Generations saddened as Udaas Naslain’s Hussain departs


Tens of thousands of fans and followers have been left saddened after the demise of a towering personality in Urdu literature, Abdullah Hussain, the writer commonly known for his masterpiece “Udaas Naslain”, a novel which is still relevant for many after fifty years of its publishing.

Pakistan Today talked to some critics and colleagues of Hussain who rated him as “one of the best novelists in Urdu literature”.

According to renowned critic Dr Tabassum Kaasmiri, “Hussain had a great command over art and craft and he used a unique dialect in his writings effectively.” Dr Kaashmiri said that his novels like Baagh, Qayd and Udaas Naslain earned him the height of fame during his life. His collection of short stories, Nasheb, is a tantamount of his expertise in the art of short stories as well, he said.

Dr Kaashmiri spoke of the times when a professor from Japan requested him to arrange his interview with Hussain. During the interview, Hussain told the professor that before writing his novels, he first thoroughly studied the “locale” of the characters, which made his writings most alluring. Hussain’s demise is a severe loss to the Urdu literature, Dr Kaashmiri concluded.

Asghar Nadeem Syed, notable drama writer, told Pakistan Today that the demise of Abdullah Hussain is not only a loss for Pakistan but also for the whole world where Urdu literature is being studied.

“As many as 50 years have passed but discussions on Udaas Naslain are being carried out even today. That is a proof of its success!” said Syed. He shared his time passed with Abdullah Hussain and described an interesting incident about one of his short stories named as Wapsi ka Safar. BBC made a documentary movie based upon his short story and Asghar was privileged to watch the premier of documentary show with Abdullah Hussain in London in 1996. The plot of the story revolves around those people who have migrated to Britain from Pakistan; originally the story was written in 1970’s.

Masood Ashar, a short-story writer, translator and columnist told Pakistan Today that his novel Udaas Naslain is regarded as second most famous novel of Urdu literature after Quraatulain Haider’s Aag ka Darya. He said that even in this poor health condition, Hussain was in regular touch with his readers through social media. He was given highest Pakistani literary award, Kamal e Fan award by Pakistan Academy of Letters (PAL).

“The chairman of PAL Dr Qasim Bhageyo himself went to his residence to hand over his award because he was not able to collect the award personally due to health conditions,” Massood Ashar concluded.

Udaas Naslain was Hussain’s debut novel and he won the prestigious Adamjee Award at the age of just 32. He himself translated his most acclaimed novel Udaas Naslain, a practice that is not so common in our literature. He passed away at the age of 84.




  1. […] Eminent Urdu novelist Abdullah Hussain passed away here on Saturday after protracted illness. He was 84. Abdullah Hussain was renowned for his Urdu novel Udas Naslein, which is considered a masterpiece of Urdu literature. His other acclaimed works include Nasheb, Nadaar Log, Azaad Log and Raat. The funeral prayers of Hussain, who battled blood cancer until his death, were offered at his residence in Lahore’s DHA area on Saturday. President Mamnoon Hussain and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif expressed grief and sorrow over the demise of Abdullah Hussain. In his message to Hussain’s family, the prime minister extended his condolences while lauding the services rendered by him towards the promotion and enrichment of Urdu literature. The premier regarded his death as a loss to the nation especially the literary circles. …read more […]

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