Abdullah Hussain: A giant in Urdu literature


Abdullah Hussain
Abdullah Hussain

Over fifty years have passed but it is still a daunting task to determine whether Abdullah Hussain created Udaas Naslain or it was the very novel that gave birth to Abdullah Hussain, who is still lives on despite the fact that he passed away last week. A chemical engineer by profession, Abdullah Hussain won the revered Adamjee award for his debut novel Udaas Naslain at the age of just 32, and that speaks volume about his excellence in writing.

His other literary works like Baagh, Nadaar Log, Qaid, Raat and collection of short stories named as Nashaib and Faraib further earned him acclaim during his life. He took as many as twelve years to write his second novel Baagh. He used to say that none of his other books was as dear to him as Baagh because he was of the view that a novelist was only as good as his second novel.

Born on 14th of August, 1931, in Rawalpindi where his father was posted at that time, Abdullah Hussain shifted to his hometown in Gujrat at the age of five. He passed his BSC from the Zamindar College, Gujrat, in 1952 and got a job as a chemical engineer in a cement factory in Daudkhel (Mianwali) in 1953. Once unveiling a chapter of his life in an interview, Abdullah Hussain told that had he not gone to a far-flung area like Daudkhel, it would have been impossible for him to become a writer. He started reading and writing in a bid to defy the ghost of loneliness that he faced during his posting in remote area of Mianwali and gave us Udaas Naslain, regarded as one of the best novels of Urdu literature alongside Quratulain Haider’s Aag Ka Darya. It is pertinent to mention here that the cover of Udaas Naslain was designed by a renowned artist of his time, Abdul Rehman Chughtai, on the request of Abdullah Hussain.

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