Since Saadat Hasan Manto and Patras Bokhari – some of the great name in Urdu literature, no one other than Ashfaq Ahmed is to be ever remembered for his contribution to the development of Urdu language and literature. His wife, Bano Qudsia who herself is a remarkable name in Urdu literature had a long association with Ashfaq Ahmed – a man, a laureate and a saint, perhaps.
He had a very candid view of his society and surroundings and presented characters as if these are in real talking and moving. His satirical work of art had been “Talqeen Shah” which had been on air by Radio Pakistan for many many years, bringing forth the real face of many who disguise them under a cloak of gentleness. Read script of one of his plays of Talqeen Shah “Dhandora”. His short story “Guddriya” is also a work of literature. When Pakistan TV was inaugurated in Lahore in 1964, Ashfaq wrote “Uchhay Burj Lahore Dey” which were televised by PTV in its initial days. .His other TV plays, namely “Aik Mohabbat Sao Afsany, and Tota Kahani” were though difficult to digest for a commoner, but left many deep imprints on those who could understand.
In the later part of his professional career as a writer, Ashfaq Ahmed turned to spiritualism and started a programme on PTV by the name of “Zawiya”. This programme revolved around things that we so easily ignore in our life and still lament that we have been wronged and did not get what should have been our due share. Having seen these programmes, one realizes the true meaning of life. Two books have published containing each programme and those who missed watching these programmes or found these boring or too spiritual, must now read these books and would find a change in themselves, provided they understand what the writer has tried to explain in very simple and understandable words. While reading the first book, one should concentrate on the chapter “Diye sey diya (Given from the “Given”). Two excerpts are scanned and given down below which change one’s life if really pondered upon.
Ashfaq Ahmed was born on Aug 22, 1925 and obtained his early education in his native district, Ferozepur, East Punjab. Shortly before independence in 1947, he came to Lahore and did his MA in Urdu from the Government College. Ashfaq Ahmed started writing short stories much earlier in his age. He could also speak Italian since he had for some time stayed in Rome and had joined Radio Rome as Urdu newscaster. He also learnt French. He editored an Urdu magazine ” Dastango and Lail-o-Nihar”. He aslo authored some 25 books, including a travelogue. Lately, he had devoted more of his work towards spiritualism and his TV programme “Zaviaye” was a true reflection of his changing trends and liking towards religion, Sufism and spiritualism. He was a recipient of the President’s Pride of Performance and Sitara-i-Imtiaz for meritorious services in the field of literature and broadcasting.
Ashfaq Ahmed had been Director General of the Markazi Urdu Board for some 30 years and held many other noble appointment. He, despite being touching 80s was still full of vigour and always wanting to say and write more. He breathed his last at the age of 79 is September 2004 – cancer of the pancreas being the cause of death.