The Renaissance Man
7hen my friend Jawaid Iqbal asked me to do a piece on one who he called my old family friend, namely Anwar Maqsood, I must confess feeling slightly overwhelmed. The prospect seemed daunting, to say the least.
Bano who comes and sits with me after finishing her chores every evening remarked that I looked thoughtful and asked me why. I told her that I had been commissioned to write about a friend that I had known for almost four decades but surprisingly did not know where to begin to tell his story. Bano looked puzzled and incredulous. She asked who did I have a writer’s block about in spite of such a long duration of friendSHIP 7HEN ) VOLUNTEERED !NWAR "HAI S name for her information, Bano looked at me sympathetically and said: “Baji, woh tau khud itnay baray laykhat hain, aap kiya likh sakain gi unkay baaray mein?”. Roughly translated: Madam, what will you be able to write about someone who is such a great penman himself?
Her simple logic should have clinched it for me but oddly it served another purpose. It demonstrated to me the reach of Anwar Bhai’s talent and his art. It was evident that he is heard and respected as much in drawing rooms as he is in the streets. That his voice spans across all societal classes and his message responded to. In brief, Anwar is a man of the people. That is the measure of the man. That, too, is his charisma.
Anwar is the quintessential renaissance man. An intellectual, a writer, a satirist, a humorist, an artist, he is all of these and much more. He is a fearless commentator on the state of affairs in the country, whether political or social, and his razor