Vol. 5 No. 4                            "India is the cradle of the human race... " - Mark Twain

November 2010 "Canada is one of the oldest federations the planet still has up and running." - Roy MacGregor


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Canadian Urdu poet 
Ashfaq Hussain gets Pak Pride of Performance Award

ISLAMABAD – Ashfaq Hussain, a well known Urdu poet and writer, was honoured with Pride of Performance – a prestigious civil award of Pakistan. He was given this honour in recognition of his services for the promotion of Urdu literature. According to an official announcement here on Pakistan’s Independence Day (August 14), the Canada-based poet will be decorated at a ceremony to be held in Islamabad on March 23, 2011. He will also be given a cash award as part of the Pride of Performance medal.

Several prominent poets and writers of Pakistan congratulated Ashfaq Hussain for getting this honour. Ashfaq Hussain, an author of more than ten books, has made an extensive research work on the life and achievements of most renowned Urdu poet Faiz Ahmad Faiz. His famous books on Faiz included: Faiz Ek Jaiza, Ke Maghrabi Havaley, Faiz Shaksiat Aur Shairi.

Ashfaq Hussain was born in a lower middle class family. The eldest son of eight siblings, he lost his mother at the age of 13. He struggled throughout his academic years by working various part time jobs. He earned his Master's Degree in Urdu Literature from the University of Karachi in 1974. Hussain was elected Vice President of the Students Union of Urdu Department in 1973. He then spent one year as lecturer at Government Degree Science College, Karachi. Before migrating to Canada, Hussain was working as a Programme Officer at the Arts Council of Pakistan Karachi.

Ashfaq Hussain migrated to Canada in March 1980 and currently resides in Brampton in Greater Toronto Area. He initially started his business in Travel and Tourism industry. Hussain founded the Writers Forum of Pakistani Canadians in 1982 and was subsequently elected President of the organization. He then established U.I. Publishers, through which he edited and published the quarterly Urdu journal, "Urdu International Canada" until 1988. He started hosting an Urdu program on Asian Television Network in 1980.

For the last 30 years, he is associated with Asian Television Network (Urdu channel). In December 2006, ATN Canada honoured him with Life Time Achievement Award.

Ashfaq’s own poetry has been translated into English and Punjabi languages.  is often referred to as one of the pioneers of various literary activities in Canada. He bridged the gap of literary thrust in all over North America by organizing "Mushairas" and Urdu conferences and by inviting many world renowned Urdu writers and poets to these literary events. Ashfaq has the unique honour of being the Canadian host of great Urdu poets and writers of India and Pakistan. They included: Faiz Ahmed Faiz, Ahmed Faraz, Amjad Islam Amjad.

Ashfaq Hussain is a leading modern Urdu poet and an author of more than 10 books of poetry and literary criticism. He is considered by many as the foremost expert on the life and works of great Urdu poets Faiz Ahmed Faiz, Ahmad Faraz and also on Progressive Writers Movement.

His books includes: Faiz Ek Jaiza (1977), Aitbar (1979), That Day will Dawn (1985 - This book is both in Urdu and English languages. It is a compilation of Ashfaq's poetry translated by various authors), Neendar Nal Rishta (1986 - This book is translations of Ashfaq's poetry in Punjabi language), Ham Ajnabi Hain ((1992), Faiz: Habib e Amber Dast (1992), Faiz Ke Maghrabi Havaley (1993), Faiz Shaksiat Aur Shairi (2006)  - Ahmad Faraz: Yadoon Ka Sunehra Waraq (2008), Aashian Gum Karda (2009),  Mein Gaya Waqt Naheen Hoon (2010), and Urdu Text Books: Ashfaq was appointed as a coordinator for publishing children book for McGill University Montreal. This project was headed by Professor Dr. Sajida Alvi of McGill University. The concept was to prepare Urdu reading and writing materials for Canadian students as well as the Teaching Manual for Urdu teachers. Ashfaq also wrote a few poems for this project.


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