Javed Arif

My Namesake is No More!

By Syed Jawaid Iqbal | June 2023

‘A good man is hard to find,’ says Flannery O’Connor, an American novelist, short story writer, and essayist. Perhaps, her word to the wise, based on her years of moving experience along with her lifelong exposure to the earthly oubliette referred to as the human society, is more than an unalloyed truth, particularly applicable to such rare people as Javed Arif.

Over and above a childhood pal of mine and a schoolmate right from Sukkur, we had almost the same temperament and amiable nature and did not find it difficult to get close to each other. Someone who later proved to be a friend for life, Javed Arif was, indeed, my namesake, not only because of his forename but also thanks to his expansive nature that equaled both of us in practical terms.

He was more than a close relative to me, actually a yaar in the real sense of the word. He was already studying in class 6 when I was admitted to class 7 while returning from Chaman (Balochistan), where I was studying.

What life had in store for us or how much we had to be circled around to find each other from one place to another makes a riveting tale, as the latter stage of my life’s journey was thickly dotted with his footsteps. Javed Arif later emerged as my colleague for years at ThirdWorld (now SouthAsia) and Slogan magazines. He was looking after the marketing of both publications.

Glimps of Syed Jawaid Iqbal and Javed Arif from their schooldays.

Javed Arif was the life and soul of every party and an encyclopedia of business affairs and the world at large because of his exceptional photographic memory and observant mind. With a beaming smile spread on his face and the laughter hidden in his conversation, he was an anjuman in himself. He was also a gentleman of morals, an inspiration to everyone around whose way of thinking was positive and constructive and had nothing to do with despair and hopelessness.

He was a self-made individual and a very lovable person at heart. He was an umbrella for his family and siblings, especially after his father’s death. Sometimes it felt that his purpose in life was to make friends and relatives happy by helping them or sharing their sorrows and joys and comforting them in times of grief. The quality of sincerity in his personality was exemplary. Providing ease to others, he was sincere and was honest to everyone regardless of any relations. Even if a stranger told him to do something, he would do it diligently and not sit down until the job was done.

I could not visit him during his last days as I was out of the country, but his memory can never be erased so far his friends and acquaintances are alive. I think I run out of words while paying tribute to him, but the love, affection, and sweet memories of Javed Arif will never end. Alas! My namesake is no more.

Rest in peace, Javed Arif!