Sirajul Haq Memon

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Sirajul Haq Memon (1933–2013) was an acclaimed Pakistani Sindhi language novelist, journalist, historian, scholar, linguist, story-writer, and advocate of the Supreme Court. He was born in Tando Jam town, Hyderabad District to school-teacher and poet Mohammad Yaqub Niaz on October 24, 1933, in a house of ten siblings.[1] After completion of his early education, his family shifted from his native town to Hyderabad where he completed his matriculation in 1950, after which he moved to Karachi. Studying at DJ National College, he also started working as a part-time sub-editor at the weekly Sindh Observer to meet the expenses of education and boarding at the Jinnah Courts. Later he shifted back to Hyderabad, where he worked with Mohammad Usman Diplai at his printing press and later as an assistant in the Sindhi Adabi Board, where he along with Mohammad Ibrahim Joyo and Ghulam Rabbani Agro translated classical works from English to Sindhi.

In 1957 he passed civil services examination and was appointed in the income tax department. During his government job he continued to write and meet politicians at will, which angered the government. In 1969 after Yahya Khan’s takeover as chief martial law administrator, he became one of the 303 officials summarily dismissed from service. After his forced retirement, he picked up the profession of legal consultancy and worked as an income tax lawyer.

He knew Zulfikar Ali Bhutto Bhutto personally before he joined the government. He recalled the first meeting with him in 1957 when Bhutto had written a book titled ‘Pakistan: a military state or a federal state’. He translated the book. When Bhutto formed the Pakistan People’s Party, he bought Hilal-i-Pakistan, a Sindhi daily, but shifted its place of publication from Hyderabad to Karachi. In a retired Siraj, he found an editor who could frame its policy and run the newspaper on healthy grounds. As its editor, Siraj laid some very bold lines for a newspaper by objective reporting and healthy criticism. He also set the gossip column in Sindhi journalism on modern lines. As a newspaper editor, Memon introduced new trends into Sindhi-language journalism and his time there was widely regarded the golden period of the paper as well as the start of modern Sindhi journalism. [2]

He worked for the newspaper for six years until his resignation in 1977 when military-dictator General Zia ul-Haq imposed martial law in Pakistan.

A keen student of history, he made an unprecedented attempt to write a novel on the political developments and social conditions of Sindh in the post-Samma period. His first novel, Parrado Soyie Sadd, depicts the tyrannical rule of Tarkhans and Arghuns on Sindh. ‘Parado soyee sadd’ earned him laurels from literary critics. He also wrote a book on the origin and evolution of the Sindhi language, Sindhi Boli (1964). His other works are: Dakhan maan tho sij ubhre (tr 1953), Sindh ji iqtasadi tarikh (tr 1958), Choond Amerki afsana (tr in association of Agro 1958), Ai dard hali aoo (short stories 1962), Muhinji duniya haikal viyakul (1988), Tuhinji duniya sabh rang sanwal (1989), Muhinji duniya mirgh trishna (1990).

Siraj Memon wrote a total of five novels, but three of his novels – Parrado Soyoi Sadd (The Echo and the Call are the Same), Maran Moun Se Aa (Come die with me) and Tunhji Dunya Sabh Rang Sanwal (Your Life has all the Colours) – are considered to be some of the most widely acclaimed novels in Sindhi literature.

He also translated T. S. Eliot in Urdu. He authored a book on the Memon community of the Subcontinent, which he himself belonged to. He was also the chief editor of the Oxford Sindhi dictionary, which was compiled in 2010. [3]

In 2011 Sirajul Haq Memon was awarded the Sitara-i-Imtiaz for his meritorious services to Sindhi language and society. [4]

In the last days he was rewriting his earlier book on the origin and evolution of Sindhi and trying to accommodate new findings during the past three decades.

Siraj died in Karachi in the early hours of Saturday, February 2, 2013 at the age of 79. He was buried in Karachi’s Gizri graveyard after Zohr prayers on Sunday, Feb 3, 2013.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Sirajul Haq Memon: a versatile writer | Newspaper". Dawn.Com. 2013-02-03. Retrieved 2013-02-09. 
  2. ^ "Sirajul Haq Memon; Website". 2013-02-10. Retrieved 2013-02-10. 
  3. ^ "Oxford University Press; OUP". OUP. 2011-12-24. Retrieved 2013-02-09. 
  4. ^ "Governor confers awards on behalf of President; Associated Press Pakistan". APP.Com. 2011-03-24. Retrieved 2013-02-09.