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Hasan Chishti
--: Biography of Hasan Chishti :--

Hasan Chishti

-A Man Of Letters,a Puryeyor Of Happiness


By Syed Arif Hussaini

Hasan Chishti - a Man of Letters, a Purveyor of Happiness
He has won several awards for his literary attainments both in South Asia and in the US. But, I think what really endeared him to the dozen or so writers who have paid glowing tributes to his Urdu compositions is his self-effacing personality and his sincerity in purveying happiness to all those who came in contact with him. He has always been the ‘go-to guy’ in seeking the curatives, not just palliatives, for your pains. Matter of fact, you don’t have to seek him out. Hasan Chishti would seek you out the moment he comes to know of your problem. Almost every one has made a mention of this aspect of his personality and cited personal experiences. In a cultural milieu where the worth of an individual is measured in terms of the millions he has accumulated, Hasan Chishti has acquired immeasurable wealth of the affection and respect of the Urdu-speaking community. He has had a deep love affair with the language and its literature for over six decades. He went to an Urdu medium school and, for higher studies, to Osmania University, the only institution of higher learning in the sub-continent where Urdu was the medium of instruction. After graduation, he accepted a junior post in that institution which held a special place in his heart. He became so popular among his colleagues that they elected him the President of the Staff Association. He climbed up quickly to a middle-rung position in the University hierarchy by dint of his infinite capacity to take pains and, above every thing else, his proactive concern for the students facing problems. Soon he became known as the “go-to guy” among student circles. During the quarter century that he spent with that University, he kept nurturing the itch to write and compose poetry. His close friends at school and college were mainly Urdu poets and short story writers. Shaz Tamkinit, who was acknowledged as an outstanding Urdu poet in the literary circles of South Asia, was a close friend and lived in the same locality. Shaz, like Maikash and Jazbi, became an alcoholic and died young. This had a profound effect on Hasan who had always been himself a teetotaler. He became much closer to his friends and his concern for their well being increased in intensity.While in Hyderabad, he served as the Editor of monthly Urdu magazines, Pasban and Akash, as well as of the English weekly Munsif that is now appearing as an Urdu daily and enjoys vast circulation. That must have taken care of his literary itch. And, to satisfy his concern for the welfare of the community, he took active part in numerous literary, social and cultural organizations. The experience thus gained came in handy for him in Saudi Arabia where he shifted after retirement from Osmania. He founded Bazme Urdu and Hyderabad Association in Saudi Arabia to provide forums to the community for the expression and solution of their problems. A feather in his cap was the acceptance by the Indian aviation office to commence a direct flight between Hyderabad and Jedda. Hyderabad Association had been pleading for this under his leadership. After a sojourn of seven years in Jedda, he decided to migrate in 1986 to Chicago mainly to provide opportunities to his grown children to labor and live well. Blessed with the capacity to take pains, he launched a new business at age 60 - no mean feat! It started thriving mainly because of his integrity, a happy temperament and an exceptional zeal to be helpful. His roots in Hyderabad led him to be recognized as an icon of Hyderabadi culture. His inherent nobility provided the underpinning of reliability in a highly competitive business atmosphere. His two sons run the business now letting him focus full attention on literary, cultural and social activities. He is 76 but is quite active. Earlier, he served for 9 years as the Bureau Chief in Chicago of the prestigious weekly Pakistan Link, published from California in both Urdu and English. He writes frequently for Urdu dailies Siyaset and Munsif of Hyderabad. He has to his credit a long list of well-deserved awards by literary associations in India and the US. His greatest achievement, to my mind, is the compilation and publication in four volumes of the writings of Mujtaba Husain, a contemporary humor writer in Urdu language. These books are: Mujtaba Husain ki Behtareen Tahreerain (Two volumes), Mujtaba Husain kay Muntakhib Column, and Mujtaba Husain kay Safarname. It is said of Sir Syed that he once remarked that if God asked him what was his biggest achievement in the world, he would respond, “I got Hali to compose the Musaddas”. This elegy entitled “Mudd o Jazzer-e-Islam” (Flow and Ebb of Islam) is undoubtedly one of the greatest works of the 19th century. If God posed a similar question to Hasan Chishti, he could point out his compilation and publication of Mujtaba’s writings. I have read with considerable interest all these volumes. Mujtaba excels in seeing the humorous aspect of an ordinary event, even of a sorrowful development. Like Musaddas, his writings too, particularly about the waning status of Urdu, create the effect of an elegy. Aristotle is reported to have remarked that melancholy men are the most witty. Given his sanguine outlook on life, Mujtaba may not be the least melancholy person, but he undoubtedly is the most witty and humorous Urdu writer. Hasan Chishti can be justifiably proud of this work. Being a modest person, he rarely mentions it. To sum up, one may describe Hasan Chishti as a monument to nobility. May God grant him a long and healthy life.

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