On 27th May, 2020, a prolific writer and veteran Urdu satirist, Mujtaba Hussain (84) passed away at his residence in Hyderabad (Telangana, India) after a prolonged illness.
Born and brought up in Hyderabad, he was an acclaimed writer who turned to writing humour by chance. One fine day as he walked into his office, he was told by the editor to take over a popular humorous column written by Shahid Siddiqui who was now, no more. Left with no choice, Hussain wrote columns thinking it was a mere stop-gap arrangement. Soon, the witty lines and punches became his identity and he, became synonymous with humour. According to him, laughter was the language of the universe. He continued to tickle the funny bone of Urdu readers for more than half a century before developing health issues recently which stopped him from writing.
Week after week, he ensured people laughed after reading his columns spreading joy all around with his observations on life. He wrote many books which were further translated in Hindi. Some of his titles include Takalluf Bartaraf (1968), Qat’a Kalaam (1969), Qissa Mukhtasar (1972), Baharhaal (1974), Aadmi Nama (1981), Bilaakhir (1982), Japan Chalo Japan Chalo (1983), Algharaz (1987), So Hai Wo bhi Aadmi (1987), Chehra Dar Chera (1993), Mera Column (1993), Safar-i-Lakht Lakht (1995), Hue Ham Dost Jis Ke (1999). He was a satirist par excellence. Sometime in 2007, he was even conferred the Padma Shri, the fourth-highest civilian award in India for his contribution to Urdu literature. However, Mujtaba Hussain returned the award in 2019 in protest against the newly amended citizenship law in India.
As award winning author, Rahman Abbas rightly says, ” Mujtaba Hussain was one of the most loved humorists and satirists of our time in Urdu literature. He was an easily mingling and humble kind of person at the same time aware of national and international politics and policies. He was widely read and respected amongst scholars and students alike. Throughout his long literary career, he has been very active and accessible to writers and his fans. He will be missed for long and remembered for his humor, satire, columns travelogue and other writings. “
With his death, an era has come to an end in Urdu literature. He might not be with us today, but the legacy of laughter he has left behind, will be cherished for generations to come.
R.I.P Mujtaba Hussain!