Today marks the 48th death anniversary of dramatist Syed Imtiaz Ali Taj, without mentioning whom the discourse on Urdu literature remains incomplete. The people of the sub-continent owe a lot to Syed Imtiaz Ali Taj who gave countless services to all the areas of performing arts and literature, be it short story, poetry, film, journalism, editing, acting or translation studies. What he is most admired for is his ineluctable contribution to the genre of drama, in the discussion of which we usually refer to ‘Anarkali’, a work of Urdu literature admired by greats like Allama Iqbal, Patras Bukhari, and Munshi Premchand, of which countless adaptations have been made both in India and Pakistan.
We are not told that where Syed Imtiaz Ali Taj himself wrote dramas, he struggled hard to retrieve classical Urdu dramas, the collection, and compilation of which was not being given much attention back then. Where he himself produced works which students of literature read in their course books to date, he also made available to them the works he believed should be included in the literary canon. It is due to his successful endeavors that we have the works of dramatists like Ronaq, Araam, and Zareef available to us along with their biographical accounts.
We are not told that where Syed Imtiaz Ali Taj himself wrote dramas, he struggled hard to retrieve classical Urdu dramas, the collection and compilation of which was not being given much attention back then
His services, however, are not confined to this, and it is for passing on the rest of the information related to Taj sahib’s life and works that his descendants have launched a website by the name of ‘Taj Tahir Foundation’. Conceived by Syed Imtiaz Ali Taj’s son in law, Naeem Tahir and sponsored by his daughter, Yasmeen Tahir and grandsons, Ali Tahir, Mehran Tahir and Faran Tahir, the website is an effort to acquaint people with the works of Taj sahib as well as of his parents, Maulvi Mumtaz Ali and Muhammadi Begum, his wife, Hijab Imtiaz Ali and his descendants whose names have been mentioned earlier, including Wajeeha Tahir, his granddaughter in law.
Before telling the rest of the details, it becomes very important to tell how these two literary families were brought together by fate to our good luck. In the 1950s, when Syed Imtiaz Ali Taj was actively working in theatre both as a writer and as an actor, he was approached by Naeem Tahir, then a student of Government College, who had come with a translation of a play along with some of his friends who wanted Taj sahib to go through it. From then onward, Taj sahib became a mentor to Naeem Tahir and the two creative people became close friends. This, later on, resulted in another beautiful match when Naeem Tahir was married to Taj sahib’s daughter, Yasmin and both of them worked so much for the arts, culture and literature of Pakistan that people still remember Yasmin Tahir’s radio show stretching over a span of more than three decades, and admire Naeem Tahir’s classical dramas as an actor, modern dramas as a writer and his research articles and newspaper columns on the subcontinent’s culture. The tree which Syed Imtiaz Ali Taj was, continued to bear fruits in the form of this couple’s sons, Mehran Tahir, Faran Tahir and Ali Tahir, who then paired with Wajeeha Tahir to give some of the best dramatic pieces to Pakistan.
In order to give authentic, minute details regarding all the family members and their respective works, Taj Tahir Foundation has been launched by Imtiaz Taj’s descendants. Be it their written, directed, produced or performed works in the areas of drama, film, journalism, radio, story writing, novel writing, poetry, translation or editing and compilation, the website provides all the information people need to know. The knowledge regarding arts, culture, and literature of Pakistan which is being given to the people is valid, for it has been gathered, compiled and uploaded by the Taj sahib’s children and grandchildren themselves.
Another significant thing regarding the website that needs to be told is that it will not only stay confined to the contributions of the family which have been given, but will keep itself updated regarding the upcoming projects, and will be engaging aspiring, talented people from different fields in order to make those projects entirely new, rich, and welcoming. Classical and modern works will go hand in hand, for youngsters while will work for the new projects of the literary family, will probably get to know regarding their old works as well.
To sum it up, ‘Taj Tahir Foundation’ is a website that is a treat for us. Instead of using glaring colours on its interface and promoting hollow, superficial stuff in a glamorous manner, it makes use of few and subtle colours, namely black and white, and presents material that is rich and worth focusing on. Depicting that fruitful knowledge is what matters more for the family. Everything the viewers will come across will be classy, be it the written material, or the material available in audio and visual forms. It may turn out to be a propitious step for the students of literature, for whom knowledge regarding important people from the field will be available from a direct, reliable source. The address of the website is http://tajtahirfoundation.com/
Edited by Adam Rizvi, Compiled by Shams Ahmad
By Muhammad Ali Archives – Daily TimesCopy Published in Daily Times, April 19th 2018.