Indian Muslim philosopher commemorated
Regional-India, Religion, 8/31/2006
Rich tributes were paid in a day-long seminar held in memory of the late Prof Seyed Waheed Akhtar, noted poet, scholar, writer, thinker and foremost intellectual of his time in India as well as abroad.
The commemorative function, which was held under the auspices of the Department of Urdu of Jamia Millia Islamia (Millia Islamia University) in New Delhi, was presided over by Prof Mushirul Hasan, vice-chancellor of the university.
Sayyed Sebte Razi, governor of Jharkhand, was the guest of honor at the seminar, during which dignitaries recalled the eminence of Dr Waheed Akhtar and shed light on many facets of his personality as well as discussed at length the rich body of works he left behind to the benefit of future generations.
Other eminent speakers and scholars included Prof Shahryar, a very famous Urdu poet, Prof Qamar Raees, vice-chairman of the Delhi Urdu Academy, Prof Vaghesh Shukla, a prominent Hindi scholar who spoke of Dr Akhtar's Urdu poetry, literary criticisms and philosophy.
The event was attended by a large number of Urdu poets of international fame as well as Hindi scholars and philosophers like Kamlesh Shukla and Vaghesh Shukla. Other speakers included Hojjatul Islam Aqeel Gharavi, who shed light on the life and Islamic character of the late Dr Akhtar, his mastery and works in philosophy, particularly Islamic philosophy, and the way he had made great strides in this subject in India.
Some renowned journalists of India also attended the seminar from various TV channels and newspapers in Hindi, Urdu and English languages.
Among the foreign dignitaries who also attended and paid tributes to Dr Akhtar were Shakeeb, cultural counsellor in the Iranian embassy in New Delhi, and Mozaffarian, director of the Iran Culture House/ The late Dr Waheed Akhtar contributed voluminously to Islamic literature and philosophy.
Recognized as an Islamic thinker of modern India, Waheed Akhtar wrote more than 16 elegies (marthieh) on the lives and martyrdom of Imams of the Infallible Household of the Holy Prophet (PBUH).
Eight of his elegies were compiled into a book named "Karbala ta Karbala." Apart from his compilations of Urdu poetry and various writings, he also taught different subjects in philosophy (Islamic, western philosophy, mysticism) at Aligarh Muslim University, where he finally retired as professor and dean of its Faculty of Arts.
"Iqbal and his Modern Thought" and "The Early Shi'ite Imamiyah Thinkers" are some of his works published in English.
The late Dr Waheed Akhtar had an inseparable affinity with Iran in two ways; firstly, his wife, Mahliqa Qaraei, was an Iranian national and famous translator who was killed when the Iran Air flight she was traveling on was hit by a US Navy missile in the Persian Gulf in 1988; secondly, he served as editor of Al-Tawhid an English journal in Islamic philosophy compiled and published by the Islamic Propagation Organization from 1984 to 1987.
The late prof Waheed Akhtar also attended several international seminars and conferences in Iran, namely, the international Seminar on Ghazali at Tehran University, 1986; international Seminar on Teaching Persian in the Subcontinent, Tehran, 1986; international Seminar on Iqbal Lahori, Tehran University, 1986; international Seminar on Hafiz Shirazi on his eighth centenary, Shiraz, 1988; international Seminar on Hadi Sabzewari, 1993; international Seminar on Islamic Culture and Civilization: Past, Present and Future, Tehran, 1994.
In later years he also contributed to Thaqlain, a journal in Iran which published discussions and talks on Iranian radio and television on various topics ranging from Urdu language and poetry, Persian poetry and poets and the Islamic concept of Vali-e-faqih and Velayat.
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