Intizar Hussain

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Intizar Hussain
Born 7 December 1923
Dibai, Bulandshahr district, British India, now India
Died 2 February 2016 (aged 92)
Lahore, Punjab, Pakistan
Occupation Writer, Poet
Language Urdu
Nationality Pakistani
Alma mater Meerut College
Notable awards Sitara-i-Imtiaz Award (Star of Excellence)

Intizar Hussain (Urdu: انتظار حسین‎; December 7, 1923 – February 2, 2016) was a Pakistani writer of Urdu novels, short stories, poetry and nonfiction. He is widely recognised as a leading literary figure of Pakistan.[1][2][3]


Intizar Hussain was born in Dibai, Bulandshahr, British India in 1923, and migrated to Pakistan in 1947. His exact date of birth is not known, sources indicate that he was born on 21 December of 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.[1]

He wrote short stories, novels and poetry in Urdu, and also literary columns for Dawn newspaper and Daily Express newspaper.[1][2] The Seventh Door, Leaves and Basti are among his books that have been translated into English. 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 spiralling urban violence of contemporary Karachi with a vision of the lost Islamic realm of al-Andalus in modern Spain. [4][2][5] His novel Basti is based on Pakistani history.[1]

Hussain's wife Aliya Begum died in 2004. They had no children. In 2007, Hussain received the Pakistani civil award Sitara-i-Imtiaz (Star of Excellence) by the President of Pakistan. He was shortlisted for the Man Booker International Prize in 2013 after Frances Pritchett translated his Basti into English. He received a lifetime achievement award at the Lahore Literary Festival. Newsweek Pakistan called him "Pakistan’s most accomplished living author" in 2014.[3] In September of the same year, Hussain was made an Officer of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French government.[6]


On February 2, 2016 he died at National Hospital, Defence Housing Authority at Lahore on 2:45 p.m, after contracting pneumonia.[4][7] The Indian Express termed him the "best-known Pakistani writer in the world" after Manto.[8]


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.[9]


  1. ^ a b c d "Legendary writer Intizar Hussain passes away". Dawn newspaper. Retrieved 3 February 2016. 
  2. ^ a b c "Intizar Hussain, leading Urdu writer, dies aged 92". The Guardian. Retrieved 3 February 2016. 
  3. ^ a b Ahmed, Khaled (6 October 2014). "Silent Type". Newsweek Pakistan. Retrieved 3 February 2016. 
  4. ^ a b, Published 2 Feb 2016, Retrieved 22 Feb 2016
  5. ^ Raj, Ali (2 February 2016). "Intizar Hussain – the seller of dreams". The Daily Tribune. Retrieved 3 February 2016. 
  6. ^ "Hommage de Fleur Pellerin, ministre de la Culture et de la Communication, à Intizar Hussain" (in French). Ministry of Culture. Retrieved 3 February 2016. 
  7. ^ "Intizar Hussain: Mourning an Urdu literary icon". BBC News. Retrieved 3 February 2016. 
  8. ^ Ahmed, Khaled (31 October 2014). "An escape from ideology". The Indian Express. Retrieved 3 February 2016. 
  9. ^ Imtiaz, Huma (13 February 2011). "FESTIVAL: The best of Urdu & other Pakistani languages". Dawn. Retrieved 3 February 2016. 

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