The Express Tribune
Published Date: Jul 2, 2019
Pakistan is going through a crisis, but this turbulence might shake up things and a change for better could emerge once everything settles down, said noted progressive writer, historian and scholar of philosophy Ashfaq Saleem Mirza.
“Pakistan is suffering with a situation which I have never witnessed in my 76 years of life,” Mirza said at a ceremony held in his honour at Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI).
“This crisis will result in chaos,” he said. “However, I am optimistic that chaos can sometimes lead to betterment,” Mirza, while thanking the panelists for their thoughts.
SDPI honoured Mirza as a living legend for his life long struggle and matchless contributions to literature, especially to the literature of philosophy. A large number of friends, literary colleagues and members of civil society gathered to pay glowing tribute to Mirza.
Panellists during ‘Tribute to a living legend: Celebrating the life and work of Ashfaq Saleem Mirza’, organised by SDPI urged the universities to honour Mirza’s work with a doctorate degree, not because he needed it, but his work was valuable enough to be recognised and honoured with at least a doctorate degree.
SDPI’s Life Time Achievement Award was presented to Mirza by SDPI Senior Advisor Education and Religious Diversity Ahmed Saleem.
Moreover, eminent critic and author Dr Iqbal Afaqi said Ashfaq Mirza is an incredible personality of strength and patience, who gives confidence to his colleagues and friends in their difficult times. He said German philosopher Hegel’s literature was beautifully translated by Mirza in such a way that a common person can understand and learn Hegel’s philosophical thoughts. Mirza was among the very few personalities who wrote on German historicism, he added.
He urged Mirza to continue his writings, especially, with the perspective of post-modern conditions of society.
Kishwar Naheed, renowned Urdu poet said Ashfaq is a punctual and disciplined personality and she learns from his intellect and philosophical thoughts. She said Ashfaq is an optimistic personality who could find optimism in even the worst situation; he was even an optimist in the time of martial laws.
It was his optimism, which helped us and other colleagues stand strong against any oppression, she added.
SDPI Executive Director Dr Abid Qaiyum Suleri said our society is in a moral debt trap and SDPI’s tribute to a living legend series was an attempt to overcome this moral debt trap. He said the work and contribution of Ashfaq Saleem Mirza, especially in the literature of philosophy, was commendable and should be remembered. Those who wanted to understand philosophy, especially the young generation, must learn and benefit from Mirza’s work, he added.
International Islamic University, Islamabad (IIUI) Assistant Professor Dr Noor Fatima said Mirza’s contributions to literature are multi-dimensional in the field of Urdu literature, poetry, history and philosophy. She called upon universities to honour Mirza’s work with a doctorate degree, not because he needed it, but his work deserved to be recognised and honoured with at least a doctorate degree.
Dr Ravish Nadeem, eminent writer and poet said Mirza in his political and philosophical struggle never lost his patience. He said Mirza is a human with beautiful mind, and his personality has the traits of compassion, optimism, and progressiveness. Dr Naazir Mahmood urged Mirza to write his memoirs, especially about his struggle of left-wing politics.
Renowned scholar Dr Arshad Waheed said even in today’s growing era of censorship, Mirza with his poor health, stood with his friends in demonstrations against oppression and recorded his protest.