Monday, August 31, 2009

Urdu poets (Noshi Gillani)

Noshi Gillani (born 1964 in Pakistan) is a poet who lives in the United States. She has published five collections of poetry. A compilation of her selected poems, Ay Meeray Shureek-E-Risal-E-Jaan, Hum Tera Intezaar Kurtay Rahey (O My Beloved, I Kept Waiting for You), was published in 2008. In 2008, her poems were read in the U.K., with the Poetry Translation Centre's World Poets' Tour.

She hosted a tribute to folk singer Pathanay Khan, sponsored by the Pakistan National Council of the Arts (PNCA).

She is married to another poet Saeed Khan on October 25, 2008. It was reported, that her mother Mrs. Sarwar Gilani Sahiba, a professor of Urdu and Farsi languages and literature, died in Bahawalpur, Pakistan.

While Wasti is a veteran in the field, Zahid Fakir and Noshi Gilani are poets of the eighties ---youthful but enthused with the immense creative dynamism. Their maiden publications tend to herald their debut as poet authors with a bang by virtue of their popularity with readers as poets of mushaira...her creative forte is the nazm. But a surfeit of the 'egotistical sublime' tends to mar the poetic value of her work. She is perhaps too obsessed with the idea of her poetic experience.

"Noshi Gilani is the most renowned female Urdu poet today."

Urdu poets (Bashir Badar)

Bashir Badr, a fine poet, has lately become an embarrassment for the entire Urdu fraternity.
His excessive bragging and boastful statements suggest that he is bordering megalomania.

In a recent interview published in a prominent Hindi daily newspaper, Badr, said that if Mir and Ghalib were alive even they would be jealous of his popularity. Though the interviewer didn’t ask him, he repeatedly said that he owns plush house that has over ten rooms on both the floors.

Badr is the Chairman of Madhya Pradesh Urdu Academy and got the post due to sycophantic ways. When asked why the Academy has stopped publishing books and helping writers who are living in penury, he said that he was not aware of that.

When he was asked that a veteran poet like Raza Rampuri is seriously ill and needs financial support but why the Academy hasn’t bothered, Badar didn’t care to answer. Flying off at a tangent, Badr said that he considerd Atal Bihari Vajpayee as his father.

He kept on saying things like, “I make lot of money, earn thousands for a single couplet and that he is the last poet in the line of great poets of Urdu that is a language borne out of Sanskrit”.

Ironically, Badr has been sycophantic to such an extent that he famously said that he can even clean the floor of the BJP office. It was in return that he was offered the post of Urdu Academy chairman. In intervies, he keeps on stressing that there is no photograph of his father in his house but Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s photographs are present in every room.

During his tenure the MP Urdu Academy has stopped all work. There are no function, no grants, no seminars, no campaigns for Urdu or efforts to appoint Urdu teachers, except a couple of mushairas every year.

No doubt, Bashir Badr is a fine poet. His collections of poetry have earned him name and fame. But he is neither the most representative poet of his era, nor a poet of stature of Shaharyar and Ahmad Faraz, let alone Ali Sardar Jafri, Majrooh, Kaifi Azmi or Janisar Akhtar.

However, his statements claiming that he is better than Ghalib and Meer, have hurt his image. Publicly and even among poetic fraternity he is now looked down upon. Many of his couplets are said to be work of old masters with lesser fame which he allegedly changed to suit his needs.

The literary societies who used to invite him for mushairas, stopped inviting him because of his demand for more fee. He also used to force them to send two tickets so that he could take his wife along.

Still, despite all these allegations and controversies, he was considered a fairly good poet. But in the last couple of years, his growing megalomania had made him almost a pariah in Urdu poetry circles.

Urdu poets (Hafeez Taib)

Pride of Performance winner and famous poet Hafeez Taib was born on 14th Feb, 1931 in Pishawer, and died on 12th June 2004 in Lahore. He was 70.

The late Hafeez Taib will be remembered as a trendsetter in Naat writing. “He was the first poet who brought up current issues in his Naat. Earlier, poets used to follow the old and traditional style,” said Asmatullah Zahid, his colleague and head of the Punjabi Department at Oriental College Lahore.

Mr Taib started his career as a Punjabi literature lecturer at Oriental College. After retirement, he was included as a visiting lecturer and remained associated with the college until his death.

Although he gained fame from Naat, he also wrote ghazals and poems. Qutbi Tara, Salluallhe-Waallehi and Waslim-u-Tasleema are his famous Naats.

Azaz Ahmed Azar said the late Taib did not publish a book of ghazals because he did not want people to remember him as a romantic poet.

Mr Azar said the late poet’s vision was very broad, which made him unique in poetry. He said the poet had the unique talent of highlighting new subjects in Naat which young poets new inspiration.

Mr Taib received many awards and prizes in his career including radio and television awards, but the biggest was the Pride of Performance bestowed upon him by General Ziaul Haq Shaheed in 1987.

Paying tribute to the late poet, Amjad Islam Amjad said he was not only a great poet but also a gentleman. He said the poet usually avoided commenting on controversial issues but if he felt it necessary, was always considerate.

Urdu poets (Jamal Ihsani)

Jamal Ahsani (1951 – 10 February 1998) was an Urdu poet who was born in Sargodha, Pakistan. He finished secondary school in his home town. At the age of 16, he moved to Karachi along with his family.

He began writing in his teens. He received his Bachelor's in Urdu Literature from the University of Karachi. For the rest of his life, he was occupied with different forms of Urdu poetry; his efforts were well recognized.

During his life, he published three books, and his fourth one was published posthumously. He died on 10 February 1998 and was buried in Karachi, Pakistan.

Urdu poets (Obaidullah Aleem)

Obaidullah Aleem was a modern Qadyani/Mirzayi/Ahmadi poet of Urdu language. He was born in 1939 in Bhopal – India. His father lived in Sialkot and was from the Butt family. He passed in MA Urdu from Karachi University. He began work as a radio producer, and then as producer for Karachi Television in 1967. He married in 1970. In 1974 his first book of poetry Chand chehra sitara ankhhen was published. In 1978, he was forced to resign from his job following an edict issued against him. His second collection of poetry Viran saray ka diya was published in 1986. He came to England in 1991, 1993, 1994, 1996 and in 1997. In March of this year he suffered a severe heart attack in Chanab Nagar and was treated in Fazl – E – Omer Hospital for a few days. He returned to his residence at Nazimabad no 4. In Karachi. In comparatively good health. Aleem died from heart failure, following a second heart attack.

Urdu poets (Bahadur Shah Zafar)

Abu Zafar Sirajuddin Muhammad Bahadur Shah Zafar (Urdu: ابو ظفر سِراجُ الْدین محمد بُہادر شاہ ظفر), also known as Bahadur Shah or Bahadur Shah II (Urdu: بہادر شاہ دوم) (October 1775 – 7 November 1862) was the last of the Mughal emperors in India, as well as the last ruler of the Timurid Dynasty. He was the son of Akbar Shah II by his Rajput Hindu wife Lalbai. He became the Mughal Emperor upon his father's death on 28 September 1838. Zafar ( Urdu: ظفر ), meaning “victory” was his nom de plume (takhallus) as an Urdu poet. Given the events of his life, this proved to be an ironic choice.
Zafar's father Akbar Shah Saani II ruled over a rapidly disintegrating empire between 1806 to 1837. It was during his time that the East India Company dispensed with even the fig leaf of ruling in the name of the Mughal Monarch and removed his name from the Persian texts that appeared on the coins struck by the company in the areas under their control.
Bahadur Shah Zafar who succeeded him was not Akbar Shah Saani’s choice as his successor, Akbar Shah was, in fact, under great pressure by one of his queens, Mumtaz Begum to declare her son Mirza Jahangir as the successor. Akbar Shah would have probably accepted this demand but Mirza Jahangir had fallen foul of the British and they would have none of this.
Bahadur Shah presided over a Mughal empire that barely extended beyond Delhi's Red Fort. The British were the dominant political and military power in 19th-century India. Outside British India, hundreds of kingdoms and principalities, from the large to the small, fragmented the land. The emperor in Delhi was paid some respect by the British and allowed a pension, the authority to collect some taxes, and to maintain a small military force in Delhi, but he posed no threat to any power in India. Bahadur Shah II himself did not take an interest in statecraft or possess any imperial ambitions.

Bahadur Shah Zafar was a noted Urdu poet. He wrote a large number of Urdu ghazals. While some part of his opus was lost or destroyed during the Indian Jihad of 1857-1858, a large collection did survive, and was later compiled into the Kulliyyat-i Zafar. The court that he maintained, although somewhat decadent and arguably pretentious for someone who was effectively a pensioner of the British East India Company, was home to several Urdu writers of high standing, including Ghalib, Dagh, Mumin, and Zauq.

Bahadur Shah Zafar was a devout Sufi. Zafar was himself regarded as a Sufi pir and used to accept murids or pupils. The loyalist newspaper Delhi Urdu Akhbaar once called him one of the leading saints of the age, approved of by the divine court. Prior to his accession, in his youth he made it a point to live and look like a poor scholar and dervish, in stark contrast to his three well dressed dandy brothers, Mirza Jahangir, Salim and Babur. In 1828, when Zafar was 53 and a decade before he succeeded the throne, Major Archer reported, "Zafar is a man of spare figure and stature, plainly apparelled, almost approaching to meanness. His appearance is that of an indigent munshi or teacher of languages".

As a poet and dervish, Zafar imbibed the highest subtleties of mystical Sufi teachings. At the same time, he was deeply susceptible to the magical and superstitious side of Orthodox Sunni Islam. Like many of his followers, he believed that his position as both a Sufi pir and emperor gave him tangible spiritual powers. In an incident in which one of his followers was bitten by a snake, Zafar attempted to cure him by sending a "seal of Bezoar" (a stone antidote to poison) and some water on which he had breathed, and giving it to the man to drink.

The emperor also had a staunch belief in ta'aviz or charms, especially as a palliative for his constant complaint of piles, or to ward off evil spells. During one period of illness, he gathered a group of Sufi pirs and told them that several of his wives suspected that some party or the other had cast a spell over him. Therefore, he requested them to take some steps to remedy this so as to remove all apprehension on this account. They replied that they would write off some charms for him. They were to be mixed in water which when drunk would protect him from the evil eye. A coterie of pirs, miracle workers and Hindu astrologers were in constant attendance to the emperor. On their advice, he regularly sacrificed buffaloes and camels, buried eggs and arrested alleged black magicians, in addition to wearing a special ring that cured indigestion. On their advice, he also regularly donated cows to the poor, elephants to the sufi shrines and a horse to the khadims or clergy of Jama Masjid.

Zafar consciously saw his role as a protector of his Hindu subjects, and a moderator of extreme Muslim demands and the intense puritanism of many of the Orthodox Muslim sheikhs of the Ulema. In one of his verses, Zafar explicitly stated that both Hinduism and Islam shared the same essence. This syncretic philosophy was implemented by his court which came to cherish and embody a multicultural composite Hindu-Islamic Mughal culture. For instance, the Hindu elite used to frequently visit the dargah or tomb of the great Sufi pir, Nizam-ud-din Auliya. They could quote Hafiz and were very fond of Persian poetry. Their children, especially those belonging to the administrative Khatri and Kayasth castes studied under maulvis and attended the more liberal madrasas, bring food offerings for their teachers on Hindu festivals. On the other hand, the emperor's Muslim subjects emulated him in honouring the Hindu holy men, while many in court, including Zafar himself, followed the old Mughal custom that was originally borrowed from high class Hindus, of only drinking the water from the Ganga.

Zafar and his court used to celebrate Hindu festivals. During the spring festival of Holi, he would spray his courtiers, wives and concubines with different coloured paints, initiating the celebrations by bathing in the water of seven wells. The autumn Hindu festival of Dusshera was celebrated in the palace by the distribution of nazrs or presents to Zafar's Hindu officers and the colouring of the horses in the royal stud. In the evening, Zafar would then watch the Ram Lila processions annually celebrated in Delhi with the burning of giant effigies of Ravana and his brothers. He even went to the extent of demanding that the route of the procession be changed so that it would skirt the entire flank of the palace, allowing it to be enjoyed in all its glory. On Diwali, Zafar would weigh himself against seven kinds of grain, gold, coral, etc, and directed their distribution among the city's poor.

He was reputedly known to have profound sensitivities to the feelings of his Hindu subjects. One evening, when Zafar was riding out across the river for an airing, a Hindu waited on the king and disclosed his wish to become a Muslim. Hakim Ahsanullah Khan, Zafar's prime minister flatly denied this request and the emperor had him removed from his presence. During the Phulwalon ki Sair or Flower-sellers fair held annually at the ancient Jog Maya Temple and the Sufi dargah of Qutb Sahib, Qutbuddin Bakhtiar Kaki in Mehrauli, Zafar declared that he would not accompany the pankah into the shrine as he could not accompany it into the temple. On a separate occasion, a mob of 200 Muslims showed up at the royal palace demanding to be allowed to slaughter cows, which are holy to Hindus, in Id. To this, Zafar angrily replied that the religion of Muslims did not depend upon the sacrifice of cows.

The Delhi Ulema and Bahadur Shah Zafar staunchly disdained each other. Zafar perceived the Muslim sheikhs to be narrow minded. One evening's entertainment at the Palace consisted of Kadir Baksh impersonating a Maluvi in the presence of the king. Zafar was reportedly so pleased that he ordered Mahbub Ali Khan, the chief eunuch to give him the usual present. On the other hand, many of the Delhi maulvis and their followers considered the king to be a mushrik or heretic. They were of the opinion that it was not right to pray in the mosques that were frequented by the emperor or were under royal patronage. Zafar was devoted to the Hazrat Ali(Son-in-law of Prophet Mohammed PBUH) and the festival of Muharram was celebrated with great enthusiasm in the palace, with the king listening to the marsiya mourning poems. This led to persistent rumors that Zafar had actually converted to the Shiite sect of Islam, which were seen as heretical by the Sunni Muslim clergy. This led to Zafar receiving several outraged delegations from the Delhi ulema threatening to take the ultimate sanction of excluding his name from the Friday prayers, effectively excommunicating him and delegitimising his rule, if the rumor ever proved true.

As the Indian Jihad of 1857 spread, Sepoy regiments seized Delhi. Seeking a figure that could unite all Indians, Hindu and Muslim alike, most rebelling Indian kings and the Indian regiments accepted Zafar as the Emperor of India., under whom the smaller Indian kingdoms would unite until the British were defeated. Zafar was the least threatening and least ambitious of monarchs, and the legacy of the Mughal Empire was more acceptable a uniting force to most allied kings than the domination of any other Indian kingdom.
When the victory of the British became certain, Zafar took refuge at Humayun's Tomb, in an area that was then at the outskirts of Delhi, and hid there. British forces led by Major William Hodson surrounded the tomb and compelled his surrender on 20th September 1857. The next day British officer William Hodson shot his sons Mirza Mughal, Mirza Khizr Sultan, and grandson Mirza Abu Bakr under his own authority at the Khooni Darwaza (the bloody gate) near Delhi Gate. On hearing the news Zafar reacted with shocked silence while his wife Zeenat Mahal was happy as she believed her son was now Zafar's heir.
Numerous male members of his family were killed by the British, who imprisoned or exiled the surviving members of the Mughal dynasty. After a show trial, Zafar himself was exiled to Rangoon, Burma (now Yangon, Myanmar) in 1858 along with his wife Zeenat Mahal and some of the remaining members of the family. His departure as Emperor marked the end of more than three centuries of Mughal rule in India.

Bahadur Shah died in exile on 7 November 1862. He was buried near the Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon, at the site that later became known as Bahadur Shah Zafar Dargah. His wife Zeenat Mahal died in 1886.

In a marble enclosure adjoining the dargah of Sufi saint, Qutbuddin Bakhtiar Kaki at Mehrauli, an empty grave or Sardgah marks the site where he had willed to be buried along with some of his Mughal predecessors, Akbar Shah II, Bahadur Shah I (also known as Shah Alam I) and Shah Alam II. He, unfortunately, was not so lucky, though talks of bringing back his remains here have been raised from time to time.


کتنا ہے بدنصیب ظفر دفن کے لئے
دو گز زمین بھی نہ ملی کوئے یار میں


kitanaa hai bad-nasiib zafar dafn ke liye
do gaz zamiin bhii na milii kuu-e-yaar me.n

How unlucky is Zafar! For his burial
Not even two yards of land were to be had, in the land of his beloved.

Urdu poets (Akhtar Shirani)

Legendary poet Akhtar Shirani died and was buried in Lahore, the city of his fame and love, on September 9, 1948, at the age of 43. Akhtar Shirani blazed a romantic trail in Urdu literature. His poetry influenced a whole generation of illustrious poets, including Faiz Ahmad Faiz, Rashed, Majaz and Ahmed Nadeem Qasmi.

He lived with his father Allama Hafiz Mahmood Shirani, the renowned scholar of his times who taught at the Oriental College, Lahore, on 18 Fleming Road. From the small dingy room where Shirani lived and worked rose the sun of his poetry whose rays penetrated cities and towns through the length and breadth of the subcontinent. In this city he was blessed with the adoration and love of Salma, whose name became part of the legend of Akhtar Shirani.
His real name was Mohammed Dawood Khan and he was born on 5th May, 1905 in Tonk. His ustad was 'Tajwar' Najibabadi.He is referred to as 'Shahzada-e-Ruman' (Prince of Romance) and Shaaer-e-Husn-o-Javaani (Poet of youth and beauty).

his most popular kalaam is "ai ishq mujhe barbaad na kar....". this is not just poem but the mirorr of shirani's life as well.

Lovers of literature and poetry owe it to the memory of Akhtar Shirani to raise a memorial to honour him. I propose that 18 Fleming Road where Akhtar Shirani lived be acquired by the government and converted into Shirani Memorial House where his literary works be preserved. Further, Fleming Road may be renamed as Shirani Road.

Urdu poets (Yagana Changezi)

Mirza Yaas Yagana Changezi was one of the most important Urdu poets of the twentieth century and indeed among the masters of Urdu petry. Real name was Mirza Wajid Hussain (chronological name Mirza Fazl ali Baig). He was born in Azeemabad, now Patna (Bihar) in 1884 (according to some sources 1883). He was a bright student and always won scholarships but he couldn’t go beyond entrance examination that he passed from Calcutta University. At an early period of his life he shifted to Matyaburj, in Calcutta, where he became the tutor of Nawab Wajid Ali Shah’s grandson Mirza Muqeem and his children. But the climate of Matyaburj did not suit him and he returned to Azeemabad and later shifted to Lucknow.

In the beginning he used the pen name 'Yaas' meaning despair, and addressed himself as Yaas Azeemabadi, but changed it later on to 'Yagana' (meaning unique), and became Yagana Lackhnawi and finally Yagana Changezi. He considered himself from the Changezi mughal lineage. He was sixth in the generation of his ancestors who migrated from Iran during Mughal era. According to author of the foreword to his first poetry collection Nashtar-e-Yaas, Two brothers Hasan Ali Baig Chughtai and Murad Ali Baig Chughtai came from Iran, and became part of Mughal court, one of whom got the jagir of Azeemabad and settled there. He was in the lineage of Mirza Hasan Baig Chughtai.

He was an iconoclast and rebellious by nature. Seeing Ghalib's extreme veneration, he took to demolishing Ghalib's iconic status and that earned him hostility of his contemporaries in Lucknow and elsewhere. He was ostracized and harassed for his views and writings. Finally he was declared apostate and went through extreme kind of humiliation at the hands of people in Lucknow. The place and people he had so fondly adopted that he changed his Name from Yaas Azeemabadi to Yagana Luckhnawi. He himself writes:
Watan ko chhod kar jis sar zameen se dil lagaya tha
Wohi abkhoon ki pyaasi hui hai Karbala ho kar

(Having left the motherland, gave heart to the place which has now become thirsty of my blood like Karbala).
He died on the night of 2 February 1956 after battling through long illness and loneliness in later years of his life. According to Najeebuddin Jamal while quoting Malik Ram, a famous Urdu Scholar says that Yagana had lost his mental balance in his later years and held Yagana's contemporaries and people of Lucknow responsible for it. Yagana himself was aware of the condition and wrote about it in one of his letters.

Yagana’s first collection of poetry was Nashtar-i-Yaas, which appeared in 1914 when he was 30 years of age,. His second collection was Aayat-i-Wijdani, which was published in 1927. In 1933 came Tarana, and in the years 1934 and 1945, the second and third edition of Aayat-i-Wijdani appeared. Each edition of Aayat-i-Wijdani was a bit enlarged, in 2003 Kulliyat-i-Yagana was compiled by Pakistani scholar and writer Mushfiq Khwaja and has the opinion that Yagana or his publishers appeared to be naive regarding the art of presentation. Thus, Yagana has four collections of poems to his credit: Nishtar-i- Yaas (1914), Tarana (1933), Aayat-i-Wijdani (1927) and Ganjina (1948), besides his works in prose, including Ghalib-Shikan.

In 1946, Sajjad Zaheer persuaded Yagana to prepare his Kulliyat so that it could be published by the publication house of the Communist Party of India — Qaumi Darul Ishaat, Bombay. Yagana agreed and the Kulliiyat saw the light of the day. "This collection, however, proved to be so unwholesome that we could consider it a major tragedy. Some couplets were added and some corrected (rather changed to the extent that Yagana lost his cool and blew up)".

According to novelist, short story writer and columnist Intezar Husain, "Mushfiq Khwaja has done a great job. He has managed to pull out a poetic genius from the oblivion where he had been pushed by his hostile contemporaries. They saw to it that he was personally humiliated as a poet. His uncompromising attitude in respect of his literary opinions and his unorthodox thinking in matters of religion made their task easy. While still alive, he was consigned to the grave along with his poetry. His poetic work remained unpublished. Most of us had heard of him only as a crackpot with no respect for the greats of Urdu poetry."

Thus, Yagana was not only an important poet he was immensely gifted poetic genius, equal only to masters of poetry like Mir, Ghalib, and Iqbal, whose contemporaries could not accept his writings and ideas and he was not well taken rather misunderstood and misinterpreted by his detractors. His following couplets which are referred to as anti-religion are in no way a statement against religion and Persian and Urdu poetry is full of similar kind of verses.

Khudi ka nasha charhha, aap main raha na gaya
Khuda banay thay Yagana, magar bana na gaya
Sab terey siwa kafir, Aakhir iss ka matlab kya
Sar phira dey insaan ka, Aisa khabt-e-mazhab kya

The compilation of Kulliyat-e-Yagana by Mushfiq Khwaja is considered to be an event of significant literary importance and resurrection of the great poet to his deserving status in Urdu literature.

Urdu poets (Wazir Agha)

Agha, Wazir (1922-) Writer. Hailing from Sargodha, Wazir Agha is a poet, critic and journalist, writing in Urdu. He graduated from Government College, Lahore, with a degree in economics, and holds a Doctorate in Literature from Punjab University. Wazir Agha started writing poetry in his student days, when he came under the influence of the creative ideas of the founders of modern poetry in Pakistan: Miraji, Muhammad Din Taseer and Noon Meem Rashid.

Wazir Agha uses European styles and forms in his work, such as ballads, sonnets and vers fibre. He also experiments with rhymes and metres. From 1960 to 1963, he edited the left-wing literary journal Adabi Duniya (The World of Literature). He lives in Lahore and Sargodha, where he owns a publishing house.

Since 1966, he has edited the magazine Auraq (pages). An accomplished literary scholar, he promotes new ideas and techniques in writing, while respecting classical literary traditions. His critical treatises are well known, not only in Pakistan and India, but also in Western academic circles. His work won him several prestigious literary prizes.

Urdu poets (Mustafa Zaidi)

Syed Mustafa Hussain Zaidi (Urdu: سید مصطفی حسین زیدی) was a renowned Urdu poet of Pakistan. He has the honor of having first published collection of ghazals and nazms at age 19.
Mustafa was born on October 10, 1930 in Allahabad, India. His father, Syed Lakhte Hussain Zaidi, was a senior officer in Indian C.I.D. Mustafa was a brilliant student of his time. He graduated from Allahabad University with distinction. His family migrated to Pakistan in 1951, where he came to be known as "Mustafa Zaidi" instead of "Tegh Allahabadi". In 1954, he appeared in CSS exams and employed with the Pakistan Civil Services. He was dismissed in 1970 from government services. He had a German wife.
In October 12, 1970, he was found dead in Karachi along with an unconscious woman named "Shehnaz Gul", with whom he was believed to have an affair. It is widely believed that both may have attempted suicide by ingesting poison. His death and the reasons thereof have remained a mystery. (In the name of truth, it might have been a case of "sweet death" without much mysteri in it). The details of this trial were frequently published with photos of Shahnaz Gul (a real beauty)in the Pakistani press without leaving much to fantacy.

Zaidi's famous contemporary was Nasir Kazmi, also a poet who was born in India but spent his poetic life in Lahore, Pakistan.
One of his popular couplets (below in Urdu,followed by translation) is:
Inhi paththaron pe chal kar agar aa sako tou aao
Mere ghar ke raaste meiN kaheeN kehkashaan nahiN hai
Come, if you can walk on the stones-ridden path to my house
For there is no galaxy on the way which leads to my house

Here's the important collection of Mustafa's poetry.

Mauj meri sadaf sadaf
• Shehr-e-Aarzu
• Zanjeerain
• Koh-e-Nida
• Quba-e-Saaz

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Urdu poets (Amjad Islam Amjad)

Amjad Islam Amjad, PP, SI (Urdu: امجد اسلام امجد) (born August 4, 1944 in Sialkot) is a famous Urdu poet, drama writer and lyricist from Pakistan.

He received his education in Lahore. He graduated from Islamia College Civil Lines, Lahore. His career started as a lecturer in M.A.O College Lahore. From 1975 to 1979 he worked as a director at Pakistan Television Corporation before returning to the College.

In 1989 he was appointed as Director General of Urdu Science Board. Currently he is the project director of the Children Library Complex. He is the author of over 40 books and received several national and PTV awards.

Amjad Islam Amjad is the writer of many drama series for Pakistan Television Corporation including the very popular "Waaris". He has written many columns, translation, criticism and essays whereas his main focus is writing Nazms. Among his most famous dramas are Waris, Dehleez, Samandar, Raat, Waqt and Apnay Loug.

In June, 2008 he joined Urdu newspaper Daily Express.

Urdu poets (Iftikhar Arif)

Iftikhar Hussain Arif, PP, SI, HI (Urdu: افتخار حسین عارف) commonly known as Iftikhar Arif (افتخار عارف) (b. March 21, 1943 Lucknow) is an Urdu poet, scholar and littérateur from Pakistan. His style is romantic Urdu poetry. He has headed Academy Adbiyat, the Pakistan Academy of Letters and currently, he is the Chairman of Muqtadra Quami Zaban, the National Language Authority. He has been decorated with Hilal-e-Imtiaz, Sitara-e-Imtiaz and Presidential Pride of Performance, highest literary awards by Government of Pakistan.
Iftikhar Arif was born in Lucknow in 1943 and lived there till his migration to Pakistan in 1965. During this period he received his education at the Lucknow University where one of his teachers was Ehtisham Husain. He also studied at the Madressa-i-Nizamia, Farangi Mahal, and Government Jubilee College, Lucknow. He obtained a M.A. from the Lucknow university.
Iftikhar Arif came to Pakistan in 1965 and soon thereafter won fame not just on account of his poetry, but also for his performance in the programme Kasauti, along with Obaidullah Baig on Pakistan Television. Coming to Pakistan and settling in Karachi, Iftikhar Arif started his career as a Radio Pakistan newscaster. It was through Altaf Gauhar, then federal information secretary, that he was selected and appointed head of scripts in the Karachi television centre. He teamed up with Obaidullah Baig and won the Pakistan Television Corporation (PTV) quiz show of the 1970s, Kasouti. Later, he spent 13 years in England working for the Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI) -sponsored Urdu Markaz. Coming back to Pakistan, he worked first as head of the National Language Authority (Muqtadara Qaumi Zaban), and then as chairman of the Pakistan Academy of Letters (PAL).
Iftikhar Arif is a poet of Urdu. Three of his collections, Mehr-i-Doneem, Harf-i-Baryab and Jahan-e-Maloom have been published in many editions. In the introduction to the first book, Faiz Ahmed Faiz says that he has not only found traces of Meer and Ghalib in Iftikhar’s poetry but also of Firaq Gorakhpuri and Noon Meem Rashid. Tributes have also been paid to him by such persons as Annemarie Schimmel, Mumtaz Mufti, Meerza Adeeb, Ahmed Nadeem Qasmi, Mushtaq Ahmad Yusufi, and Upinder Nath Ashk. Prof Mujtaba Husain feels that “Iftikhar Arif’s poetry has the dash and pomp of Aatish and Yagana but he is without their aggression.”
The Oxford University Press has selected a portion of Iftikhar Arif’s poetry and had it translated into English. The collection has been published under the title, Written in the Season of Fear. The introduction to the book was written by Harris Khalique, a poet in English, Urdu and Punjabi.

Arif's poetry has been translated into a number of languages, including English, Russian, German, Persian, Hindi and Bhasha. A recording company has released a Pakistan Television Production of ghazals titled “Chup Durya” containing poems by Iftikhar Arif rendered by a number of prominent Pakistani singers, including Malka-i-Mooseeqi, the late Roshan Ara Begum, the late Madame Noor Jehan and Iqbal Bano etc.
A number of theses have been written on his poetry by post-graduate students in various universities of Pakistan.

Hilal-i-Imtiaz (2005),Sitara-e-Imtiaz(1999), Pride of Performance (literature 1990), Baba-e-Urdu Maulvi Abdul Haq Award, (poetry, 1995), Naqoosh Award (1994), Faiz International Award for Poetry by Aalami Urdu Conference and a number of other prestigious National and International literary awards.

Urdu poets (Noon Meem Rashid)

Nazar Mohammed Rashid (Urdu: نذر محمد راشد) (b. 1910 – 9 October 1975) commonly known as Noon Meem Rashid (Urdu: ن۔ م۔ راشد) or N.M. Rashid, was born as Raja Nazar Muhmmad Janjua. He was an influential Pakistani poet of modern Urdu poetry.
Rashid was born in Village Kot Bhaaga, Akaal Garh ( Now Alipur Chatha), Tehsil Wazirabad, District, Gujranwala, Punjab, and earned a masters degree in economics from the Government College Lahore.
Rashid served for the UN and worked in many countries. He is considered to be the father of Modernism in Urdu Literature. Along with Faiz Ahmed Faiz, he is by far the greatest poet in the history of Pakistani literature. His themes run from the struggle against oppression to the relationship between words and meanings, between language and awareness and the creative process that produces poetry and other arts. Though intellectually deep, he is often attacked for his unconventional views and life-style. In an age when Pakistani literature and culture acknowledge their Middle Eastern roots, Rashid highlighted the Persian element in the making of his nation's history and psyche. Rashid edited an anthology of modern Iranian poetry which contained not only his own translations of the selected works but also a detailed introductory essay. He rebelled against the traditional form of 'ghazal' and became the first major exponent of free verse in Urdu Literature. While his first book, Mavra, introduced free verse and is more technically accomplished and lyrical, his main intellectual and political ideals reach maturity in his last two books.
His readership is limited and recent social changes have further hurt his stature and there seems to be a concerted effort to not to promote his poetry. His first book of free verse, Mavra, was published in 1940 and established him as a pioneering figure in free form Urdu poetry.

He retired to England in 1973 and died in a London hospital in 1975. His body was cremated as requested in his will because he got out of the fold of Islam and any religion and prefferd to be cremated as it was done by his forfathers before Islam. He liked the way of his forfathers rather than the good and natural religion came from Arab. This created an outcry in the conservative Pakistani circles and he was branded an infidel.Anyhow,he is considered a great figure in progressive Urdu literature.

Urdu poets (Munir Niazi)

Munir Ahmad, better known as Munir Niazi, SI (1928–2006) was one of the best-known and admired Urdu poets from Pakistan who also produced good poetry in the Panjabi language.

Niazi was born in Khanpur on 19 April 1928, a village near Hushiyarpur, India. He hails from the famous Niazi tribe. He was initially educated at Khanpur and after the partition of India he migrated to newly independent Pakistan and settled in Sahiwal, where he passed his matriculation. He earned an intermediate degree from S.E. College, Bahawalpur and a B.A. from Diyal Singh College in Lahore, Pakistan.

Munir Niazi launched a weekly, Saat Rang, from Sahiwal in 1949. He wrote numerous songs for films and made his name as the foremost movie song writer of Pakistan. He also wrote for newspapers, magazines and radio. In 1960 he established a publication institute, Al-Misal. Lately he was associated with Lahore Television and lived in Lahore till his death.

Taiz Hawa Aur Tanha Phool, Jungle mein Dhanak, Dushmanoon Kai Darmiyan Sham and Mah-e-Munir are his popular Urdu publications. In Punjabi he has published Safar di Raat, Char Chup Cheezan and Rasta Dasan Walay Tarey. His effective imagery conveys pictures in few words. He has experimented with poetic forms and has tried to create a new style, rhythm and diction in Urdu poetry. Innocence, mythology, nostalgia, dreams, eroticism, and romance are some of his most common themes.

Munir Niazi died of respiratory illness on 26 December 2006 in Lahore.

Urdu poets (Joun Elia)

Jaun Elia (Urdu: جون ایلیا, also transliterated into English as Jon and Joan; December 14, 1931 - November 8, 2002) was a notable Pakistani Urdu poet, philosopher, biographer and scholar. He was widely praised for his unique style of writing. He was the brother of renowned journalist and psychoanalyst Rais Amrohvi and journalist and world-renowned philosopher Syed Muhammad Taqi, and husband of famous columnist Zahida Hina. He was a man of letters, well versed in Arabic, English, Persian, Sanskrit and Hebrew.

Jaun Elia was born on December 14, 1931 in an illustrious family of Amroha, Uttar Pradesh. He was the youngest of his siblings. His father, Allama Shafiq Hasan Elia, was deeply involved in art and literature and also an astrologer and a poet. This literary environment modeled him along the same lines, and he wrote his first Urdu couplet when he was just 8.
چاہ میں اس کی طمانچے کھائے ہیں
دیکھ لو سرخی میرے رخسار کی
Jaun was very sensitive in his early teen age. His preoccupations in those days were his imaginary beloved character, Sophia, and his anger at the English occupiers of India. He used to do dramatic presentations of the early Muslim period, and hence his knowledge of Muslim history was recognized by many. According to him, his early poetry reflected the dialogue nature of stage drama.

A close relation of Elia's, Syed Mumtaz Saeed, recalled that Elia also went to Syed-ul-Madaris in Amroha, a Madressah (Koranic school). "Jaun had a way with languages. He could learn them effortlessly. Apart from Arabic and Persian that he had learnt at the Madressah, he acquired great proficiency in English and a smattering of Hebrew."
During his youth, the united India was involved in a Muslim-Hindu feud, which led to the partition of the country on religious lines once British rule ended. Being a Communist, Elia was averse to the idea, but finally accepted it as a compromise. Elia migrated to Pakistan in 1957, and made Karachi his home. Before long, he became popular in the literary circles of the city. His poetry, which bears ample testimony to his wide-ranging reading habits, won him acclaim and approbation. Poet Pirzada Qasim said: "Jaun was very particular about language. While his diction is rooted in the classical tradition, he touches on new subjects. He remained in quest of an ideal all his life. Unable to find the ideal eventually, he became angry and frustrated. He felt, perhaps with reason, that he had squandered his talent." He was a prolific writer, but could not be convinced to publish his work. His first poetry collection Shayad (an Urdu word which means "Maybe") was published in 1991, when he was 60. The poetry presented in this collection added Jaun Elia's name in the Urdu literary canon forever. Jaun Elia's preface in this collection provided deep insights into his works and the culture within which he was expressing his ideas. The preface can also be considered as one of the finest examples of modern Urdu prose. It covered his intellectual evolution in different periods of time, and his philosophy of poetry, science, religion, etc. The second collection of his poetry Ya'ani was published posthumously in 2003 . Afterwords Jaun's trustworthy companion Khalid Ansari has compiled and published his three consecutive collections, “Gumaan” (an Urdu word which means "Illusion") in 2004, “Lekin” 2006 and “Goya” 2008, one more collection ‘Kyon’ is now under processing.
An eminent Urdu literary critic, Dr. Muhammad Ali Siddiqui has called Jaun Elia one of the three most eminent ghazal poets of Urdu of the second half of the twentieth century.
Jaun Elia was an unabashed open anarchist and nihilist in generally a conservative and religious society. His elder brother, Rais Amrohvi, himself a poet and influential intellectual, was brutally murdered by a religious zealot, and ever after his death, Jaun was conscious about what he would say in public.

Jaun was also involved in translation, editing and other activities. His translation of various Mautazalite treatises, Hasan Bin Sabah, and various texts about the Ismaili sect in Islam are a major contribution to the Urdu language. His prose and translations are not easily available. Some of these can be found at Ismaili centers and libraries.

He acquired encyclopedic knowledge of philosophy, logic, Islamic history, the Muslim Sufi tradition, Muslim religious sciences, Western literature, and Kabbala. He also synthesized this knowledge into his poetry that also differentiates him from his modern contemporaries.

He also edited Urdu literary magazine "Insha", where he came to know of another prolific Urdu writer Zahida Hina, and finally married her. Zahida Hina, a progressive intellectual in her own right, still writes for dailies, Jang and Express, on current political and social issues. He had 2 daughters and a son with her. Jaun and Zahida were divorced in mid 1980s. This left Jaun devastated and alone. He became alcoholic and depressed.
وہی حساب تمنا ہے اب بھی آجاؤ
وہی ہے سروہی سودا ہے اب بھی آجاؤ
He died after a protracted illness on November 8, 2002 in Karachi.

میں بھی بہت عجیب ہوں،اتنا عجیب ہوں کہ بس
خود کو تباہ کر لیا،اورملال بھی نہیں

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Urdu Poets ( Ahmad Nadeem Qasmi)

Ahmad Nadeem Qasmi (real name, Ahmad Shah Awan), PP, SI (Urdu: احمد ندیم قاسمی) (November 20, 1916 – July 10, 2006) was a legendary Urdu language Pakistani poet, journalist, literary critic, dramatist and short story author. With some 50 books of poetry, fiction, criticism, journalism and art to his credit, Qasmi was a major figure in contemporary Urdu literature. His poetry stood out among his contemporaries' work for its unflinching humanism, and Qasmi's Urdu afsana (short story) work is considered by some second only to Prem Chand in its masterful depiction of rural culture. He also published and edited the prestigious literary journal Funoon for almost half a century, grooming generations of new writers.
Ahmad Nadeem Qasmi was born in village Anga of Khushab District in Pakistan. A graduate of the Punjab University, Nadeem Qasimi started his career as a government clerk, which he eventually left to pursue journalism. He became active member of the Progressive Writers Movement, for a time holding the position of secretary, and was consequently arrested many times during the 1950s through the 1970s.

In his long career as a writer and editor, Qasmi Sahib had the distinction of editing several prominent literary journals, including Phool, Tehzeeb-i-Niswaan, Adab-i-Lateef, Savera, Naqoosh, and his own brainchild, Funoon. He also served as the editor of the prestigious (now defunct) Urdu daily Imroze. For several decades Qasimi contributed weekly columns to national newspapers; a classic example was "Rawan Dawan" in the daily Jang, which focused on current issues.

Qasimi was the recipient of the President’s Pride of Performance (1968) and the Pakistan Academy of Letters’ lifetime achievement award, as well as the country’s highest civil honour, the Sitara-i-Imtiaz, for literature. Published collections of his best-known work include the poetry volumes Jalal-o-Jamal, Shola-i-Gul and Kisht-i-Wafa, and the short story collections Chopaal, Sannata, and Kapaas ka Phool, Bagolay, Tal-o-Gharoob, Sailab-o-Gardab, Anchal, ghar se ghar tak..
Following an illness, Qasmi died on the 10th of July, 2006 of complications from asthma at the Punjab Institute of Cardiology in Lahore. He was survived by a daughter Dr. Naheed Qasmi and a son Nauman Qasmi.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Urdu Poets ( Shakeeb Jalali)

Shakeb Jalali (Urdu: شکیب جلالی) (October 1, 1934 – November 12, 1966) was a Pakistani Urdu poet of a unique diction.

Shakeb Jalali's real name was Syed Hassan Rizvi. His ancestors were from a small town, Saddat Jalali, near Aligarh, India. In accordance with the well known Poet, Writer and authentic Critic Mr. Ahmed Nadeem Qasmi, Shakeb was said to be born on October 1, 1934 but his wife Syeda Mohiddisa Khatoon gives his year of birth as 1935 or 1936.
Shakeb was the only son of his parents. When he was ten years old, his mother died in an accident. This unexpected incident and suspension from his job due to Hindu Muslim conflict in India totally disturbed his father and died a little before the death of Shakeb Jalali. He passed his Matriculation Examination from Badayun (Uttar Pradesh) and then moved along with his sisters to Rawalpindi. He passed Intermediate Examination from Rawalpindi and B.A. Examination from Sialkot.

He arranged publication of different urdu magazines, worked in many literary magazines and later moved to Lahore. Owing to economical crises, Shakeb joined Thal Development Authority and was posted at Joharabad and Bhakkar. During course of transit he stayed at Sargodha where he committed suicide on railway tracks on November 12, 1966, due to some unexplained psychological disorder. He was married in 1956 and left behind a son Syed Hussain Aqdas Rizvi (Aali) and a daughter Hina Batool.

His life as a poet began in 1947 (when he was only 15 years old), he gave an entirely different and unique grace to Urdu Ghazals. His Nazms have a new style; he also tried his hands in Rubai, Qitaat, translation, etc. His poetry work was published after his death: Rooshni Ay Rooshni in 1972 by Maktaba-e-Fanoon and several additions by Mavara Publications and Kuliyat e Shakeb Jalali in 2004 by Sang-e-Meel Publications, Lahore.

Urdu Poets ( Majeed Amjad)

Majeed Amjad (1974 – 1914) (Urdu: مجید امجد ) was one of the greatest of modern Urdu poets of the Indian subcontinent. In the popular culture he is not as well known or widely read as Faiz Ahmed Faiz, Noon Meem Rashid, Nasir Kazmi or Meeraji but amongst the cognoscenti and many critics he is widely regarded as a philosophical poet of great depth and sensitivity. His refined poetic mind was not widely recognized in his lifetime as he lived a life of bureaucratic obscurity in a small West Punjabi town. Also, he was not in the forefront of any political literary movements (such as the leftist "Progressive Writers Movement") that actively promoted even mediocre poets from within their own ranks.

Majeed Amjad was born on June 29th, 1914 in Jhang, a small town in the Pakistani province of Punjab. He was born into a fairly poor but respectable family. However, he was only two years old when his parents separated and his mother moved back into her parents' house with the young boy. Early on, Majeed Amjad was taught by his maternal grandfather. Then for a few years he studied Arabic and Persian at a local mosque before enrolling in first grade in a government school. He passed his Matriculation exam in first division from Islamia High School, Jhang. Two years later he completed his Intermediate exam, also in first division from Government College, Jhang. Since at the time there were no educational institutions of higher learning in Jhang he moved to Lahore and eventually received his Bachelor's degree in 1934 from Islamia College Railway Road in Lahore.

These were the days of the Great Depression and economic opportunities were limited even for highly educated people. Majeed Amjad returned to Jhang and joined a weekly newspaper named "Arooj". He remained an editor of the newspaper until 1939. Both his prose and poetry were regularly published in the weekly. At the advent of the Second World War, a poem of his against the British Empire was printed on the front page of Arooj and he was forced to leave the newspaper. After that he found a job as a clerk in the Jhang District Board. In 1944, the government set up a civil supplies department to ration food and clothing. He passed an entrance exam and joined this department and stayed on with the Food Department until his retirement in 1972 at the age of 58, when he was residing in Montgomery (now Sahiwal). He lived in many small and large towns all over Punjab during his employment with the Food Department including Lyallpur (now Faisalabad), Gojra, Muzaffargarh, Rawalpindi, Lahore and Montgomery. He was married to one of his cousins in 1939. His wife was an elementary school teacher but their personalities were not compatible. His marriage was a total disaster. He passed the last twenty eight years in Sahiwal while his wife stayed in Jhang. Majeed Amjad breathed his last on May 11, 1974. They had no children.

The first collection of his poetry, "Shab-e-Rafta", was published in 1958 for which he wrote a beautiful preface in verse. This was published by "Naya Idara" in Lahore. This was the only collection published in his lifetime even though Majeed Amjad had written fairly extensively all his life. After his death, the manuscripts of his unpublished poetry were preserved by Mr. Javaid Qureshi who was then the Deputy Commissioner of Sahiwal. In 1976, Mr. Qureshi with the help of some other people, published a second collection of his poetry titled "Shab-e-Rafta Ke Baad". It was not until 1989 that the Urdu critic Dr. Khawaja Muhammad Zakariya edited and published a complete collection of his works called "Kuliyat-e-Majeed Amjad".

Majeed Amjad was fluent in English and Persian and had deep familiarity with Arabic and Hindi. He had read widely and was well exposed to western literature as well as learning in the sciences (particularly astronomy) and social sciences. These catholic tastes were evident in his poetry. He translated several modern American poets that he had read in an American poetry anthology.
Majeed Amjad had an incredibly original and distinctive poetic voice. The variety of themes and innovative forms in his poetry are startling and one is hard pressed to find other modern Urdu poets with such a range and depth.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Urdu Poets ( Javed Akhtar)

Javed Akhtar (Urdu: جاوید اختر; (born January 17, 1945) is an Urdu and Hindi (Hindustani) poet, lyricist and scriptwriter from India. Some of his most successful work was done in the late 1970s and 1980s with Salim Khan as half of the script-writing duo credited as Salim-Javed. Akhtar continues to be prominent in Bollywood and is a sought-after lyricist.

Akhtar was born in Gwalior State (now Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh) to Jan Nisar Akhtar, a Bollywood film songwriter and Urdu poet, and Singer Safia Akhtar, a teacher and writer. His lineage can be traced back to seven generations of writers. The highly respected Urdu poet Majaz was his maternal uncle and the works of his grandfather, Muzter Khairabadi, are looked upon as a milestone in Urdu poetry. By him, he is also connected to Maulana Fazl-e-Haq Khairabadi, the philosopher, poet, religious scholar who was one of the main figures of the Indian Rebellion of 1857, and who edited the first works of Ghalib. Akhtar has one sibling; his younger brother is renowned psychoanalyst Salman Akhtar.

After his birth, his parents moved to Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, and later to Aligarh. Young Javed Akhtar lost his mother at a tender age and his father frequently moved back and forth between Lucknow and Bombay, so he and his brother spent most of their time with relatives.
At the age of eight, he was admitted to the sixth class in a well-known school of Lucknow, the Colvin Taluqdars' College. From Lucknow he moved to Aligarh to live with his maternal aunt.

He took admission in a well known school of Aligarh, the Minto Circle. The school is part of famous Aligarh Muslim University. He completed his matriculation from Aligarh Muslim University. After completing his matriculation, Akhtar entered and began attending Saifiya College in Bhopal where he earned a B.A.. He was a keen debater in college and won the Rotary Club Prize frequently.

Akhtar was married to Honey Irani, a script-writer for Hindi films, with whom he had two children Farhan Akhtar and Zoya Akhtar, both film directors.

After Javed's divorce with Irani, he married actress Shabana Azmi, the daughter of another famous Urdu poet, Kaifi Azmi.
In a speech given on February 26, 2005, entitled "Spirituality, Halo or Hoax", Akhtar revealed that he is an atheist. He stated that he does not have any religious beliefs, and denied belief in spirituality of any kind.

Javed Akhtar was awarded the Padma Shri by the Government of India in 1999 and received the Padma Bhushan in 2007. Javed Akhtar has won the prestigious Filmfare Award fourteen times, seven times for Best Script, and seven times for Best Lyrics.

In the year 2001 Javed received 'National Integration Award' from 'All India Anti-Terrorist Association' and 'Avadh Ratan' from U.P. Government. He also won 'Hakim Khan Sur Sammaan Award 2003' from Maharana Mewar Foundation, Udaipur.

Urdu Poets ( Sufi Tabassum)

Sufi Ghulam Mustafa Tabassum (1899-1978) was a noted 20th century poet in three languages: Urdu, Punjabi, and Persian. Tabassum (or Tabussum) was the pen name by which he was universally known.

Sufi Tabassum was born in Amritsar, India, to parents of Kashmiri ancestry. He earned a Master's degree in Persian from Forman Christian College (FCC) in Lahore. He remained with Government College Lahore for his entire career, rising to head the Department of Persian Studies.

He is best known for his many poems written for children, as the creator of the Tot Batot character, and as the translator of many poetical works from Urdu and Persian into Punjabi. Sufi Tabassum's style is in the classical tradition, informed by a deep awareness of the pain and suffering that afflicts modern life.
For about fifty years he was a prominent speaker on radio and television. His poems were used as the lyrics of several songs sung by Noor Jehan.

In 1966 he received the Tamgha-e-Nishan-e-Sipaas award of the Government of Iran, and he was awarded the Sitara-i-Imtiaz by the Government of Pakistan

Urdu Poets (Qateel Shifai)

Aurangzeb Khan, Qateel Shifai (24 December 1919 - 11 July 2001) (Urdu: قتیل شفا ئی ) was a Pakistani Urdu poet. He was born in Haripur, Hazara Division, British India (now Pakistan).

His original name was Aurangzeb Khan but he adopted Qateel Shifai as his pen name in 1938 under which he was known in the world of Urdu poetry. "Qateel" was his "takhallus" and "Shifai" was in honour of his ustaad Hakim Mohammed 'Shifa' whom he considered his mentor.

Due to his father's early death, Qateel was forced to quit his education. He started his own sporting goods shop. Being unsuccessful in his business he decided to move to Rawalpindi, where he started working for a transport company and earned about 60 Rupees a month.

In 1946, he was called to Lahore by Nazir Ahmed to work as the assistant editor of the monthly 'Adab-e-Latif', a literary magazine published since 1936. His first ghazal was published in the Lahore weekly 'Star', edited by Qamar Jalalabadi.
In January 1947, Qateel was asked to pen the songs of a film by a Lahore based film producer. The first film he penned the lyrics for was "Teri Yaad". After that there was no looking back. He won numerous awards as a lyricist. Many of his poem collections were published, one amongs them being "Mutriba" which got him the highest literature award in Pakistan.

To raise the standards of ghazals in films has been Qateel's primary contribution to Urdu poetry. This was already started by Tanvir Naqvi and Sahir Ludhianvi, but perpetuated and concluded by Qateel Shifai. By using simple words and a larger amount of Hindi, Qateel brought Urdu poetry closer to the masses. He established a certain standard to ghazals in films and gave them a certain respectability.

Qateel Shifai worked on numerous ghazal albums with Jagjit and Chitra Singh, as well as with Ghulam Ali to name a few.

Over 20 collections of verse and over 2,500 songs for Pakistani and Indian films were published. His poetry has been translated into numerous languages including Hindi, Gujarati, English, Russian and Chinese.

Qateel Shifai received the 'Pride of Performance Award' in 1994 for his contribution to literature, 'Adamjee Award', 'Naqoosh Award', 'Abbasin Arts Council Award' and 'Amir Khusro Award' in India.

He died on 11 July 2001 in Lahore. The street on which he lived in Lahore has been named Qateel Shifai Street after him. There is also a sector of Haripur city that has been named after him - Mohallah Qateel Shafai.

His poetry is included in the masters' level syllabus in many universities in Pakistan and India.

Urdu Poets ( Habib Jalib)

Habib Jalib (Urdu: حبیب جالب) (1928 – March 12, 1993) was one of the most renowned Pakistani revolutionary and Urdu poets of 20th century. A left wing activist and politician, he was a staunch democrat who opposed martial law, authoritarianism and state oppression.
He was a Marxist-Leninist and aspired to the ideals of Communism. He was a member of the Communist Party of Pakistan; later when the Communist Party was banned and started working under the banner of the National Awami Party, Jalib joined the NAP. He expressed his beliefs openly and paid heavily for them. Habib Jalib spent most of his life in Jail and the rest on the streets.
in 1993 Habib Jalib died. His family refused a government offer to pay for his funeral expenses.
After his passing, Qateel Shifai expressed his sorrow and grief in these words:
Apney sarey dard bhula kar auron ke dukh sehta tha
Hum jub ghazlain kehtey thay wo aksar jail main rehta tha
Aakhir kar chala hi gya wo rooth kar hum farzanon se
Wo deewana jisko zamana Jalib Jalib kehta tha

Urdu Poets ( Hafeez Jallandhuri)

Abu-Al-Asar Hafeez Jullandhuri (Punjabi, Urdu: ابو الاثر حفیظ جالندھری) writer, poet and above all composer of the National Anthem of Pakistan. He was born in Jalandhar, Punjab, India on January 14, 1900. After partition of India in 1947 he moved to Lahore. Hafeez made up for the lack of formal education with self-study but he has the privilege to have some advise from the great Persian Poet Maulana Ghulam Qadir Bilgrami. His dedication, hard work and advise from such a learned person carved his place in poetic pantheon.
Hafeez Jullandhuri actively participated in Pakistan Movement and used his writings to propagate for the cause of Pakistan. In the early of 1948, he joined the forces for the freedom of Kashmir and got wounded. Hafeez Jalandhari wrote the Kashmiri Anthem, "Watan Hamara Azad Kashmir". He wrote many patriotic songs during Pakistan, India war in 1965.
Hafeez Jullandhuri served as Director General of morals in Pakistan Armed Forces, and very prominent position as adviser to the President, Field Marshal Mohammad Ayub Khan and also Director of Writer's Guild.

His monumental work of poetry, Shahnam-e-Islam, gave him incredible fame which, in the manner of Firdowsi's Shahnameh, is a record of the glorious history of Islam in verse. Hafeez Jullandhuri wrote the national anthem of Pakistan composed by S.G.Chhagla. He is unique in Urdu poetry for the enchanting melody of his voice and lilting rhythms of his songs and lyrics. His poetry generally deals with romantic, religious, patriotic and natural themes. He chooses his themes, images and tunes from the subcontinent and his language is a fine blend of Hindi and Urdu diction, reflecting the composite culture of South Asia.
He first married in 1917, when he was seventeen years old. His first wife was his cousin "Zeenat Begum". They altogether had seven children, all of them girls and no boys. In 1939 he married for the second time with a young English woman and had one girl with her. This marriage ended in a divorce. His first wife died in 1954. In 1955 he married with Khurshid Begum. The third relation also gifted him one girl.

In 1922 – 1929 he remained the editor of a few monthly magazines namely, "Nonehal", "Hazar Dastaan", "Teehzeeb-e-Niswan", "Makhzin". His first collection of poems Nagma-e-Zar was published in 1935. After the World War II, he worked as the director of the Song Publicity Department. During this same time he wrote songs that were much liked by the public.
He died on December 21, 1982 at the age of eighty two years. He was buried in Model Town, Lahore but later on his dead body was re-buried in the tomb near Minar-e-Pakistan.

For his literary and patriotic services he received the most coveted awards of Hilai-e-lmtiaz and the Pride of Performance awarded to him by the President of Pakistan. Further more, The Government of Pakistan Issued a Post Ticket of 2 Rs Pakistani of the picture of Hafez Jullandhuri on January 14, 2001.

Urdu Poets ( Ibn-e- Insha)

Ibn-e-Insha (Punjabi, Urdu: ابن انشاء) (b. 15 June, 1927 d. 11 January, 1978) was an eminent Pakistani Leftist Urdu poet, humorist, Travelogue writer and Columnist. Along with his poetry, he was regarded one of the best humorists of Urdu. His poetry has a distinctive diction laced with language reminiscent of Amir Khusro in its use of words and construction that is usually heard in the more earthy dialects of the Hindi-Urdu complex of languages, and his forms and poetic style is an influence on generations of young poets.
He was born on June 15, 1927 as Sher Muhammad Khan (شیر محمد خان) in Phillaur tehsil of Jalandhar District, Punjab, India. His father hailed from Rajasthan. He did B.A. from Punjab University in 1946 and M.A. from University of Karachi in 1953. He was associated with various governmental services including Radio Pakistan, Ministry of Culture and National Book Centre of Pakistan. He also served UN for some time and this enabled him to visit a lot of places and was the reason of his subsequent travelogues. Some of the places that he visited includes Japan, Philippines, China, Hong Kong, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, India, Afganistan, Iran, Turkey, France, UK and US. Insha got the mentors like, Habibullah Ghazanfer Amrohvi, Dr. Ghulam Mustafa Khan and Dr. Abdul Qayyum. Insha spent much of his time in Karachi. He died of Hodgkin's Lymphoma on January 11, 1978 in London and was buried in Karachi.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Urdu Poets (Khwaja Mir Dard)

Khwaja Mir Dard ( Urdu: خواجه مير درد ) was born in 1721 and died in 1785. He is one of the three major poets of the Delhi school- the other two being Mir Taqi Mir and Sauda- who could be called pillars of the classical Urdu ghazal.

Dard was first and foremost a mystic, a prominent member of the Naqshbandi Mujaddidi order, and the head of the Muhammadi path (tariqah muhammadiyah, a Mujaddidi offshoot) in Delhi. He regarded the phenomenal world as a veil of the eternal Reality, and this life as a term of exile from our real home. Dard inherited his mystical temperament from his father, Khwaja Muhammad Nasir Andalib, who was a mystic saint and a poet, and the founder of the Muhammadi path.

Dard received his education in an informal way at home, and in the company of the learned, acquiring in due course a command of Arabic and Persian, as also of Sufi lore. He also developed a deep love of music, possibly, through his association with singers and qawaals who frequented his father's house. He renounced earthly pleasures at the young age of 28, and led a life of piety and humility.

The secret of Dard's appeal as a poet lies not in his mysticism, but in his ability to transmute this mysticism into poetry, and to present transcendental love in terms of human and earthly love. Although he has written ghazals which are unambiguously mystical in their intent, his best couplets can be read at both the secular and spiritual levels, and are, for this reason, acceptable to all and sundry. In addition, Dard had also written ghazals which deal with a patently sensuous and earthly love, and deserve to be classed with the best poetry of this kind. Dard generally excels in short ghazals of about seven to nine verses, written in comparatively short measures. His style is simple, natural and musical; his content, thoughtful and thought-provoking. His poetry includes a collection of Urdu ghazals and a divan in Persian.

Dard's Persian prose works are extensive, consisting of the Ilm ul Kitab, a 600+ page metaphysical work on the philosophy of the Muhammadi path, and the Chahar Risalat, collections of more than a thousand mystical aphorisms and sayings.

Urdu Poets ( Meer Anees)

Mir Babbar Ali Anis ( Urdu: مير ببر علي انيس ) was a renowned Urdu poet. He was born in Faizabad in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh in 1803 and died in 1874.

His father, Mir Khaliq who was a famous poet and litterateur, took personal interest in the education and upbringing of his son, and entrusted him to the care of reputed contemporary teachers, Mir Najaf Ali Faizabadi and Maulvi Hyder Ali Lucknavi. In addition, Anis's mother who was an educated and pious lady, played a significant role in shaping the personality of the boy poet. But above all, it was the boy's own instinctive urge for learning and literature that made him an accomplished poet, proficient in Arabic, Persian and Islamic scriptures, and well-versed in logic, literature and philosophy. Poetry came to him as ancestral heritage, for his forbears, going back to his great grandfather, were eminent poets and men of letters. Anis was the grandson of Mir Hasan who is remembered for his immortal Masnavi, Sehir-ul-Bayaan. His parents had migrated in their old age to Lucknow, where he spent the best part of his life.
Anis had started writing poetry quite early in his life right at Faizabad, though he perfected his art in Lucknow under the supervision of Imam Bakhsh Nasikh. In keeping with the popular trend, he first tried his hand at the ghazal, but failing to make much headway in this sphere, he changed over, under the advice of his father, to the writing of marsias, in which domain he soon established a high reputation, equaled (sometimes) by his poetic compare, Salamat Ali Dabir. Anees broadened the scope of this genre by including in its body, in addition to the customary lamentation and mourning, realistic scenes of the battlefield, graphic delineations of the hero's face and figure, lively portrayals of the emotional states of the combatants, accurate descriptions of the landscape, and occasional interludes of moral edification. Anis was a master of simple, natural utterance, with a superb command on the language, which was always adequate to express a large variety of moods, scenes, characters and situations. He is specially notable for presenting the same scene or situation, over and over again, in different words or phrases, without letting it appear monotonous. Besides being a master of the marsia, Anis was also a specialist of the rubai, the shortest complete poem in Urdu, containing only four lines.
Anis died in 1874 at the age of 71. The Marsia, strictly speaking, is an elegiac poem written to commemorate the martyrdom and valour of Hazrat Imam Hussain and his comrades of the Battle of Karbala. In its form the marsia generally consists of six-line units, with a rhyming quatrain, and a couplet on a different rhyme. This form found a specially congenial soil in Lucknow, chiefly because it was the centre of Shia community, which regarded it an act of piety and religious duty to eulogies and bemoan the martyrs of the battle of Karbala, and Even a short poem written to mourn the death of a friend can be called marsia. Lord Alfred Tennyson's poem 'In Memoriam' can rightly be called marsia. The sub-parts of marsia are called noha and soz which means lamentation and burning of (heart) respectively. It is usually a poem of mourning. The form reached its peak in the writing of Mir Babbar Ali Anis.
The famous marsia writers who inherited the tradition of Mir Anis among his successive generations are Mir Nawab Ali 'Munis', Dulaha Sahab 'Uruj', Mustafa Meerza urf Piyare Sahab 'Rasheed', Syed Muhammad Mirza Uns, Ali Nawab 'Qadeem', Syed Sajjad Hussain 'Shadeed', Syed Sajjad Hussain "Shadeed" Lucknavi, Dr. Syed Ali Imam Zaidi, "Gauher" Luckhnavi the great grandson of Mir Babber Ali Anis.

Urdu Poets (Firaq Gorakhpuri)


Raghupati Sahay 'Firaq' Gorakhpuri (Urdu: فراق گورکھپوری) (1896-1982) was one of the most noted contemporary Hindu, Urdu poets from India. He established himself, in an era which boasted stalwarts of Urdu poetry, likes of Sahir, Iqbal, Bhupendra Nath Kaushik "Fikr", Faiz Ahmed Faiz and Kaifi Azmi.

His noted poetry collections include, Rooh-o-Qaayanat, Gul-e-Ra'naa, Nagma-numaa and his magnum opus, Gul-e-Naghma.

Raghupati Sahay, was born in 1896, Gorakhpur in a Kayastha family. He was co-opted into the Provincial Civil Service (PCS), but resigned and joined Allahabad University as a lecturer in English. It was here he wrote most of his Urdu poetry and his magnum opus Gul-e-Naghma which fetched him the Jnanpith Award and also the 1960 Sahitya Akademi Award in Urdu, and was later awarded the highest award of the 'Akademi', the Sahitya Akademi Fellowship' in 1970. Of a very sharp intellect, he was also known for his vituperative wit.

He died in 1982.

Urdu Poets (Parveen Shakir)


Parveen Shakir, (Urdu: پروین شاکر) (November 24, 1952 - December 26, 1994) was a Pakistani Urdu poetess, teacher and a civil servant of the Government of Pakistan.
Shakir started writing at an early age, initially under the pen name of 'Beena,' and published her first volume of poetry, Khushbu [Fragrance], to great acclaim, in 1976. She subsequently published other volumes of poetry - all well-received - including Inkaar [Refusal], Sad-barg [Marsh Marigold], Khud Kalami [Conversing with the Self] and Kaf-e-Aa'ina [The Edge of the Mirror], besides a collection of her newspaper columns, titled Gosha-e-Chashm [The Sight Corner], and was awarded one of Pakistan's highest honours, the Pride of Performance for her outstanding contribution to literature.
Shakir suffered an untimely death in 1994, the result of a car accident while on her way to work.
Shakir started writing at a young age, penning down both prose and poetry, and contributing columns in Urdu newspapers, and a few articles in English dailies. Initially, she wrote under the pen-name, Beena.



Shakir's first book, Khushbu (Fragrance), was published in 1976 and won Pakistan's Adamjee Award. She subsequently published Sad-barg (Marsh Marigold), Khud kalami (Conversing with the Self), Inkaar (Refusal), Maah-e-Tamam (Full Moon) and Kaf-e-Aa'ina (The Edge of the Mirror), all to great acclaim.


Shakir's poetry was well-received, and after her untimely death she is now considered one of the best and "most prominent" modern poets Urdu language has ever produced. Hailed as a "great poetess," her poetry has drawn comparisons to that of Iranian poet Forough Farrokhzad, and she is considered among the breed of writers "regarded as pioneers in defying tradition by expressing the "female experience" in Urdu poetry."


A source states, "Parveen ... seems to have captured the best of Urdu verse ... Owing to [her] style and range of expressions one will be intrigued and ... entertained by some soul-stirring poetry." Another praises "her rhythmic flow and polished wording."


Literary figure Iftikhar Arif has praised Shakir for impressing "the young lot through her thematic variety and realistic poetry," for adding "a new dimension to the traditional theme of love by giving expression to her emotions in a simple and pellucid style," and using a "variety of words to convey different thoughts with varying intensities."


The Delhi Recorder has stated that Shakir "has given the most beautiful female touch to Urdu poetry."
Shakir's first book, Khushbu, was awarded the Adamjee Award. Later, she was awarded the Pride of Performance, one of Pakistan's highest honours.


Upon her death, the Parveen Shakir Trust was established by her close friend, Parveen Qadir Agha. The Parveen Shakir Trust organizes a yearly function and gives out the "Aks-e-Khushbo" award.

Urdu Poets ( Nasir Kazmi)


Syed Nasir Raza Kazmi, (1925-1972) (Urdu: سید ناصر رضا كاظمی ) was a renowned Urdu poet of Pakistan. He was one of the greatest poets of this era, especially in the use of "ista'aaray" and "chhotee beher".
Kazmi was born on December 8, 1925 at Ambala in British India. He was educated at Ambala, Simla and Lahore. He returned to Ambala in 1945 and started looking after his ancestral land. After the creation of Pakistan in 1947, he came to Lahore. He did some journalistic work with Auraq-e-Nau as an editor and became editor-in-chief of the magazine Humayun in 1952. Later he was associated with Radio Pakistan, Lahore and other literary publications and organizations.
Kazmi started his poetic life in 1940 by following the style of Akhtar Sherani and wrote romantic poems and sonnets. Later he began writing ghazals under the guidance of Hafeez Hoshyarpuri. He was a great admirer of Mir Taqi Mir and probably the melancholy and "Ehsaas-e-Mehroomi" in his poetry was a direct result of that. His tutor in poetry was Hafeez Hoshyarpuri, who himself used a lot of symbols from nature in his poems.

Nasir, few days before his death, said in a TV interview by Intezaar Hussain, that 'horse riding, hunting, wandering in a village, walk along the river side, visiting mountains etc were my favourite pastimes and probably this was the time when my mind got nourishment for loving nature and getting close to the expression of poetry. All my hobbies are related with fine arts, like singing, poetry, hunting, chess, love of birds, love of trees etc... i started poetry because I used to reflect that all the beautiful things those I see, and those in nature are not in my hands, and they go away from me. Few moments, that time which dies, cannot be made alive. I think can be alive in poetry, that is why I(Nasir) started poetry!' Nowadays, very few people may remember that Nasir used to hum his poetic verses and that humming had much attraction in it.

He migrated from Ambala, India to Lahore Pakistan in August 1947. He also worked as a Staff Editor in Radio Pakistan. He used to sit at Tea House and wander at Mall Rd, Lahore with his friends. He was fond of eating, wandering and enjoying life. Normally people take him as a sad poet but most of his poetry is based on romantic happiness and the aspect of hope.

His last four books tragically were published after his death. He died in Lahore on March 2, 1972 due to stomach cancer. Few people know that he did some great translations of English poets, especially his translation of Walt Whitman's "Crossing Brooklyn Ferry" by the title of "Brooklyn Ghaat Ke Paar" is a real masterpiece and worth reading.

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