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Obituaries: 1-15 January 2002

Renowned Kashmiri poet, Agha Shahid Ali, 52, died at his New York residence on 8 December after protracted illness. He was suffering from brain tumour. The renowned poet was born in New Delhi on 4 February 1949. He grew up in Kashmir and was educated at the universities of Kashmir and Delhi and did his PhD from Pennsylvania State University in 1984 and was presently teaching poetry at an American university. Considered to be a prominent English poet, Agha won many international prizes and honours. His works include widely acclaimed collections like The Half Inch Himalayas, A Nostalgic Map of America and The Country Without a Post Office. The last one is a passionate poetic recreation of agony in present-day Kashmir. For his last work Rooms Are Never Furnished, Agha Shahid Ali was nominated and short-listed for the prestigious American prize, National Book Award. His father Agha Ashraf Ali, himself a distinguished educationist, was by his side when the end came. 

Ghulam Sabir, a well-known qawwal of Rampur died at the age of 80 on 27 November in Aligarh. Ghulam Sabir often used to recite mystic (sufi) poetry. A few days prior to his death he broke his rib and was admitted to AMU Medical College where de died.

Well-known social activist, poet and connoisseur of literature, Rahmuddin Shastri has died. He was 54 and had been suffering from stomach cancer for four months. He is survived by his mother, wife, a son, a daughter and two brothers. Shastri was a humorous, cheerful and popular person. He was actively associated with the Congress Party. But he never desired any post. His absence will be deeply felt in Old Delhiís social and cultural life. 

Dr Abdul Qadeer Asghar, an old member of Jamaat-e-Islami Hind, recently died in Karachi. Born in Bulandshahar (UP), he was employed in Delhi but, compelled by circumstances he migrated to Pakistan and settled down in Karachi. He was a man of letters, well-versed in poetry as well as in prose. He wrote poems on Hindu-Muslim communal riots, cruelties let loose by Egyptís Col. Nasser on members of Ikhwanul Muslimeen and many other topics.

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