Wakeel Najeeb: Prolific author who leads the Urdu literary caravan in Vidarbha
Shams Ur Rehman Alavi
When he is not writing a novel, he writes stories for children. And, when he is not penning these stories, he may compose poetry for a change of taste or suddenly come up with a book on personalities of his city.
Wakeel Najeeb is not just among the most prominent authors, he is the most prolific writer in the region. For people interested in Urdu litrature across the country, when the conversation shifts to this region, it's his name that instantly comes to minds.
And a visit to Nagpur is incomplete until one meets him. In the serpentine lanes near his house, ask anyone--an elderly man or a young boy, everyone knows him and can guide you about the address or directly take you to his house.
Th writer is at the centre of Urdu literary activities in Nagpur. On my visit to the town, I tried to locate his house and almost everyone I came across on way, was ready to take me to his place. Apart from novels, he has several collections of stories and short-stories, poems and two travelogues to his name. Also, there is a collection of plays and hold your breath--20 novels.
He is among the few authors who have focused on writing for the children. Many of his novels are for children apart from nazms and stories. Though he started his literary journey with 'afsana' [short story], he got more fame because of writing for children as he also gets published in the magazines across India.
"Somehow a label was put on me that I write stories for children and a I am writer exclusively for kids, though I have collections of short stories and have written fiction, not just for children", he explains. Of course, Najeeb, has written extensively and also writes critical pieces, essays and articles.
His most recent work is a book, 'Meri Basti, Mere Log'. The book contains his write-ups on interesting personalities he saw around him as he grew up and others in his city. The profiles include people from diverse fields--wrestlers to clerics and writers to sufis. Already hundreds of copies of the book have been sold.
"Frankly, I do my best to publicize my books. When I write, my aim is to make people aware about the book. You see this, he points towards the banner outside his house, which announces publication of his book. People come to know, arrive and buy", he further says.
That's a far cry from the writers who bemoan lack of readers or rue that there books are not being sold. Born on July 1, 1946, Wakeel Najeeb, studied at the local Urdu school. He went on to become a teacher and retired as principal of Islamia School. He is socially active, associated with institutions, literary groups and attends their meets. And, literally holds the literary fort in the region.