Mushtaque Ahmed Yusufi – An Introduction



We are the music makers,
And we are the makers of dreams
…We are the movers and shakers
Of the world for ever it seems

Mushtaque Ahmed Yusufi quoting Arthur O’Shaugnessy’s soulful verse well explains the role of an artist in society

He has written four books:
Chiragh Talay (1961)
Khakam e b’dhan (1969)
Zarguzasht (1976)
and Aab e Gum(1990).

The first two books won the Adamjee Prize, while the last one got the Hijra Award as well as Pakistan Academy of Letters’ Award.

Here are his words on humor culled from Pehla Patthar/Chiragh Talay and Dast-e-Zulaikha/Khakim Badhan. Translation and re-arrangement is entirely mine and is not literal.


I know this much that I am blessed. I can laugh at myself and at my miseries and afflictions whenever I want to. And if I can share this trait with you I will consider myself a lucky person. I have never claimed that laughter can turn gray hair into black. But I also know this that with laughter the gray hair do not appear as bad.

Freedom of Laughter is, in my opinion a greater freedom than Freedom of Speech. It is my firm belief that if a nation can laugh freely (at itself) it can never be enslaved.

I am aware that this ‘light’ of humor can neither lit a fire nor cremate a body.

Humor is the fire that is felt unseen.

Some consider humor should be used as a Reform Tool. If humor could do it, why would we need explosives?

Sense of humor is the real sixth sense.

Those who are blessed with it can easily overcome any obstacle.

In religion, alcohol and humor everything is easily soluble; all the more in Urdu literature

When the intensity of pain that results in ‘satire’ reaches a crescendo, it spreads throughout the body, invigorating every blood cells and every vein begins to cascade with ‘humor’. This process is the feverish outcome of the fierce fire raging in the blood transforming it into humor. Wood burns into coal; coal burns into ashes. But if the temperature of the inherent fire in the coal is greater than the temperature of the outer fire than the coal turns into a diamond.

But humor has its own sets of priorities and unique demands. It should be free of angst, bitterness and disillusionment. Or else the boomerang (of humor) will turn around and claim the humorist as its firsts victim.

For a humorist it is forbidden to advise, warn or quarrel. He builds a Wall of Laughter between himself and the bitter facts of life around him.

After this introduction to Mushtaq Ahmed Yusufi I will be serializing Mahajirzadeh Asadullah Khan: my tribute in English to his unique writing style. The we used is a first person singular much like the royal we. Urdu writers from a certain region frequently used hum (we) instead of maiN (me or I.)
next:II Mahajirzadeh:Manjhli and BaRi


Filed under History, Humour, Languages, Literature, Pakistan, Urdu, Writers

3 responses to “Mushtaque Ahmed Yusufi – An Introduction

  1. Mushtaq Ahmad Yousufi along with Mukhtar Masood (the author of Safar Naseeb) is one of my favorite writers. I especially like his first two books (Chiragh talay and Khakam Ba’dahan). Zarguzasht is his autobiography and Aab-e-Gum though contains excellent prose but it’s not as humorous as his first two books.

    I would beg to differ with the statement that humor should be free of angst, bitterness and disillusionment. In Urdu literature there are two kinds of humor, Tanz and Mizah. The abovementioned statement holds good for Mizah but not for Tanz which contains a lot of sarcasm and some bitterness. The writings of Justice (R) M. R. Kiyani can be said to fall under the category of Tanz.

  2. temporal3

    thanks for your comments


  3. Ata-ur-Rehman

    Yusufi provided a thick and pure material for humor writing, 100 books can be extracted from one of any his book. He is outstanding, May Allah Bless him. If he writes something more, it would be a greatest gift for his fans.
    Ata-ur-Rehman from Stockholm, Sweden
    hunsa_5 at oohay