Mowahid Hussain Shah On a cold December evening four years ago in Washington DC, a phone call conveyed that Munir Niazi is no more. During his last days, Munir Niazi was frail and ailing, but his mind was lucid as ever. He often bemoaned the paucity of creativity and the difficulty of finding someone with whom a quality conversation could be held. Also, his core apprehension was of succumbing to 'them and ending up like 'everyone else. Munir was never in danger of becoming like everyone else. In the words of Robert Frost (whom he admired), he took the road less travelled. Coming from a landlocked area, he took to the seas and became a sailor in the navy. His initial foray into the world of poetry was in the English language. Munir maintained, first and foremost, that a poet has to be a thinker; otherwise, he is a mere versifier. Munir Niazi lived in the world of imagination and creation, of ideas and ideals. He was forever questioning the existing norms of a social setup where the venal and wealthy flourish with pomp and have a permanent aura of entitlement. In his last few years, I was privileged to be asked to participate in the private marking of his birthday on April 9 at his modest Lahore residence. There, the occasion used to become a mini-mushaira where Munir used to sit quietly and let other poets recite. Occasionally, a lady would hum his immortal Us Bewafa Ka Shehr, pricelessly sung by Naseem Begum in the 1962 movie Shaheed, or croon Kaise Kaise Log Hamare Ji Ko Jalane equally well-sung by Mehdi Hassan. His widow, Naheed Munir Niazi, along with a small circle of admirers, keeps the legacy of her spouse alive by hosting at her house memorial meetings on his December 26 anniversary. There were few poets that Munir Niazi rated. He, however, thought highly of Shailender, who hailed from Rawalpindi and composed memorable lyrics for R.K. Productions. A poet is often nave and not worldly wise - the creative impulse demands a mindset not marred by greed. It is the lot of such personalities that they are often forgotten when alive, and much-remembered after they are gone. It reminds one of fate of the great English Romantic poet John Keats - dying at 25 of Tuberculosis (TB) and buried in Italy - who was mistreated during his lifetime in England, but exalted after his death. The movie Bright Star tells the tale of Keats torment. The over-talkative media focuses on noisy politicians, who often dont know what they are talking about and who, in the larger scheme of things, wont matter tomorrow. What matters and shall be remembered 100 years from now will be those who did not have the herd mentality. Recalling Munir Niazi one discovers what is important: simple living and high thinking, in a world of lofty living and low thinking. At the end of the day, in a despairing culture, these are the few beacons that always emerge tall and offer a ray of hope. The writer is a barrister and a senior political analyst.