AIOU holds seminar highlighting services of Yousaf bhai (Mr. Books)

ISLAMABAD: Allama Iqbal Open University (AIOU) held here a literary seminar to highlight the meritorious services of late Mohammad Yousuf, owner of Mr. Books, who died early this month.

Mohammad Yusuf who was known as Yousaf Bhai by his friends and books’ lovers was eulogized for promoting books’ culture in the country.

The speakers including Vice Chancellor Prof. Dr. Shahid Siddiqui, senator Mushahid Hussain Syed, renowned scholar Prof. Fateha Mohammad Malik, anchorperson and columnist Hamid Mir, late Yousaf’s daughter Sana Yousaf and Dr. Samina Awan Dean Social Science, AIOU spoke high of his life-long devotion to the cause of education and knowledge.

The event was the part of the social and literary activities that take place in the University on regular basis to keep remember national heroes and the eminent personalities who served the country in a particular field.

It was jointly arranged by the University’s Departments of Urdu and Library and Information Services. Special prayer was also offered on the occasion for the departed soul.

While expressing grief and sorrow over his sad demise, they said he had left a big gap in literary circle and is difficult to get fulfilled. He inculcated love for books and engaged with the community in so many ways that helped him to earn a lot of respect and goodwill in the society.

We will always cherish what Yusuf bhai created with his sheer dedication and love for reading, said Dr. Shahid Siddiqui adding, the deceased was humble, lively and wise man. He had a versatile personality and loved reading.

He read out his recent Column, published in a local Urdu newspaper that narrates life-long struggle of Yousaf bhai for promoting a knowledge-based society. Yousaf Bhai was inspired by his father Yaqub sahib who had started his books’ business from Abbottabad in 1950 in the name variety book stall.  Later, Mr. Books was established in Islamabad in 1982 that earned a big name in the city.

His daughter Sana Yousaf said his father has been her ideal from childhood and she had named him in an article titled ‘my hero’. She said she found her father most hardworking and helpful to others.  He never said no to any needy persons. He had so big heart, even went to extent forgiving his kidnappers. His father had the passion for the books’ reading, and never took it as business.

Hamid Mir quoted his personal interaction with him that reflects the late Yousaf bhai’s personality as a good human-being and books’ lover. He was a silent political activist working the reformation for the society and its overall betterment. It was his dream to set up a coffee house in the city for a get-to-gather of the intellectuals for having talks on national issues. Hamid Mir hoped his family’s members will try to fulfill it.

Mushahid Hussain Syed appreciated the AIOU for arranging the literary gathering and noted that the Vice Chancellor has recently developed the University as a top-level quality institution. He recalled that the initiative of establishing Mr. Books in the city, stating that it was the same time when he took over as editor of the Daily Muslim. He always found him a true books’ lover, as he had been keeping himself well-versed with contents of famous books.

He had a better understanding of the readers’ requirements. Among others, intellectuals, scholars and diplomats were regular visitors of Mr. Books that was a sign of its importance in the literary circles. Addressing his daughter, Mushahid Hussain remarked that he was proud of your illustrious father.

Prof. Fateha Mohammad Malik thanked AIOU arranging first-ever event on the life of Yousaf bhai, stating this showed their commitment to promoting books’ cultures in the country. With the departure of late Yousaf, the society was deprived of a most revered person. This was also a setback to the efforts of developing a civilized culture and knowledge society. He said he had seen most famous persons visiting the bookshop. Books’ reading habit got flourished in the city because of Mr. Books, he added. The society needed people like Yousaf bhai who could work as source of knowledge.

Dr. Samina Awan appreciated Yousaf Bhai’s academic contribution stating said that over the years Mr. Books has been a source of knowledge for students and the teachers of the local educational institutions.