Taj Tahir Foundation - History
The story began on July 1, 1898, when Shams-ul-Ulema Maulvi Syed Mumtaz Ali, launched Daar-ul-Ishaat, a publication house which became the single largest source of knowledge, and literature in Urdu Language. With iconic contributors such as Hafeez Jalandhari, Khwaja Hasan Nizami, Deputy Nazeer Ahmed, Muhammadi Begum, Maulana Shibli Naumani, Hijab Imtiaz Ali, Maulana Altaf Hussain Hali, Akbar Ilahabadi, Muhammad Din Taseer, Faiz Ahmed Faiz, Patras Bukhari, Abdur Rehman Chughtai, Syed Imtiaz Ali Taj, Sir Allama Muhammad Iqbal writing and illustrating the best works of Urdu Literature, Daar-ul-Ishaat became the doorway to knowledge.
This publication house launched, Tehzeeb-e-Niswan, the first women’s weekly magazine in the subcontinent, with Muhammadi begum (Maulvi Mumtaz Ali’s wife) being it’s Editor. The idea was to provide awareness and knowledge to women of all ages. In 1909, the first children’s weekly magazine, Phool was published by Daar-ul-Ishaat, with the view of creating awareness in the children of subcontinent at an early age, when digital media was not around.
Maulvi Mumtaz Ali and Muhammadi Begum, were blessed with Syed Imtiaz Ali Taj, their son in the year. 1900. He became one of the greatest dramatists, film writers and humorists in Urdu Language. He was a writer, actor, director, and is credited with preserving Urdu Classic Literature and Drama, by compiling and publishing masterpieces. He is commonly known him as the author of Anarkali, a stage play, which has been inspiring various renditions in theatre, television and films in the subcontinent since 1921.
Syed Imtiaz Ali Taj’s wife, Hijab Imtiaz Ali, is an iconic writer, known for her Fictional Short Stories and Novels. She was became the first Muslim woman pilot of the British Subcontinent in 1934.
Taj and Hijab’s daughter, Yasmin Tahir, became one of the most popular voices of Radio with shows such as Fauji Bhayyon Ka Program, 52292 – the first call in show on Radio in Pakistan, Western Music for youth, and Saat Rang – which introduced an interactive approach in Radio. She was also amongst the first female actresses on stage, and acted in various stage plays considered today as milestones, in theatre.
Yasmin Tahir, married Naeem Tahir in 1963. Naeem Tahir had been passionately involved with Radio and Theatre. With a degree in Theatre Arts from University of California, Los Angeles, Naeem Tahir became one of the finest actors and directors in Pakistan in the past half a century. He is known for building institutions such as Arts Council, Lahore (1964 – 1968) and Pakistan National Council of the Arts (2004 – 2008). His contributions in creating an image for Pakistan, abroad, is among one of his most important contributions.
Yasmin and Naeem Tahir’s, three sons, have taken the family image, a step further in contemporary acting, direction and production. Their son, Faran Tahir, lives in California, USA and is a known Hollywood actor with films like The Jungle Book, Iron Man 1, Star Trek, Elysium, Charlie Wilson’s War, Escape Plan to name a few. He has also appeared in television in USA in NYPD Blue, The West Wing, 24, Grey’s Anatomy, Supernatural, Dallas, Warehouse 13, The Blacklist, Scandal and The Magicians among many others. He has also been a known name in the theatre circle in USA, with his portrayal of characters like Othello and King Richard – III.
Naeem and Yasmin’s son Mehran Tahir, has been producing television serials in Pakistan. His production and writing work has been seen in Taj Classics and Rung, both aired on Hum TV channels. He is working on productions for film and television in Pakistan.
Naeem and Yasmin’s, youngest son, Ali Tahir is a known name of the Pakistan, theatre, television and film industry. He is one of the most respected names in acting and direction today. His characters in popular tv shows Teen Bata Teen, Ajnabi Rastey, Nayi Qameez, Mohabbat Subah Ka Sitara Hai, Rung, Iltija, Sangsar, Mujhe Jeenay Do have been popular as well as appreciated by the critics. Ali Tahir’s sole acting credit in Films (Chambaili), became a milestone in Modern Film Industry. He stepped into television direction with the critically acclaimed Taj Classics on Hum TV. His television serial Samjhota Express, was one of the biggest productions of television history in Pakistan. Currently, he is a Visiting Lecturer in the Television, Film & Theatre Department at Beaconhouse National University, Lahore.
The Taj – Tahir family has been the most significant contributors in literature, theatre, television and film for over a century. For further information, on these individuals click the following.