Few scholars have influenced the literature of Urdu, Tamil, Persian and Arabic as did the critically acclaimed Professor Emeritus Sajjad Bukhari in the three decades which saw him as a teacher, translator, writer and poet.
He was the vice chairman of Tamil Nadu Urdu Academy, president of Tamil Nadu Linguistic Minority Languages Forum and secretary, Amir Khusro Sangeet Academy.
He took upon himself to present to the people of this State, the beautiful nuances of Urdu and Hindi languages. He translated with great finesse ‘Main Dilli Hoon’, a popular Urdu serial to Tamil. Then came ‘Shaktiman’ and ‘Akbar the Great’, from Urdu and Hindi to Tamil.
It is hard to keep count of how many forewards and publications he brought out as a proprietor of Sarmadhi Publications. ‘Wonders of God’ was yet another successful serial based on the Bible.
As a poet, he was a significant part of mushairas, and literary seminars, conducting and also participating in them. At the Madras University, he successfully completed the multilingual dictionary project. A man whose acumen was recognised all over the country, he worked on the English Tamil Urdu dictionary for the Bihar Education Department. He was also associated with the translation of ‘Agananoor’ — a collection of 400 poems funded by the Central Institute of Tamil Languages and Literature.
He went on to tease others from complacency into poetic utterances. Munna Shaokath Ali — a poet could not but give a tearful tribute, “Mutma-in thee zindagi, Ujlat kahan se aa gayee, Ilmo fun pei na-g-han aafat kahan se aa gayee, Dosto mein baith kar tumse uthaa jata na thaa, Uth gaye duniya se, Yeh himmat kahan se aa gayee.”
Ghalib Academy New Delhi commissioned him to translate poetry of the celebrated Mirza Ghalib from Urdu to Tamil — a herculean task. He also wrote many ghazals. His friend and confidante of 40 years, Professor Ahmed Basha of Jamal Mohd College has taken upon himself to complete his incomplete projects. I personally knew Sajjad Bukhari as a loving brother, who had in me a great listener. A little baithak in his house listening to ghazals with many rounds of tea is a memory that would stay etched in my mind.
“Bhai ko bahut khoobiyan bakshi thee khuda ne, Dete the sada ilm ke poshida khazane,
Ik baar dua lene ki dil mein thee tamanna, Mohalat na di thodi si bhi kambakhat Qaza ne.”