Dr. Anwar Shaikh, the poet, philosopher, historian, novelist and Vedic scholar, died on November 25, 2006, in Wales, Britain. He had been ill for quite some time, but despite weakness, he was mentally alert.
Dr. Shaikh was born on June 1, 1928, at Peshawar in the undivided India. His predecessors were Kashmiri Pandits. He had vivid memories of his grandfather, who despite being a Muslim convert, paid emotional and silent obeisance to the Shavalya, whenever he passed through that. His grandfather also revealed that his own grandfather became a Muslim in duress.
Dr. Shaikh was educated up to BA(BT) and had Deeni Taalim. Well-versed in the Quran, he was a devout Muslim. At the time of Partition, he took part in the Pakistan movement and was anti-infidels. However, the horrors of Partition had extreme impact on him and later he diverted his attention to rationalisation, reason and human rights.
A renowned poet, he had deep interest in Urdu language. He served this language diligently. His academic and literary tastes had insatiable appetite for excelling. He later studied further and explored the truth. His devotion to Urdu is recognised throughout the world. His invention of new styles and vigorous commitment to ensure that Urdu remained the daughter of the soil rather than becoming the cousin of foreign and distant lands are worth remembering. Various authors and journals acknowledged his capabilities and issued special honours, papers, editions to his credit.
In the 1950s after working as a teacher and later as a Railway official, he moved to Britain. He found the UK as a cogent venue for freedom of thought and expression. He like many other immigrants faced the hard realities, but passed the tests in flying colours and became a successful businessman.
He was also a truth-seeker. His works like Eternity, Faith and Deception made some Muslims angry and fatwas were issued against him. This did not deter his intentions and his other works like Islam?The Arab National Movement, Islam?Arab Imperialism, Islam Sex, and Violence, came out.
He was also firmly committed to revival of Hinduism and had pride in Vedic Civilisation. His other works, such as : Vedic Civilisation was duly commended. Various organisations such as Shakti Mandal and V.D. Rishi Trust honoured and also felicitated him.
He was a staunch patriot of undivided India, its past, its cultural heritage, which stood heavy onslaughts. His works like A critical view of the works of Alama Iqbal, The tale of two Gujarat saints, bear testimony to his unshakeable determination that one should identify the soil of his birth and be proud of it. His latest English title is Islam and Terrorism and Urdu title is Dil-e-Nadan.
He would be badly missed by those who liked him and also by those, who differed with his theological views.
(The author can be contacted at 28, Palmyra Road, Bromsgrove, B60 2RH, UK.)