RIP Asim Butt (1978-2010)

Posted on January 15, 2010
Filed Under >Adil Najam, Art & Literature, People
17 Comments
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Adil Najam

I did not know Asim Butt.

Except through the excellent review of his art done by Raza Rumi and carried by us at ATP in July 2008, and through the ‘Eject’ sign graffiti that because popular in many civil society circles during the last days of Gen Musharraf’s government. But hearing today that he has died in what may be a suicide has left me down and dejected.

It is partly because a person of such obvious talent and great potential, someone with a strong political conscience and a desire and the ability to act on that conscience, and someone so young (“in the prime of his life” as we Pakistanis say) is no more. But it is also the way he has departed. Or chosen to depart. All death leaves one speechless for a minute. Suicide leaves one even more dumbstruck.

If it was a case of suicide, I do not know why he would do so. Frankly, I am not very eager to find out either. I have no interest in the morbid voyerism of digging into potentially scandalous stories that lurk in the shadows of human tragedy.

I just know that a young man who could have done so much and had real impact, has chosen to end his life.

That, I know, is a tragedy. A tragedy not only for the family and friends of Asim Butt – to whom we offer our condolences and prayers of strength in this time of trial. It is a tragedy, also, for all of us.

How can the needless loss of a 31 year old man not be a tragedy? No matter who the person was and no matter what the circumstances.



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P.S. A wonderful tribute to the activism of Asim Butt has also been written by Teeth Maestro at his blog (here).

17 Comments on “RIP Asim Butt (1978-2010)”

  1. Rashid Ali says:
    January 15th, 2010 10:01 am

    Thank u Adil for this article. It is sad that a young man took his life, a talented young man. Not many in Pakistan will probably pay any attention due to the current violent and poverty ridden state of affairs. Here, there has been a death of a mind who could have given our nation gift of art, sensitivities, intellect. These attributes in our society are limited to a tiny fringe. His display of art and culture could have helped to bring our communities together

  2. Alamdar says:
    January 15th, 2010 10:13 am

    Adil, the sensitivity of your words is always moving.

    I, too, did not know him but am moved the same way you are. Not just because a talent has been wasted, but because a life has been.

  3. Jabbar says:
    January 15th, 2010 11:37 am

    Very sad. Such a waste.

    I pray for his family. Rest in Peace Asim.

  4. January 15th, 2010 11:52 am

    Life sucks!!!

    What an extraordinary talent! and what a universal loss for future of Pakistan!!

    (anybody knows about his personal life?)

  5. Hamed says:
    January 15th, 2010 12:04 pm

    I can’t believe it. I knew him through Facebook and we sent many messages. I can’t believe this. I invited him to Iran in coming months to show his paintings and talent to Tehranian people but now we have lost this great opportunity. I liked his art a lot and he was a great talent and a real friend. Rest in peace Asim.

  6. N.Saeed says:
    January 15th, 2010 12:09 pm

    zindagi-ki-diary-what is the point of asking about his personal life?all you can do is pray for his soul

  7. Raheel says:
    January 15th, 2010 12:57 pm

    Sad case. He was really talented. RIP!

  8. AKS says:
    January 15th, 2010 1:17 pm

    Hi Adil,

    Thank you for the post. We’re all just coming to term with Asim’s untimely demise and all we can say is that may his soul rest in peace. I fell in love with his work when I was still a teenager and over the years his work continued to grow on me. It is wonderful to see so many people speak affectionately about Asim and appreciate his immeasurable talent .

    The suddenness of his death has left us all shattered. His family and friends are still coming to terms with the shock his death has brought. Articles and posts that celebrate Asim’s work allow us to celebrate Asim’s life and all that he achieved in such a short time.

    As someone who grew up watching Asim paint and saw first hand the immense dedication Asim had for his work I can tell you Pakistan lost a great artist today.

    We will never forget you my friend, my brother.

    Please say a little prayer for him.

    Adil, if it is possible please amend the title of this post, it would be much appreciated if you didnt reference the nature of his death.

  9. ylh says:
    January 15th, 2010 2:29 pm

    Are you sure you are not confusing Asim Butt the artist with Asim Butt the cricketer who died in November?

    Besides 2010 – 1967 = 43 not 31.

  10. Humaira says:
    January 15th, 2010 3:44 pm

    Thank you for a kind and caring post. Thank you also for the sensitivity of with which you have written it.

    He led a short but purposeful life. Let us celebrate his life and achievements.

  11. Numaan says:
    January 15th, 2010 7:09 pm

    I never met Asim but I knew him for a long time now. He was not only a great artist he was also a wonderful human being. He was kind hearted, loving, and caring.

  12. Sana says:
    January 15th, 2010 7:22 pm

    i didnt know him personally but i loved his work..
    can anyone please tell me what happened to him and how and when? and where?

  13. Bushra says:
    January 15th, 2010 11:33 pm

    A sad story. I did not know him or his work before reading this. But it is the loss of a precious life. For some reason I have been depressed all day since hearing this.

    Thank you ATP for dealing with a difficult issue and a loss with such sensitive words.

    May he rest in peace.

  14. Shayan says:
    January 17th, 2010 5:34 am

    RIP Asim

  15. Ansa says:
    January 18th, 2010 1:47 am

    I was lucky enough to meet and know Asim .
    There was never a dull moment when Asim was around. He seemed to challenge everyone and everything around him with his immensely real and profound sense of selfhood . He was a strange , remarkably curious , wildly imaginative and gifted young man . It is with a very heavy heart that I read of his loss. He will be genuinely missed. May God rest his soul in peace, amen.

  16. Saadia says:
    January 18th, 2010 6:15 am

    Sad to hear of this loss.

    An artiste is a delicate soul and maybe our society is too harsh for artistes to thrive in.

    Thank you also for a well written and caring post that touches the heart because it comes from the heart.

  17. Syed Saquib Saeed says:
    January 18th, 2010 8:34 am

Have Your Say (Bol, magar piyar say)