VARIS (HUSAIN) ALAVI is a veteran maverick Urdu critic with a down-to-earth, shockingly irreverent and acerbic style. He is the author of more than half a dozen collections of critical writings. He was born in 1928 in Ahmadabad, where he taught English at St. Xavier's College. Recipient of various honors, he was recently presented a prestigious award from the Ghalib Institute, Delhi.

PHOTOS BY M.U. MEMON (Shimla) 1996