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Ham-`asr Urdu Afsana: Tribute to Asad Muhammad Khan

On October 4 2019, the Halqa-e-Danish Ham`asr Urdū Afsānā series paid a tribute to Asad Muhammad Khan in a three hour long session. Asad Mohammad Khan is a pre-eminent contemporary short story writer, poet, dramatist, and translator. He is the author of several books including Khiṛkī Bhar Āsmān, Narbada, Ghussay Ki Na’ī Faṣal, and Ṭukṛon Mai Kahī Ga’ī Kahānī. The Gurmani Centre was honored to host the esteemed author himself for the day.

During the first half of the session, Asad Muhammad Khan was in converstaion with Professor Zia-Ul-Hassan and author Mubeen Mirza. He began the discussion by reminiscing about his childhood days in Bhopal and his migration to Lahore. He then discussed the beginnings of his attachment to literature and his earliest literary influences. The discussion was punctuated by the author’s reading of excerpts from his work, including his short stories “Tarlochan” and “Basaudē kī Mariam”. He also read out his poem Manajaat. The discussion was followed by a brief break for tea and refreshments, after which the event resumed

In the latter half of the session, the discussion of Asad Muhammad Khan’s work was continued by Hameeda Shaheen, Mubeen Mirza, and Muhammad Hameed. The speakers highlighted the continuing socio-political, cultural, and literary relevance of his writings. “A true artist does not merely compile the obvious observations of his times,” said Mubeen Mirza “ but notices even those imperceptible changes that begin slowly and prevail gradually.” He went on to say that “Asad Muhammad Khan’s ability to see beyond his own historical moment made him a true representative of indo-pak culture.”

The speakers also discussed their personal relationship and engagement with the writer’s works. This personalized take on Asad Muhammad Khan’s life and works by his close friends, artists, and critics provided the audience with an intimate view of Asad Muhammad Khan’s enigmatic persona.

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