Intizar Husain

Intizar Husain was born in India before partition in Uttar Pradesh, on December 21st 1925. He emigrated to Pakistan in 1947 and lives in Lahore.

He gained a master’s degree in Urdu and another in English literature. The author of short stories and novels, he worked for the Urdu daily, Imroze. He worked for the Urdu daily Mashriq for many years and now writes a weekly column for the Karachi-based English language newspaper, Dawn.

A chronicler of change, Husain has written five novels and published seven collections of short stories. Only one of his novels is translated into English  and there are five volumes of his short stories published in English translations.

Naya Gar (The New House) paints a picture of Pakistan during the ten-year dictatorship of General Zia-ul-Haq. Agay Sumandar Hai (Beyond is the Sea) contrasts the spiralling urban violence of contemporary Karachi with a vision of the lost Islamic realm of al-Andalus, in modern Spain.

Basti, his 1979 novel, which traces the psychic history of Pakistan through the life of one man, Zakir, has just been republished as one of the New York Review of Books Classics.  Keki Daruwalla, writing in The Hindu in 2003, said “Intizar Husain’s stories often tread that twilight zone between fable and parable. And the narrative is spun on an oriental loom.”