Islamabad:June 28:Iftikhar Arif, former chairman of Academy of Letters, has said that late Ubaidullah Baig was gem of multifarious branches of knowledge in addition to being writer, calligrapher, broadcaster, producer and expert in cooking.
Iftikhar was addressing the memorial reference on Ubaidullah Baig organised by the Academy of Letters here on Wednesday. Agha Nasir was the chief guest on this occasion.
Iftikhar said that Baig was a big personality for the country as well as for him because of the 50-year association. He said that towering personalities may have different regions, times and fields but one common thing is they are more givers than takers.
He recalled Afzal Siddiqui and Baig’s Radio Pakistan days to translate news for him so that he is also paid Rs10 in addition to the amount for news reading.
He said that despite meagre income, he did not let anybody else pay for the lunches, dinners they did together and taxi fare they travelled together. He said that Baig was an innocent person and he (Iftikhar) knows many students whose theses were written by Baig, who had many books on Indian history not found in libraries. He revealed that he had many birds in house and used to name roosters.
Iftikhar Arif disclosed that Qudratullah Shahab was sent to investigate if any cheating took place in ‘Kasauty’. He said that Baig had done ‘Dars-e-Nizami’ also and could easily translate into Arabic and Persian. He lamented that none of the episode of programme is available anywhere in archive.
He said that once we wrote a piece on ‘Qurb-e-Qiamat’ in Hurriyet and CID was after us as to know who were these people trying to bring hell in this country.
Agha Nasir said that Baig had not formal education, but was well read, translated books and wrote novels. He said that TV shot him into prominence. ‘Sailani’ was another marvellous programme that introduced cultures of all the regions to the viewers, he said recalling his documentaries and qualities as broadcaster also. He said that Ubaidullah became unconscious out of sentiments when reciting ‘dua’ at the end of Juma prayers at a ‘minerate’ of Shahi Masjid during 1974 Islamic Summit. He mentioned the trio of Ubaid, Iftikhar and Quresh Pur.
Asghar Abid who worked with Baig, during his stint as head of Public Relations section of state run TV said that Baig was interested in journalism, environment. He said that Baig Sahib used to read Persian news from Urdu script by live translation. He said that in his novel ‘Rajput,’ he religiously changed name and places while retaining all the objectivity of the true story.
Baig’s friend Nasir Malik said that Baig was fond of ‘maash ki daal’ and ‘phulkaas’ prepared by his sister-in-law Salma who later became Baig’s wife.
Once he refused to have dinner of an AC, which was arranged by an SHO because it, according to him, was not ‘halal’. He said that Ubaidullah was fond of hunting and master in cooking hunted animals and birds.
Novelist Shahid Hameed said that TV and radio once upon a time talked differently than the way they talk now when old faces like Mehdi Hasan and Prof Afaq Siddiqui are leaving us.
PAL Chairman Abdul Hameed said that he never met Ubaidullah but was impressed from his memory. Writer Anjum Khaliq also spoke on the occasion.The news.