Pakistani writer, teacher and critic Asif Aslam Farrukhi has passed away. He is survived by two daughters. He was 60 years old.
Dr Farrukhi founded the Karachi Literature Festival with former Oxford University Press managing director Ameena Saiyid. They later founded the Adab Festival in 2019.
He was a recipient of the Tamgha-e-Imtiaz.
Dr Farrukhi was born in September, 1959. He was the son of distinguished Urdu scholar, poet, researcher and writer Dr Aslam Farrukhi who passed away after a prolonged illness in 2016.
In 2014, Dr Farrukhi joined Habib University in Karachi as an associate professor and the director of the Arzu Center for Regional Languages and Humanities. He was employed by the university when he passed away. The varsity paid tribute to him in a tweet Monday evening.
Indeed we belong to Allah, and indeed to Him we will return! Habib University today has lost a key founding faculty member of its community Dr. Asif Aslam Farrukhi. We request our readers to say a prayer for Dr. Farrukhi and may he rest in eternal peace. pic.twitter.com/ZvpEe3KI00— Habib University (@HabibUniversity) June 1, 2020
According to Habib University’s website, Dr Farrukhi, a public health physician by training, did his MBBS from the Dow Medical College, Karachi in 1984 and Masters in Public Health with concentration in International Health from the Harvard University, USA in 1988.
From 1994 to 2014, he served as the health and nutrition programme officer at UNICEF, Karachi.
He known for his short stories and essays. Seven collections of his short fiction and two collections of critical essays have been published. He has published translations of prose and poetry from modern and classical writers.
Some of his works can be found here.
Tributes and condolences are pouring in for Dr Farrukhi.
Architect Marvi Mazhar, who served as a director at PeaceNiche, told SAMAA Digital she met Dr Farrukhi many years ago at her mother’s college reunion dinner. She said when she initially did not know anything about T2F and connected with him it was comforting as he was one of the few people, at the time, who took out time and spoke to her.
“The things we hear about Urdu literature from our elders, there is always a gap. He filled that gap,” Mazhar said, adding that Dr Farrukhi connected with young people and knew his work well.
Dr Farrukhi would give Mazhar books to know about the stories of Karachi and understand the city.
Uzair, a former Habib University student of the late writer, wrote a tribute for him:
Asif sahab, as we affectionately called him, is a big reason why I took to Urdu literature and poetry. He encouraged me to write a paper on Mir Taqi Mir when I was just a freshman, and then made sure I presented it in front of the entire university. He is — it is difficult for me refer to him in the past tense — the sort that did not really believe academic hierarchies when it came to students. He never refused a tea invite or a request for lunch. In fact, he never ate in the faculty café, and always joined a table full of students. He treated all of us as his friends, and taught us so much along the way.
He also supervised my undergraduate thesis. During the course of the year, he was perceptive in his guidance, gracious with his encouragement, and generous with his pardon. Before I left for London, he insisted that I must have the nihari of a particular restaurant. Some time ago, he contacted us and said that he was going to be in London soon. I had thought that I will finally have that nihari alongside him. It will be my treat. Alas!
Another student, Sana, said Asif sahb shared his knowledge and friendship generously. “He is absolutely all of his accolades and honors, and if one was to keep them all in mind, it would be intimidating to talk to him. But talking to Asif sahb was the easiest. He spoke to everyone, and it was as if he spoke in verse. I remember talking to another student about how Asif Sahb always managed to add such poetry to class lectures and joking that he must rehearse it beforehand – because how could he always manage to master the perfect sentence?” Sana said.
Heartbroken to hear about Asif Farrukhi sahib’s passing. He was the first person to invite me back to Pakistan to speak about Remnants at the @KarachiLitFest and refused to let borders encumber friendship. This is a real loss for Pakistan’s literary and cultural landscape.
— Aanchal Malhotra (@AanchalMalhotra) June 1, 2020
Tragic, tragic news: Intellectual, short story writer, translator, litfest organiser, teacher, @eosmagazine contributor and friend Asif Farrukhi has passed away. Massive loss for Pakistan’s literary landscape.
— Hasan Zaidi (@hyzaidi) June 1, 2020
Such a big loss 😱
Dr. Asif Farrukhi, a renowned writer & editor, passed away today. In addition to translating books, he edited & compiled anthologies of Pakistani writers. He also wrote on literature for newspapers, & periodicals. He was a recepient of Tamgha-e-Imtiaz. pic.twitter.com/FFbtCM3I3i
— Danyal Gilani (@DanyalGilani) June 1, 2020
Asif Farrukhi Sahab was a cultural and intellectual beacon for this city. Unbelievable loss for all of us and for Karachi. Thoughts and prayers with his family, friends and students. 💔 pic.twitter.com/CZh6P9huwy
— Nida Kirmani (@nidkirm) June 1, 2020
Rest in peace, Dr. Asif Farrukhi
A tragic loss for the literary community in Pakistan.
— Ayesha Noor (@Ayeshamxnz) June 1, 2020
We are deeply saddened by the sudden demise of noted author translator and critic Mr. Asif Farrukhi. May his soul rest in peace! pic.twitter.com/tQncWNsctO
— Rekhta (@Rekhta) June 1, 2020
For past one week every single day someone I knew closely has died. Today Asif Farrukhi. Sigh— mohammedhanif (@mohammedhanif) June 1, 2020