By Salim Parvez
There is a good reason to wake up on the morning of 19th January, 2017 and applaud the achievements of Chishty Mujahid. As one of Pakistan cricket’s most enduring voices behind the microphone, both on Television and Radio, he completes his 50 years in broadcasting cricket commentary. Chishty Mujahid is known for his silken voice, his elaborate but simple vocabulary and correct pronunciation, his thorough knowledge of the game of cricket and his vast storage of history and anecdotes about cricket and cricketers.
His commentary assignments have taken him around the cricketing world. He has been to every test playing country and to the UAE. It is no mean feat indeed that Chishty, a man of articulate charm and subtle humour, has outlived his contemporaries, by a long distance.
Born in New Delhi, (British India) on 17th January, 1944, Chishty Mujahid accompanied his family, on 14th August 1947 flew direct from Allahbad to Karachi the capital of the newly created Muslim state of Pakistan that emerged on the world map in August 1947. After initial education at Trinity, and Gulistan Shah Abdul Latif English Teaching Schools in Karachi, Chishty obtained “O” and ‘A’ levels from Karachi Grammar School (1962). He graduated in English Literature and Political Science from National College (1964), Chishty completed his Law Tripos from Selwyn College Cambridge in 1966 and was awarded a Masters degree by Cambridge University in 1970.
The household names of Omar Kureishi and Jamshed Marker, kicking off with the first home series against India in 1954-55, had a mesmerising effect on the cricket public, as the pioneers of the radio commentary. In the days when commentary of cricket matches, was only associated with the English language, 23-year old Chishty, set off on a journey in a three-day fixture between South Zone and touring MCC u-25 team, at Niaz Stadium, Hyderabad. The two rival captains being the legendary Hanif Mohammad and Mike Brearley, who had also led Cambridge University in 1963-64. His first taste of Test cricket (on Radio and Television) came at Karachi during the New Zealand and MCC tours of Pakistan in 1969 .
Dating back to the historic Pakistan-India series in 1978-79, that took the fever of cricket and lifted the profile of the cricketers, to an unprecedented height, the trio of English commentators, Omar Kureishi, Iftikhar Ahmed and Chishty Mujahid, added their own individual persona, whilst reaching out to the masses. Chishty’s 15-20 minute slot, without fail, included, a short and sharp reminder of the full names of the Indian players, with a strong emphasis on correct pronunciation, more so with somewhat lengthy and complex South Indian variety that included Erapally Anantharao Srinivasa, Prasanna, Srinivasan Raghvan Venkatraghvan and Bhagwat Subramanya, Chandrasekhar, to name a couple. It simply reflected his desire to go an extra mile in educating himself and his listeners. Things definitely got a touch more complex, with the arrival of Sri Lankans in the 1980s but Chishty has refused to back on that score and his correct pronunciation of their full names was even appreciated by the Sri Lankans themselves.
During those days commentators’ fee on radio and television was not enough for those in this activity to make a career. As such men like Omer Kureshi, Iftikhar Ahmed and Jamshed Marker had to work in various companies and businesses. Chishy also worked in transnational corporations for more than thirty five years and on retirement worked on short assignments with IBA, Management Association of Pakistan as well as doing a brief stint as Chief Executive of the Pakistan Cricket Board during which he negotiated India’s tour of Pakistan which materialized in 2004..
That he continues to march on dutifully with the zeal and passion of the yore, despite there hardly been any noteworthy international cricket hosted on Pakistan soil , following the terrorists attack on the Sri Lanka team bus in Lahore in March 2009, is a great tribute to, both his work ethics and professionalism. Now 73, with no intention of hanging up his boots (or should I say microphone?) just yet, Chishty continues to feature in TV coverage of international (he has done several assignments with 10 Sports for Pakistan’s “home series” in UAE) and domestic cricket, including women’s cricket, as well as cricket talk shows on various channels.
Chishty has been the recipient of several awards including the PTV best commentator for cricket and squash , Radio Pakistan’s awards for cricket commentary, and was a deserving winner of the President of Pakistan’s Medal for Pride of Performance 2003 for cricket broadcasting and telecasting.
Chishty Mujahid’s wife is Durainow Fatima herself an alumna of Karachi Grammar School and a Masters in Science from Girton College Cambridge, and the recently retired Headmistress of the College section of Karachi Grammar School.
Their elder daughter Dr. Nadya a graduate from Bryn Mawr College, and M.Ed from Smith College and MA and Ph. D from McGill University is currently as Assistant Professor at the IBA. She is also a regular Book Reviewer for DAWN Newspaper. Nadya is married to a US lawyer and they have two teenage daughters.
The younger daughter Sumeeya a graduate of Hampshire College Amherst and a Masters from Harvard University works as a consultant in USA. Sumeeya is married to a physicist from Harvard and they have a son.