Intizar Hussain

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Intizar Hussain
Native name
انتظار حسین
Born21 December 1925
Dibai, Bulandshahr district, British India, now India
Died2 February 2016 (aged 92)
Lahore, Punjab, Pakistan
OccupationWriter, poet
Alma materMeerut College
Notable awardsSitara-i-Imtiaz, Pride of Performance, Adamjee Literary Award, Kamal-i-Fun award and Anjuman Farogh-i-Adab Doha's award[1]

Intizar Hussain (Urdu: انتظار حسین‎; 21 December 1925 – 2 February 2016) was a Pakistani writer of Urdu novels, short stories, poetry and nonfiction. He is widely recognised as a leading literary figure of Pakistan.[2][3][4] He was among the finalists of the Man Booker Prize in 2013.[5]

Personal life[edit]

Intizar Hussain was born in Dibai, Bulandshahr, British India in 1925, and migrated to Pakistan in 1947. His exact date of birth is not known, sources indicate that he was born on 21 December 1922, 1923 or 1925. After passing the Intermediate Examination (high school equivalent in the USA) in 1942, he gained a bachelor's degree and a master's degree in Urdu literature at Meerut College in 1944 and 1946 respectively.[2] Hussain's wife Aliya Begum died in 2004. They had no children.

Literary work[edit]

He wrote short stories, novels and poetry in Urdu, and also literary columns for Dawn newspaper and Daily Express newspaper.[2][3] The Seventh Door, Leaves and Basti are among his books that have been translated into English. Among the five novels he wrote – Chaand Gahan (1952), Din Aur Daastaan (1959), Basti (1980), Tazkira (1987), Aage Samandar Hai (1995) – Basti received global praise.[6] His other writings include Hindustan Se Aakhri Khat, Aagay Sumandar Hai, Shehr-e-Afsos, Jataka Tales, Janam Kahanian and Wo Jo Kho Gaye. Aagay Sumandar Hai (Sea is facing you in the front) contrasts the spiraling urban violence of contemporary Karachi with a vision of the lost Islamic realm of al-Andalus in modern Spain.[7][3][8] His novel Basti is based on Pakistani history.[2]


On 2 February 2016 he died at National Hospital, Defence Housing Authority at Lahore on 2:45 p.m, after contracting pneumonia.[7][9] The Indian Express termed him the "best-known Pakistani writer in the world" after Manto.[10]


Hussain believed that two forces had risen in contemporary Pakistan: women and the mullahs. He also acknowledged his study and the influence of Buddhist texts and the Mahabharata.[11]


In 2016, Pakistan Academy of Letters (PAL) announced the ‘Intizar Hussain Award’ which would be given to a literary figure every year.[12]

Accolades and international recognition[edit]

In 2007, Hussain received the Pakistani civil award Sitara-i-Imtiaz (Star of Excellence) by the President of Pakistan. In 2013, he was shortlisted for the Man Booker International Prize after Frances W. Pritchett translated his Urdu novel Basti into English.[13] He received a lifetime achievement award at the Lahore Literary Festival. Newsweek Pakistan called him "Pakistan's most accomplished living author" in 2014.[4] In September of the same year, Hussain was made an Officer of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French government.[14]


  • A Chronicle of the Peacocks: Stories of Partition, Exile and Lost Memories[15]
  • The Death of Sheherzad[16]
  • Basti (1979)[17]
  • Chiraghon Ka Dhuvan (memoir) (1999)
  • Chaand Gahan (2002)[18]
  • Ajmal-I Azam (2003)[19]
  • Surakh Tamgha (2007)[20]
  • Qissa Kahanian (2011)[21]
  • Justujoo Kya Hai (autobiography) (2012)
  • Apni Danist Mein (2014)[22]


  1. ^ "I'm a man only of fiction" Intizar Hussain, Dawn, 23 April 2009
  2. ^ a b c d "Legendary writer Intizar Hussain passes away". Dawn newspaper. Retrieved 3 February 2016.
  3. ^ a b c "Intizar Hussain, leading Urdu writer, dies aged 92". The Guardian. Retrieved 3 February 2016.
  4. ^ a b Ahmed, Khaled (6 October 2014). "Silent Type". Newsweek Pakistan. Retrieved 3 February 2016.
  5. ^ "The ageless Intizar Hussain". Man Booker Prize.
  6. ^ Rumi, Raza (4 February 2016). "In memoriam: Writers like Intizar Husain never die, they live on in their words and ideas". Dawn. Retrieved 1 February 2017.
  7. ^ a b Intizar Hussain, Pakistan's 'greatest fiction writer', dies at 92, Published 2 February 2016. Retrieved 22 February 2016
  8. ^ Raj, Ali (2 February 2016). "Intizar Hussain – the seller of dreams". The Daily Tribune. Retrieved 3 February 2016.
  9. ^ "Intizar Hussain: Mourning an Urdu literary icon". BBC News. Retrieved 3 February 2016.
  10. ^ Ahmed, Khaled (31 October 2014). "An escape from ideology". The Indian Express. Retrieved 3 February 2016.
  11. ^ Imtiaz, Huma (13 February 2011). "FESTIVAL: The best of Urdu & other Pakistani languages". Dawn. Retrieved 3 February 2016.
  12. ^ "'Intizar Hussain Award' announced". Dawn. 10 February 2016. Retrieved 1 February 2017.
  13. ^ "Pakistani novelist among finalists for Man Booker International Prize". The Express Tribune. 24 January 2013. Retrieved 1 February 2017.
  14. ^ "Hommage de Fleur Pellerin, ministre de la Culture et de la Communication, à Intizar Hussain" (in French). Ministry of Culture. Retrieved 3 February 2016.
  15. ^ A Chronicle of the Peacocks: Stories of Partition, Exile and Lost Memories. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0195671742. Retrieved 1 February 2017.
  16. ^ The Death of Sheherzad. HarperCollins India. ISBN 978-9351362876. Retrieved 1 February 2017.
  17. ^ Basti. The New York Review of Books. ISBN 9781590175828. Retrieved 1 February 2017.
  18. ^ Hussain, Intizar. Chaand Gahan. Sang-e-meel. ISBN 978-9693506174. Retrieved 1 February 2017.
  19. ^ Hussain, Intizar. Ajmal-I Azam. Sang-e-meel. ISBN 978-9693509915. Retrieved 1 February 2017.
  20. ^ Hussain, Intizar. Surakh Tamgha. ISBN 978-9694265308. Retrieved 1 February 2017.
  21. ^ Hussain, Intizar. Qissa Kahanian. ISBN 978-9695811788. Retrieved 1 February 2017.
  22. ^ Hussain, Intizar. Apni Danist Mein. Sanjh Publications. ISBN 9789693527339. Retrieved 1 February 2017.

External links[edit]