My family traces its lineage back to one of those very few Hashemite families (known as Sayyids in some regions of the Islamic world and South Asia) who travelled to India in the year 1595 AD, during the Moghul emperor Abu’l-Fath Jalal ud-din Muhammad Akbar’s reign (1556–1605). We still have in our possession the Family tree parchment (Shajrah Alnasab) that our earliest ancestor Syed Sayeedul Mulk (b. 1550) who first came to India, carried with him. My grandfather Nawab Syed Shah Wajid Hussain (1884-1952) of Khusropur was a Member of the Legislative Council of Bihar from 1922 to 1927. Khusrupur is situated at the bank of the Ganges. It is located at 34 km on NH 30 and 31 km by rail from state capital Patna in the Indian state of Bihar. Nawab Syed Shah Wajid Hussain’s sprawling country estate encompassed 25 villages and towns around Khusropur and stretched west to Telmar, bordering the Nalanda district, 92 km from Patna. My father late Syed Shah Asghar Hussain (1915–2013) was an eminent legal luminary and a distinguished lawyer of the Patna High Court. He was a polymath who was blessed with a versatile intellect, and was a voracious reader whose knowledge, in addition to his legal expertise, spanned a significant number of different subject areas. One can find the extraordinary quality of his mind in his book, “Strings of Thoughts”, published by Satyam Publishing House, New Delhi, 2012; ISBN:978-93-81632-27-7.
As an unbiased observer of peoples, places, lives, times, and all things of this world which are in so constant a flux, that nothing remains long in the same state, I have been spending a good part of my life teaching English literature, for the past thirty-four years, and keeping on an affair – a temporal affair – with the liberal arts, since I became acutely conscious of the fact that I had started existing.
This page records the thoughts, experiences, passions, and predilections that have shaped my life and nourished my writings through the shifting sands of time. As I travelled long distances, answering my vocational callings, my intellectual appetite, and my passion for literature accompanied me, like the stars that sail slowly along with their moon on their nocturnal excursions.
The abiding values of faith, humanity, love, honesty, dignity, human relationships and endeavour, forces potent enough to change our planet into an earthly paradise, have constantly occupied my thoughts, but not without a painful and sobering realization that these living values are battered and bruised, trampled upon by the malicious stamp of time, which like inebriated elephants goes on plundering, until human morality drops down from its highpoint, like wasted birds plummet from their perches.
Being increasingly conscious of the dichotomy of existence, I discover and relive my memories, my experiences, of private, domestic, social, cultural, historical, and religious events and occurrences that unfolded as the years rolled on and on. I relive them all, and have been doing so since long, over and over again, through the novels, stories, poems, and plays I read, in the pages that capture those moments that have been my own experiences. I see my own life in them, my own existence which is not separated from my experiences. I see them all scattered in the books, reincarnated in different characters and forms. This reminds me of the great lines from one of the poems of Sir Mohammed Iqbal, the great Urdu poet, “Some pages tulips lifted, some narcissus, some roses/ Spread all around the garden my memoir there reposes”.
My books “Ideology and the Poetry of Stephen Spender”, “Read and Learn”, “Ashes in the Fire”, “Despairing Voices”, and “The Eastern Brew”, are as much inspired by the literary, social, historical, cultural, political, and religious forces in conflict, and bearing dreadfully on the life of the post-independence population in India and Pakistan, as they are by an emotional and ideological conflict raging within my mind, as a result of those harrowingly painful experiences.
Two other English anthologies of translated stories, entitled “Nameless Lanes” and “The Withered Leaves” are going to appear by the end of the year 2016, followed by a volume of my own stories in English titled “The Blue-Bleak Embers”, and “My Meandering Muse”, a collection of my poems. My journey as a writer goes on, if life allows it and wills me to wake up to and reconstruct through my writings the macrocosmic and microcosmic realities that confront my existence.