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Iqbal Masood: Poet, Critic, Author and Untiring Man of Urdu in Bhopal

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Iqbal Masood  Bhopal  Urdu  Critic  Author  Writer




Shams Ur Rehman Alavi

BHOPAL: A story-teller, a critic and a poet, that's just a brief description of litterateur Iqbal Masood.

The Urdu author who has several important books to his credit is much more than a writer.

In fact, he is a man who is at the centre of literary activities in Bhopal, especially, when it comes to Urdu literature.

When he is not writing a short-story, translating an important text or penning article for a literary magazine, Masood may be at a 'nashist', a seminar or conducting a poetic meet. It's indeed remarkable to see his constant endeauvous and indefatigable energy.

Step into Aiwan-e-Mulla Ramoozi and you may find him planning an event or you could come across him in a library where he is poring over old texts. In a way, he symbolizes the Untiring Man of Urdu in Bhopal. In the last four decades, Bhopal has changed but what remains exactly same in Shahr-e-Ghazal is Iqbal Masood's enthusiasm and his literary journey.

Even more surprising is his ability to exactly recall his works, the stories, and reciting extempore at events without looking at paper. Once, in an event where literature buffs were present, prominent writers came and read out their works. When his turn came, without taking out a diary or a piece of paper, he narrated the long 'afsana', and the audience was left awe-struck.

Most of us had no idea till then, about this rare talent of him. Though he is seen more as a prose writer, his poetry is no less enchanting.

Sample a few couplets:

sama'ate.n thii.n jahaa.n sabne rahan rakhi hui
ham aise shahar mein de kar azaan kyaa karte

surang khod ke aaya tha abki baar adoo
to burjiyon par khade paasbaan kyaa karte


duniya mein rah ke zaat se duniya nikaal doo.n
socha hai ye bhi aakhri kaanta nikaal doo.n

aasaan ho sabke waste pahchaan-na mujhe
chehre pe hai jo doosra chehra nikaal doo.n

milna milaana to usse chalta rahe
bas darmiyaan se koi waada nikaal doon

Iqbal Masood had started his literary journey with short stories. The first 'afsana' was published in Zanjeer monthly in 1963. The literary journey continued and over the years, he established his identity as an author--short story writer, poet, critic. He has been associated with Saifia College and JNU in the past.

Also, he worked from joint secretary of the MP Urdu Academy. When I was a young boy, I read his stories in literary magazines. His 'afsanas' appeared in prominent journals and also his byline was visible in newspapers in those days. Aftab-e-Jadid ceased publication but in later years he would write long articles and editorials in Sada-e-Urdu and other journals.

Other than, Aitbaar-e-Harf, the collection of his major articles, his work on Gaudaan and Fasana-e-Azad, the efforts regarding Urdu texts in curriuclum that is generally forgotten, he has also jointly compiled the book '1857' and was associated with Mauj-e-Nerbada and the Urdu literary magazine Tamseel, apart from many others. 

There are indeed personalities whose contribution needs to be acknowledged and this must be done without waiting for birth anniversary or a day. He is surely one such person. In fact, litterateur Kausar Siddiqui, long ago summed it up well, saying that 'Iqbal Masood is the man who gives spur to literary activities in Dar-ul-Iqbal, Bhopal, and is present on every front when it comes to the language in Bhopal.

Shams Ur Rehman Alavi

Journalist for more than 20 years. Had started his career with National Mail in the nineties. Worked as Special Correspondent with Hindustan Times, as an Assistant Editor with DB Post, later Contributing Editor with The Huffington Post, writes for First Post, The Wire, Newsd & several other major publications.