"Wo jiske paane mein ek umar kat gayi thi Nadeem, pal ek bhi to na guzra usi ko khone mein" (Getting whom I spent a lifetime, Nadeem, it took less than a moment to lose him).
That's one of the last verses of Ahmad Nadeem Qasmi who dedicated his life to the Progressive Writers Movement by virtue of his poetry and fiction and was one of its last living proponents till he died early this month.
The Progressive Writers Movement lost one of its most precious patrons in a fateful moment on July 10 when Qasmi breathed his last at Lahore in Pakistan.
"Qasmi was one of the last flag-bearers of this movement with which celebrated Urdu litterateurs like Faiz Ahmad Faiz, Krishan Chander, Ismat Chughtai, Rajinder Singh Bedi, Sardar Jafri and Kaifi Azami were associated," says renowned Urdu novelist Kashmiri Lal Zakir who earned popular acclaim by his play on partition, Karmanwali.
Even in the twilight years of his life, Qasmi preserved in him a passion for progressive writing and an indefatigable spirit of humanism, said Padmashri Zakir who is presently heading the Haryana Urdu Akademi.
"About three years ago when I visited Pakistan, we had a get-together of fellow writers in Lahore. Qasmi spoke eloquently on the need for 'carrying aloft the flag of humanism' further with the same zeal as was done so far by the progressive writers," Zakir said.
He also strongly advocated the cause of Indo-Pak friendship through people to people contact. "Aam aadmi na ladai chahta hai na dushmani (The common man neither wants war nor enmity)," Zakir said, quoting him as having told the gathering in Lahore, also attended by popular poet Qatil Shifai.
Zakir, who is among the senior-most living progressive writers in India says "Earlier, I used to say Qasmi is there in Pakistan to keep the torch of progressive writers movement burning and I am doing my bit in India.