Urdu literature gets poorer with the death of Professor Baig Ehsas


Urdu literature has suffered a setback with the recent death of Professor Baig Ehsas, one of Hyderabad’s leading news authors. Two weeks ago, another renowned writer and teacher, Fatima Begum Parveen, took her last breath. Both were unreported writers and dominated the Urdu literary scene for decades.

Professor Ehsas, who headed the Urdu department at Hyderabad University, was laureate of Sahitya Academy for his short story collection – Dakhma. He was the third Urdu writer from Hyderabad to receive this prestigious award. The other two being: the revolutionary poet, Makhdoom Mohinuddin, and the novelist, Jeelani Banu.

The 73-year-old writer had been ill for some time and died at the Asian Institute of Gastroenterology plunging Urdu literary circles into gloom. The two products of Osmania University, Dr Fatima Parveen and Professor Ehsas have done a lot in promoting the Urdu language and left a rich literary legacy.

An unusual writer, Professor Ehsas used the medium of the short story to portray the life around him. For him, literature was a means of educating the public about the ills of society. The account of his short stories is realistic and serious because he does not believe in aimless romanticism. He uses different storytelling techniques to make his characters memorable. His three collections of short stories – Khusha-e-Gandum, Hanzal and Dakhma are distinguished by the depth of observation and the diversity of experiences. He has also published a collection of literary essays entitled Shor-e-Jahan. Professor Ehsas won the Sahitya Academy Award in 2017 for Dakhma, which means Tower of Silence.

In his award-winning book, Professor Ehsas focuses on the problems of middle-class Muslims caught in the dilemma of conservatism and modernity. He uses allegorical and symbolic techniques to delineate the personality and social issues of the community, especially in and around Hyderabad. Stories like Sange Giran, Chakr Dev, Dard ke Khime, Dakhma and Rang ka Saya are poignant and provide insight into human nature.

Renowned Urdu comedian Mujtaba Husain named Professor Ehsas one of the top five short story writers of the present day. A distinctive feature of his short stories is their exclusivity and unique treatment of the subject.

During the lockdown period when all activity ceased due to the pandemic, Professor Ehsas kept the Urdu literary scene alive by hosting a weekly online program – Bazgasht. In this program, works by well-known writers and poets are read, followed by detailed analysis and discussion. The program continues and thanks to Professor Ehsas, Urdu lovers remain digitally connected.

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