Akhtar Hussain Akhtar

Dr. Akhtar Hussain Akhtar was a leading poet, critic, scholar and journalist who had been editing the Punjabi monthly magazine Lehran for the last five decades.

Dr Akhtar Hussain was born on May 3, 1937, in a small village in district Dir and Pashto was his mother tongue. But once he shifted to Lahore, he took on Punjabi and excelled in it to an extent that he did his doctorate in the language. His topic was ‘Var’, which in Punjabi poetry is a heroic ode or ballad that generally narrates legends such as stories of Punjabi folk heroes or historical events.

Examples of odes and ballads include narrating the feats of Dulha Bhatti and Raja Rasalu, whereas examples of the historical incidents can include Najabat’s Nadar Shah Di Var which describes the invasion of India by Nadir Shah in 1739. The Var has also been used to evoke the mood of devotion or sacrifice, as in Guru Gobind Singh’s Chandi di Var, or to narrate the mystical experience of a Pir, Bhagat or Guru. His PhD thesis was over 800 pages long.

He was also associated with the education department in fact by 1997, he had retired from the Government Sacred Heart Cathedral School, as headmaster. There are some books to his name, including ‘Khilray Moti’, ‘Dill Diyaan Peeran’, ‘Fun Tay Funkaar’, and ‘Punjab Ki Lok Rasmaein’.

The most remarkable of his literary achievements has been the publication of Punjabi magazine ‘Lehraan’ over the last 45 years. He first started publication of the monthly magazine with the active cooperation and patronage of the late Dr Faqir Muhammad Faqir, the editor and publisher of the first ever Punjabi magazine brought out after creation of Pakistan. Lehraan was first published around 46 years ago and continues its publication quite regularly.

He is regarded as one of the pioneers of the Punjabi language movement. Dr Akhtar Hussain’s articles included in the book are about people, their literary contribution and their activities for the promotion of the language. Dr Faqir, in Hussain’s view was the greatest source of inspiration for carrying on the publication of the magazine which now is the oldest Punjabi magazine.

Dr Akhtar Hussain was laid to rest after Isha prayers on Tuesday (March 15, 2011) at his house 7/54, Soddi Waal Quarters, Multan Road.

Pakistan Today | March 16, 2011