“He writes with a candour that is sometimes unbelievable, even to a reader forty years removed from the event.” says Mahmood Farooqi in his excellently comprehensive foreword to the book he translated from Urdu into English. Habib Tanvir’s Memoirs came out last May and caused something of a stir. Critics applauded his prodigious memory and the sheer energy and verve reflected in his writing. Just one, Deepa Gahlot, noted the disrespect assigned to women outside of the family and the gossipy references to love affairs embarked upon by Habib and his friends in those early days. I would like to return to this particular commentary later.
An extraordinarily colourful band of individuals pass through his life from early childhood onwards; there is much mention of music, singing and poetry, and it is excitingly obvious that the mood and framework of Agra Bazar, Habib’s first really successful production, were well established in those vividly recorded early days. Insights abound into both the creative intelligence and the character traits that made up the man.
It is not my intention here to add another critique, rather more to put things right where my own relationship with Habib is described.