. He , not only, is the witness to the political developments but has dissected the political pawns on the chessboard attached to the political manipulators.

          Thirdly he is an honest family man . He may be termed as loving friend for his acquaintances but remains a ‘wandering Yogi’ for the family who does not stop at home but is always on the move. I feel astonished on his behaviour in his literary functions and other outings where he presents himself a happy go lucky man always filled with humour but his homely chores present  him a  disciplined and  civilized person. On a visit to his home one  finds him a sophisticated person who greets his guests with respect and warmth. The outside chores  are left out of the premises. He spends his homely life like an embodiment of affectionate  father, egoistic husband and a  loving grandpa. He has faced many hardships as per his homely life is concerned .Orphan in childhood, migration, and some of the very fierce problems during his parentage  encircled him but he did not waver. He remained rock solid and energetic. He did not allow the hardships stick to his facade but remained like the protagonist of the  Punjabi story Dharti Haitla Ballad by acclaimed Punjabi story writer Kulwant Singh Virk and instead shouldered the responsibility of others’ problems and did not allow the shakeup of family life. That is how he shouldered the responsibilities of his grand children till the end.

          Fourthly ,when I watch Khalid, I find a seven color bag in motion from one end to other  and all colours of the universe pop up in Khalid’s body and a feeling stirs up as if the sparkles from the rising sun cross through the darkness splashing the rainbow  colours in the skies. You call his name in front of anyone he/she will narrate a story about khalid or a treasure of memories will be unveiled one by one. Khalid himself stores a huge treasure of stories . In every meeting which he attends, his laughter, stories, and humour surfaces. He is a live vocabulary and he does not seek stories but they approach him .He does not need to weave a story but it pinches him , tickles his bones,awakens him, saying please wake up as the time has come to paraphrase  me , adore me with your expertise so I can live longer. It is Khalid Hussain the wordsmith’s technique that feminine characters in Ishtiharoon Wali Haveli, Kanwar Gandal, Halala, Shadaan Bili,  Baaji Bilqees,  and the male characters of Ishq Malangi, Baiday ki Lanka , and Lakeer turned into infallible for good.

Despite so much of fame, Khalid remains a common man.Having achieved much more name in literature he holds a  malleable approach reflecting humility .None of the friends hesitates to share his personal secrets as he terms it  wickedness if anybody’s limitations are publicized.

To peep through khalid’s life it’s important to flip through the pages of his autobiography tilted Maati Kudam Karaindi Yaar ( in Urdu Main Zinda Aadmi hoon). After reading the autobiography one wonders as to why Khalid wants his friends to remember same way as he describes himself. Without delving deeper into his friends why should he expect that others think about him as his choice goes. This was just a passing reference. The fact is that khalid did not fear taking chances in life, be it personal events or the literary plunges. In fact he traversed the hardships in life with confidence . He got into government job as a clerk. But with the grace of Almighty retired on top level.And the important thing is that the power did not go to his head.Being a Deputy Commissioner and major Head Of Department , he would listen to the literary pieces sitting on dust  with humility, encouraging them if it influenced his taste. When he himself wrote a story he seemed brimming with enthusiasm to narrate before friends., like fresh writers who are eager to narrate and this made Khalid popular among his friends.

The life of writers and artists is usually different than common people.A true writer possesses a sensitive heart.He perceives the picture of life through various angles.Khalid also possesses a sensitive creative outlook.The failures and problems of childhood made him a seeker at the mausoleum of words where the love received from various quarters evoked in  him  higher quality of acceptance. This enabled him to lend support to all men or women who came in his circle of friendship and not allow them to crumble. He did not believe in breaking hearts but win it. That is why, despite crossing spots of success, he meets his friends with love .He does not forget that they were his support during  difficult times and struggle and they watched him searching gold in soil .

One thing that provides respect to khalid’s character is his own respect for the fairer sex. As far as I know Khalid and have knowledge about him , in private meetings he does not criticize women in respect of their personal life and does not spread calumny about their life matters.In case of friendship with females he possesses element of dignity. Such a relation is acceptable as this  increases  self respect.and has fragrance of close relatives. In many literary meetings concoctions take place to present oneself in very bad light. That is the reason that women folk don’t hesitate to accept him as a friend even if some of his female characters in few of his stories break the rules and cross the limits of “decency”.

Khalid’s life story has remained running and kicking like his characters. His stories like his own life  don’t exhibit spanner. Living a tasteless life in childhood this migratory boy tried to earn a name in youth he pushed the intrinsic restlessness through his creative characters.He lighted up the dark corners of his life with the language narration and raised the flag of Punjabi literature on the world scenario.

In the end I will refer again his autobiography. To write one’s autobiography is not everybody’s cup of tea as one can’t be so truthful and daring that one will jot down the details of events in the same form as thy occurred. But when people like Khalid write the truthfulness is evident. The writer’s harsh statements  can go through the analysis .The human can’t go through to be called an angel or Satan or good or bad only. It is not mandatory to write about some important events but requires the in depth analysis and the background and then assess.Khalid’s stories and his literary treasure of course not the personal anecdotes.This forced him to write the autobiography. As Anwar Jalal Puri writes;

Mera har sher hai haqeeqat ki zinda tasveer

Apnay ashaar main qissa nahin likha main nay

(My every stanza is a picture of truth

In my poetry I don’t write stories)

Khalid’s creative characters are like fragrance from flower petals adored through linguistic beautiful lyrical narration.I pray for this class writer that Almighty blesses him with good health and long life. Ameen !

(The translator Shafi Ahmad is general secretary Fiction Writers’ Guild , Srinagar and can be e-mailed at [email protected]).     

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