The world of Urdu Literature had to experience a huge loss on September 7th 2004, when Ashfaq Ahmed demised from this world. Many of us never knew this great man personally, but if you have ever read even a handful of his writings, you would feel that you knew this man, up close and personal.
That is always how I had felt when anybody even mentioned his name. I had a truckload of memories attached to his beautifully written stories, beautifully constructed dramas and plays, those hilarious incidents, his amazing life lessons. The thought of him being there no more, was too painful for me.
There was something about him that made you love him and his work, more and more. The more you read his work, the more you get intrigued. It is said that there are certain people in this world who are so good with words that one cannot help but falling in love with their words. It is a fact about writers that the biggest inspiration is from their own lives and personal experiences. I wondered what character did Ashfaq Ahmed identify with the most, was it the famous Taqleen Shah or was it some other character? I came to this conclusion that maybe there was a bit of Ashfaq Ahmed in all of his characters.
His dramas like Manchale Ka Sauda became hugely successful. It was not like the kind of dramas we see on air, today. The drama had a specific timelessness about it. In fact, all his works have a timeless appeal about them. There is always a lesson, a benefit which the readers get from his works. It was part of the reason of his popularity.
Despite being a popular literary figure, Ashfaq Ahmed was not the least proud or vain. In contrast, he was the most humble, down to earth person. It is said that he would often get calls from his adoring fans, telling him how ardently they admire his works. In reply, Ashfaq Ahmed would express nothing but gratitude. This is just how great people are. They know that whatever they have, whatever status they have achieved, is because of God.
It has been quite some time since he last left this world, but I am sure that I can speak for a lot of people, who were his fans that he will always stay alive for us. He will always stay with us, in our hearts and in our memories. He was a man full of spirit and life. Though, he is no longer physically present in this world, he has occupied a special place for himself in the hearts and minds of those readers who loved him and his works.
Ashfaq Ahmed was a league of his own, and there will never be another person like him. May Allah Bless His Soul, Ameen.
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