The legends of literature are quite rare in Urdu in the present days. Most of them are those who who have spent decades serving the Urdu language. Humorists with actually awesome writings are an even rarer species. But one man who had won all our hearts was Mushtaq Ahmed Yusufi. An amazing era of the Urdu literature came to an end with his death at an age of 94 years.
Born on 4 August, 1923, in the princely state of Tonk in United India to a political secretary of the state, Yusufi migrated to Pakistan in 1956 and became a central banker. Yusufi was widely admired in the literary circles for his unique way of writing and subtle humor, presenting every simple thing in a humble yet eloquent way, with deep meanings in the humors he wrote and won the hearts of the public with. In light of his contributions to the Urdu literature like Chiragh Talay, Khakam-ba-Dahan, Aab-e-Gum, Sham-e-Shair-e-Yaseen, the government of Pakistan awarded him with Sitara-e-Imtiaz and Hilal-e-Imtiaz in 1999 and 2002 respectively.
His first compilation of 12 humorous essays, Chiragh Talay in 1961, marked his debut in the world of literature.
After that, he published his second book Khakam-ba-Dahan containing eight humorous essays and published in 1969. Both the books being compilation of essays naturally lack thematic integrity except for the wit that runs through these writings and the beautiful humor. His third book Zarguzasht appeared in 1976. It is a fictional autobiography where Yusufi himself is not the main character and leaves it to the reader to find out Yusufi from amongst so many characters.
His fourth book, Aab-e-Gum, published in 1990, is a nostalgic account of a generation on both sides of the border who witnessed the Partition and the pains and sufferings it entailed, besides the loss of home and erosion of values and norms. His last book, Sham-e-Shair-e-Yaseen was published in 2014, another masterpiece of the great legend. Throughout his literary career, he had never commented on any social or political problems. His only objective was to laugh and make others laugh.
Dr Muhammad Sadiq writes that
He has no axe to grind, social or political, and finds humor in everyday experience. His is the subtle blend of humor and wit and it is his wit that gives point to his narrative.
The long gaps between his writings were due to the fact that his skill of writing had not been blessed to him. He smithed his works over the years, writing, revising, editing until finally it reached the level of mastery that we all know and love. But, as God wills, we lost the legend as Yusufi was admitted at a private hospital a few days back after contracting pneumonia. He was shifted to ventilator after his health deteriorated where he finally took his last breath and went off to meet his creator.