Sunday, 7 July 2019

Aligarh Wale Ibne Safi: Agatha Christie of East.Master of “Jasoosi Dunya”.

Down the memory lane. Those were the days when hindi films were regulary lived on big screen of Tasveer Mahal Cinema Hall (Aligarh).

There was a small book stall by the side of boundary wall of tasveer Mahal.That small book stall was the first to make me crazy for urdu literature, but a special liking of Jsoosi Dunya written by Ibne Safi.

Monthly magazines- “Bisvin Sadi”,” Shama”,” Bano”, kid’s magazine “Khilauna”,” Ruby” and some popular hindi magzins were also there.

Inspite of these litrary magzines, I was much allured to “Jasoosi Dunya”. The first Urdu authors that I began reading was Ibn-i-Safi writer of Jasoosi dunya. The generation of those still feels very nostalgic about Ibne Safi’s works.
 First of all, the reading habits are declining all over the world in general. We are not seeing A-class writers as we used to in the past.


The fantastical world that Ibne Safi had created, full of colourful, flamboyant and wise-cracking spies, beautiful women, strange-sounding villains, exotic places and odd gadgets.

His novels were characterized by a blend of mystery, adventure, suspense, violence, romance and comedy, achieving massive popularity across a broad readership in South Asia.

According to one of his autobiographical essays, someone in a literary meeting claimed that Urdu literature had little scope for anything but sexual themes.

To challenge this notion, Ibn-e-Safi began writing detective stories in January 1952 in the monthly Nikhat, naming the series Jasoosi Dunya.

Biography of Ibn e Safi
Ibne Safi was born on July 26, 1928, in the village of Nara in Allahabad District, U.P., India. His parents, Safiullah and Nuzaira Bibi, named him Asrar Ahmed at birth. It was much later that he came to be known as Ibne Safi.


Ibne Safi obtained his primary schooling in the village school at Nara. When he was only eight years old, he got an opportunity to read first volume of Talism-e-Hoshruba. The story made a great impact on his creative mind. He then read all seven volumes several times.
Ibne Safi completed Intermediate (High School Certificate) from Eving Christian College Allahabad. This was a co-education college.

In 1947, Ibne Safi enrolled in Allahabad University. Independence riots had started and one incident had also occurred on university premises. Due to the critical nature of an already tense situation, he was asked to stay home. 

After partition, when situation normalized in 1948, he did not re-enroll at Allahabad University.Allahabad University did not have any room for private students.So he moved AMU.Aligarh.

He received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Aligarh Muslim University.
Ibne Safi formed many close friendships during this period. After moving from Nara, his family had taken residence in Hasan Manzil, Allahabad, quarter numbers 15 and 16.

It was there that Ibne Safi met two brothers Abbas Hussaini and Jamal Rizvi (Shakeel Jamali) and their cousins Sarwar Jahaan (later known as Sarwar Hussain Abidi, an artist in Pakistan,) and Mujavir Hussain Rizvi (Ibne Saeed).
Ibne Safi’s other friends from this period include, Dr. Rahi Masoom Raza, Ishtiaq Haider, Yousuf Naqvi, Hameed Qaiser, Qamar Jalsai, Nazish Partab Garhi and Tegh Allahabadi (famous poet Mustafa Zaidi).

Nakhat Publications Allahabad
In 1948, Abbas Hussaini founded Nakhat Publications. Ibne Saeed was the Editor of the prose section, and Ibne Safi became Editor of poetry. 
At this time, Ibne Safi started experimenting with different literary genres on a regular basis, including short stories, humor, and satire. He used pseudonyms such as Sanki Soldier and Tughral Farghan.

His first story for The Nakhat was Farar (The Escape), which was published in June 1948. Ibne Safi, however, was not satisfied with his work. The eight-year-old who had swallowed Talism-e-Hoshruba was persuading him to create something entirely different, especially in prose.
With the advice of Ibne Safi, Abbas Hussaini made arrangements for publishing monthly detective novels. The name of the series was Jasoosi Duniya (The World of Espionage), and it was the first time Ibne Safi started writing with the infamous pen name of Ibne Safi.

Containing his original characters, Inspector Faridi and Sergeant Hameed, the first novel Dilaer Mujrim (The Brave Criminal) was published in March 1952. The plot of the novel was adopted by Victor Gunn's novel Ironsides' Lone Hand.  
At this time (1949-1952), Ibne Safi was by profession a secondary school teacher at Islamia School Allahabad, and later at Yaadgaar-e-Hussaini School. He maintained the school jobs, and studied part time to finish his education.

Ibne Safi migrated to Pakistan with his mother and sister in August 1952.
Ibne Safi migrated to Pakistan with his mother and sister in August 1952. They joined his father in Karachi, who had emigrated there in 1947. Ibne Safi’s first residence was in a locality called C-1 area, Lalukhet (now known as Liaqatabad).
Ibne Safi then founded Asrar Publications and started publishing Jasoosi Duniya simultaneously from Pakistan and India. The political border between the two countries did not divide the relationship he had formed with his readers


The Allahabad connection never broke. He moved to Pakistan but the books kept being published simultaneously from Karachi and Allahabad till the end.

Even when the mail could not be transacted between the two countries the manuscript from Pakistan used to get to Allahabad via England and other countries and the books appeared on shelves on both sides of the border about the same time. The connection still exists.

Nakhat Publications was closed down after the demise of Abbas Husainy and Shakeel Jamali as the offsprings took to other professions.
In Pakistan, Asrar Publications continued publishing the novels.


In 1953, Ibne Safi married Umme Salma Khatoon. She was born on April 12, 1938 to Muhammad Amin Ahsan and Riaz Fatima Begum. Her father was Deputy Superintendent of Police in Sultanpur, India. Salma had a family background of literary and religious personalities.

Her grandfather, the poet Muhammad Ahsan Vehshi, was a disciple of Haji Imdadullah Muhajir Makki. Salma’s uncle, Maulana Najm Ahsan, was a vicegrant (Khalifa) of Hakimul Ummat Maulana Ashraf Al Thanvi.
By June 1960, Ibne Safi had written the eighty-eighth novel of Jasoosi Duniya (Prince Vehshee) and the forty-first novel of Imran Series (Bay-Awaaz Sayyarah). However, only four issues were ever published. The excessive thinking and writing eventually took a toll on his health, and the magazine edition was discontinued.
Ibne Safi suffered from schizophrenia during 1960 and 1963, not writing a single word in those three years. With the prayers of his family, friends, and fans, Ibne Safi finally recovered from the illness in 1963 under the treatment of Hakim Iqbal Hussain of Karachi.


The author made a great comeback on November 25, 1963 with the bestseller Imran Series novel Dairh Matwaalay, which inaugurated in India by the Ex Interior Minister (later Prime Minister of India) Lal Bahadur Shastri.
The demand for this novel was so high that within a week a second edition was published in India. This edition was inaugurated by the then Provincial Law Minister Ali Zaheer.

In September 1979, Ibne Safi suffered from abdominal pains. By December of that year, it was confirmed these were a result of cancer at the head of pancreas.

Though his health deteriorated seriously and rapidly between December 1979 and July 1980, Ibne Safi did not quit writing.

On Saturday July 26, 1980, Ibne Safi passed away (Inna Lillahe Wa Inna Ilaihe Raje’oon).


This write up on Ibn-e-Safi has been prepared and posted with the help of different materials and book covers available on net ,with thanks.

2 comments:

Unknown said...

Still at an age of seventy year whenever I get any book of Ibne Safi, I try to finish it in one go.

Er. Maqbool Akram said...

thanks dear brothewr for reading this write up on Ibne Safi.