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Naeem Kausar: Master storyteller whose works have wowed generations of readers

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Shams Ur Rehman Alavi

BHOPAL: Naeem Kausar, the veteran Urdu author, has been known across the country for his short stories. The Bhopal-based author has written plays, stories for children, afsanas and has nearly half-a-dozen collections of short stories to his name.

Besides, he had brought out the unique literary fortnightly newspaper. However, it is the genre of short stories where he rules the roost. The Madhya Pradesh government has announced Shikhar Samman to him as recognition of his literary works.

The octogenarian had written his first ‘afsana’ when he was barely 14 and there was no looking back. His father Kausar Chandpuri, a legendary writer, was an established name in Urdu literature but apart from him, Naeem Kausar got inspired by Prem Chand and other major writers.

In fact, he had written his first story for children in 1948, and it was published in Naunihal from Delhi. Later on, he wrote a short novel too. But serious literary career began since early 1950s and he wrote hundreds of short stories. Naeem Kausar had also started publishing a children’s magazine from Bhopal.

But in the year 2001, he started the unique fortnightly Sada-e-Urdu that soon made its name across the country and outside. It not just focused on literature but also fine arts and it became popular due to the content, standard and for taking a clear stand on contention literary issues.

He was born in Begamganj town in erstwhile princely state of Bhopal. He has spent almost his entire life in Bhopal and after retirement, he completely got immersed into literature and wrote extensively. Many of his short stories including the one that mentions the post-mortem scene or the afsana focusing on the life of a musician are remembered by readers.

His collections, Khwabon ka Maseeha, Kaal Kothri, Iqrar Nama and Agni Pareeksha have got critical acclaim. In Central India, he is unquestionably the leading writer. The recent announcement of the Shikhar Award is another addition to his list of literary achievements.

For him, the reader’s love is the ultimate litmus test for the writers’ accomplishments. Actually, he summed it up well in an interview with Rais Siddiqui for Akashwani, when he said that ‘naqqad nahi, balki qaari ko jauhari samajhta hoon’ i.e. he doesn’t consider critic but reader the key person to test or pass judgment, as critics often seen the writer in light of their own literary stream, school of thought ranging [for example progressive or modernist] and also because other factors too play a role in whether distinguished critic would write about an author or ignore him.

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.