Majlis e Frogh e Urdu Adab (MFUA) is a world famous Urdu literary organisation based in Qatar.
Each year the organisation awards two prominent writers each from Pakistan and India.
Reputed and known literary figures from the two countries have long been associated with MFUA.
Prof Dr Shamim Hanfi, renowned Urdu critic and scholar from India, and Prof Dr Moinuddin Aqeel, eminent author and scholar of Urdu literature from Pakistan, were recently named winners of the Silver Jubilee Aalmi Frogh-e-Urdu Adab Awards (AFUAA) - international awards for promotion of Urdu literature - for the year 2021.
The Majlis and its jury members in Pakistan and India are, however, grieved over the recent death of Hanfi. He died of Covid-19 in New Delhi, India, on May 6 aged 83.
“Hanafi was one of the most respected literary critics, playwrights, poets and intellectuals of the sub-continent.” Mohamed Atiq, chairman of Majlis said.“His death is a huge loss for the Urdu language, literature and poetry.
We will send his award, a gold medal, to his wife and shall remit the cash award of Rs150,000 to her account in the next few months,” he added.
In his condolence message Prof Dr Gopi Chand Narang, chairman of Majlis’s Aalmi Award Jury from India, said: “Hanafi’s death was shocking news. He was an outstanding critic, playwright and poet of the sub-continent.
A former academic at the Urdu department of Jamia Millia Islamia in New Delhi, Hanafi not only authored a number of books in literary criticism, but also wrote plays, translated a number of books and published four novels for children.
“He had rendered invaluable services for the Urdu language and literature. His death is a tragic loss for Urdu language and for all Urdu lovers in India, Pakistan and all over the world.”
Dr Khurshid Rizvi, chairman of Majlis e Frogh e Urdu Adab’s Aalmi Award Jury for Pakistan, said Hanfi’s death “was very tragic for Urdu literature”.
“He achieved a high position in Urdu prose, particularly literary criticism. He was a good writer and speaker as well. Hanfi was very active person. He used to attend literary conferences in different countries. He was an optimist.
“Hanfi suffered from cancer a few years ago but overcame the disease. Even cancer could not dampen his literary activities. However, Covid-19 took him away from us,” Rizvi said.
Prof Shafey Kidwai, member, Majlis’ Aalmi Award Jury from India, said: “Hanfi’s demise is a colossal loss to Urdu literature and scholarship. His creative dexterity knew no bounds and he enlivened many genres like criticism, drama, poetry, translation, children’s literature, sketch writing and the like simultaneously.
“His critical acuity and sharp insights blazed a new trail in Urdu criticism. He translated Maulana Azad’ and Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru’s books into Urdu. His more than three dozen books carry the fruits of the profundity and critical acuity.
“Professor Hanfi will be remembered for his unprecedented erudition and he was a gifted speaker. He symbolised the syncretic culture of India.”
Hanafi was a proponent of the modern movement in Urdu literature. His books on modernism include ‘Jadidiyat ki Falsafiana Asaas’ and ‘Nai She’ri Rawayat’. His other books on criticism include ‘Ghazal ka Manzarnama’, ‘Kahani ke Paanch Rang’, ‘Firaq’, ‘Shair wa Shakhs’, ‘Dayar e Shab ka Musafir’, ‘Iqbal ka Harf e Tamanna’, ‘Ghalib ki Takhleeqi Haissiyet’, ‘Tareekh, Tehzeeb aur Takhleeqi Tajreba’, ‘Urdu Culture aur Taqseem ki Riwayat’, ‘Khayal ki Musaafat’ and ‘Qari se Mukalma’. He wrote plays, translated books, and wrote four books for children, which he admitted to enjoying immensely.
His poetry collection ‘Aakhiri Pehar ki Dastak’’ was published by Rekhta in 2015.
He also maintained a keen interest in painting, pottery and the performing arts.
In recognition of his services to Urdu language and literature, he was honoured with many awards, including Maulana Abul Kalam Azad Award, Delhi’s Urdu Academy Award, Ghalib Award etc.