Sunday, September 6, 2009

Urdu Poets (Kaifi A'zami)

Kaifi Azmi (Urdu: کیفی اعظمی, Hindi:) (1919 - May 10, 2002) was an Urdu and Hindi lyricist, poet and songwriter.

Kaifi Azmi was born as Syed Athar Hussain Rizvi into a family of landlords in the small village Mejwaan, in the district of Azamgarh, Uttar Pradesh. His father, Syed Fateh Hussain Rizvi, though a landlord, took up employment first in a small native state called Balharah as a tahsildar and later, he worked in other areas of Uttar Pradesh.

He decided to send his sons to schools imparting modern education, including English, against the stiff opposition of his relatives. However, Azmi could not get this opportunity because his elders wanted him to become a theologian. He was admitted to Sultan-ul-Madaris, a reputed seminary in Lucknow. However, his nonconformist nature created many problems for the authorities of the seminary. He formed a students' union and asked all the students to go on strike to get their demands fulfilled. The strike continued for a year and a half. Though the strike was called off, he was expelled from the seminary. This was the end of his elder's dream of training him to become a theologian.

Azmi could not seek modern education but he passed various examinations in Lucknow and of Allahabad universities that helped him acquire command over Arabic, Persian and Urdu.

At age eleven, Kaifi Azmi wrote his first ghazal Itna To Zindagi Mein Kisi Ki Khalal Pade and somehow managed to get himself invited to a mushaira and over there, he recited a ghazal, rather a couplet of the ghazal which was very much appreciated by the president of the mushaira, Mani Jaisi, but most of the people, including his father, thought he recited his elder brother's ghazal. When his elder brother denied it, his father and his clerk decided to test his poetic talent. They gave him one of the lines of a couplet and asked him to write a ghazal in the same meter and rhyme. Azmi accepted the challenge and completed a ghazal. This particular ghazal was to become a rage in undivided India and it was immortalized as it was sung by legendary ghazal singer, Begum Akhtar.

Kaifi abandoned his studies of Persian and Urdu during the Quit India agitations in 1942 and shortly thereafter became a full time Marxist when he accepted membership of the Communist Party of India in 1943.He had expressed his view towards social system of our country at that time.In the Flim called "Payasa" he wrote a song which also made Mr. Jawahar Lal Nehru,Prime Minister Of India that time, to feel a pain.Some of the lines of this poetry were very significant in the consequence of our social system.

During this period, the leading progressive writers of Lucknow noticed him. They were very impressed by his leadership qualities. They also saw in him a budding poet and extended all possible encouragement towards him. Consequently, Azmi started to win great acclaim as a poet and became a member of Progressive Writers' Movement of India.

At the age of twenty-four, he started activities in the textile mill areas of Kanpur. As a full time worker, he left his life of comfort, though he was the son of a zamindar. He was asked to shift his base to Bombay, work amongst the workers and start party work with a lot of zeal and enthusiasm and at the same time would attend mushairas in different parts of India. In Bombay, he joined Ali Sardar Jafri in writing for the party’s paper, Qaumi Jung.

In 1947, he visited Hyderabad to participate in a mushaira. There he met, fell in love with and married a beautiful woman named Shaukat. Shaukat Kaifi later became a renowned actress in theatre and films. They had two children together, Shabana Azmi (b. 1950), a renowned actress of Indian cinema and Baba Azmi, a noted cameraman.

Like most of the Urdu poets, Azmi began as a ghazal writer, cramming his poetry with the repeated themes of love and romance in a style that was replete with clichés and metaphors. However, his association with the Progressive Writers' Movement and Communist Party made him embark on the path of socially conscious poetry.

In his poetry, he highlights the exploitation of the subaltern masses and through them he conveys a message of the creation of a just social order by dismantling the existing one. Yet, his poetry cannot be called plain propaganda. It has its own merits; intensity of emotions, in particular, and the spirit of sympathy and compassion towards the disadvantaged section of society, are the hallmark of his poetry. His poems are also notable for their rich imagery and in this respect, his contribution to Urdu poetry can hardly be overstated.

Kaifi’s first collection of poems, Jhankar was published in 1943. His important works including anthologies of poetry, were Aakhir-e-Shab, Sarmaya, Awaara Sajde, Kaifiyaat, Nai Gulistan, an anthology of articles he wrote for Urdu Blitz, Meri Awaaz Suno, a selection of his film lyrics, and the script of Heer Ranjha in Devanagari.

His best known poems are Aurat, Makaan,Daaera,Saanp, and Bahuroopni. " Kar chale hum fida jan-o-tan sathion.

Urdu Poets (Ra'ees Amrohi)

Syed Muhammad Mehdi, known as Rais Amrohvi (or Ra'ees Amrohvi) (Urdu: رئیس امروہوی) (1914 – 1988) was a noted scholar, Urdu poet and psychoanalyst of Pakistan, however he can not be classified as a psychoanalyst in a traditional sense, as he looked at psychology through a spiritual perspective rather than scientific.

He was born on September 12, 1914 in Amroha, India, in a notable family of scholars. Almost all the members of his family were poets. He migrated to Pakistan on October 19, 1947 and settled in Karachi.

He was known for his unique style of Qatanigari (quatrain writing). For many decades he penned quatrains every day for Pakistan's largest daily newspaper Jang. He also supported the Urdu language and the Urdu-speaking people of Pakistan.

He penned a number of books on metaphysics, meditation and yoga. He also tried to produce a standard Urdu translation of the Bhagavad Gita. He was assassinated on September 22, 1988.

Urdu Poets (Akbar Allahabadi)

Akbar Allahabadi (November 16, 1846-1921) (Urdu: اكبر الہ آبادی )was a famous Indian Urdu poet.

Akabar Allahabadi who was born as Syed Akbar Hussain at Allahabad, India. Though initially educated only in madrasas (religious school), he later studied law and finally retired as a session judge in Allahabad High Court.
He lived through tumultuous times, which is evident in his poetry, witessing the first war of independence in 1857, first world war and even the initial part of Gandhi's peaceful movement. He died in 1921 in Allahabad, the city of his birth.

Akbar's ustad was Waheed, who was the shagird of Aatish. Akbar is the pioneer in the field of humour and sarcasm; before him there were only serious poets who occasionally had one or two ash'ar of that kind in their ghazals. For Akbar humour was not only a style but an instrument to clearly understand the social change. He conveys his message in his own original style without losing the humorous feel. Like Iqbal he was also a poet of the mind, they both used their poetry to awaken the sleeping masses, but there is a sharp contrast in their styles. Underneath the wave of humour, we find the poet's pain - pain that this society is changing for the worst, pain that Muslims are forgetting their true values. Whereas Iqbal went on the define the causes and the solutions to those problems, Akbar style went more on defining the causes.
takeed-e-ibaadat pay yeH sab kahte haiN laRhke
peeri meiN bhi AKBAR ki zarafat nahiN jaati

[takeed-e-ibaadat = to remind for prayers, peeri= old age]
Akbar had great understanding and control of the Urdu language. He used simple language with very effective use. He also used English words in his poetry with interesting results, which was also to make fun of the Hindustanis who pretend to be British; a subculture that had thrived in the era of Akbar. Another aspect of his poetry is the strict criticism of so called religious figures who destroyed the dignity of islam by playing double standards. His poetry is the mouth piece of the modern culture at that time and clearly portrays his indepth knowledge with what was happened and the transition in cultural values.

Urdu Poets (Jan Nisar Akhtar)

Jan Nisar Akhtar (Urdu: جان نثار اختر; February 14, 1914 - August 19, 1976) was a famous Indian poet of Urdu ghazals and nazms and also a lyricist for Bollywood. He was the father of lyricist and script-writer Javed Akhtar and psychiatrist and poet Salman Akhtar, grandfather of Farhan Akhtar,Zoya Akhtar, Kabir Akhtar, and Nishat Akhtar, father-in-law of Shabana Azmi and Monisha Nayar, and the ex-father-in-law of Honey Irani and Raj Verma.

He was born in Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh, India. He taught in a college in Bhopal but moved to Bombay (now Mumbai) where he wrote lyrics for Urdu/Hindi movies besides ghazals and nazms for general publication. His association with Madan Mohan, the music director resulted in many memorable movie songs. He was married to Safiya sister of another renowned poet, Majaz.

His books include Nazr-e-Butaan, Salaasil, Javidaan, Ghar Angan and Khaak-e-Dil (all Urdu titles). He was awarded Sahitya Academy Award of India in 1976 for collection of his poetry titled "Khaak-e-dil" (The Ashes of Heart"). One of his many famous couplets is :

ashaar mere yuu.N to zamaane ke liye hai.n,
kuchh sher faqat unako sunaane ke liye hai.n
Although my poems are meant for the whole world,
There are some couplets meant just for the belove

He died in Mumbai, India on 19 August, 1976.

Urdu Poets (Nushoor Wahidi)

Nushoor Wahidi (Wahedi or Vahidi) (Urdu: نشور وحیدی ) was a famous Indian Urdu poet. Nushoor was Born in 1911 in the village of Sheikhpur, Ballia District, United Province (renamed as Uttar Pradesh after the Indian independence) Nushoor had 7 siblings. He received his early education at home.

Nushoor had begun to compose poems from an early age and had by the age of 13 become famous in his locality as a poet.

Nushoor's major breakthrough came in a poetry session featuring the famous poet Jigar Moradabadi. Moradabadi had been reciting poems for some time and desired to take a break. Nushoor offered to come on stage and recite a few of his own poems while Moradabadi did so. It was in this forum that Nushoor was first recognized by the literary circles as a talented poet. Even Moradabadi acknowledged the young man's skill.

He is known as one of Urdu's last romantic poets, Nushoor published several compilations of Urdu poetry and a volume on philosophy, named the Sabah-e-hind. Despite being very popular in literary circles, Nushoor refused to lend his poetry to the then emerging Indian movie industry. It is perhaps for this reason that Nushoor could not gain the massive fame that his contemporaries had.

Nushoor and his wife have two sons.

Nushoor died in 1983. His standing as a poet was so great that the Indian Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi, personally called his family to condole his death.

A park in the city of Kanpur, India has been named in his honor.

Urdu Poets (Noon Meem Danish)

Noor Mohammed, more commonly known as Noon Meem Danish or N.M. Danish (Urdu: ن۔ م۔ دانش; born 1958 in Karachi, Pakistan) is a Pakistani poet of African and Baloch descent. He was raised in a working class family in Lyari, a largely African neighbourhood, which he describes as "Karachi's Harlem". His real name is Noor Mohammed and he uses Noon (ن) for Noor and Meem (م) for Muhammad.

He did his early education at the "Okhai Memon School" in Kharadar, and began writing poetry in 1974. His African appearance often led people around him to assume he was a foreigner; he describes being asked frequently where he was from and why he spoke Urdu so well. After receiving his master's degree in Urdu from the University of Karachi in 1984, he began teaching at the Urdu College. He invited Indian poet Bashir Badr to recite poetry at Karachi University one time; Badr was delayed, and the students began to become restless; he responded to their complaints about their pre-lunch hunger with the comment to the effect that he would not have arranged for such an eminent poet to come if he had known that "the students of the Urdu Department had their brains in the stomach and not the head."
Bachay, Titli, Phool, Danish's first collection of poems, was published in 1997. He quickly garnered recognition for the anger he expressed through his works, in which he often made reference to his experiences as a member of the African diaspora; his work attracted the attention of leading Urdu critic Shamsur Rahman Farooqi, who had them published in Indian literary journal Shabkhoon. In 2000, he emigrated to the United States; he had remarked to a friend that he would prefer to be "a third class citizen of a first class country than a first class citizen of a third class country," but put off going through the procedures for almost two years due to his ambivalence about leaving his home. He first took up residence in the Kew Gardens neighborhood of Queens, New York City; he chose it because of its diversity, which helped him to feel less of a stranger as well as affording him the opportunity to study others' cultures. At first, he could only find job as a security guard, but he eventually joined the faculty of New York University; he later moved to the University of Maryland as a language consultant.

Danish cites Urdu poets such as Mustafa Zaidi, Obaidullah Aleem, Noon Meem Rashid, and Sirajuddin Zafar as his major influences; he is also an admirer of Langston Hughes and hopes to translate his works into Urdu. He is married to Tazeen Danish and has two children, Balach, 15, and Mahrang, 13.

Urdu Poets (Zohra Nigah)

Zohra Nigah (also spelled as Zehra Nigah), is one of the foremost female Urdu poets from Pakistan. She has been awarded various awards at home and abroad in recognition of her works. She is the sister of Fatima Suraiya Bajia, Anwar Maqsood and Zubaida Tariq (cooking expert).
Zehra Nigah is a prominent poet, one of the first two women poets to have achieved prominence in the 1950s in a predominantly male realm at that time. Besides her writing, she also became known for her spellbinding rendition in mushairas. She has published two books of verse titled Shaam ka Pehla Tara and Waraq. She has also been awarded the Pride of Performance for her contribution to literature.

Zehra Nigah writes both the ghazal and the nazm with the same involvement. The spontaneous use of everyday phrases and the colloquial idiom complement her direct and narrative style of writing, giving it a popular appeal that becomes even more pronounced in oral rendition. She has dealt with personal, social and gender themes very effectively in this manner.

Urdu Poets (Hasrat Jaipuri)

Hasrat Jaipuri (April 15, 1922 - September 17, 1999) was a Hindi and Urdu poet and film lyricist.
Hasrat was born Iqbal Husain in Jaipur, where he studied English till medium level, and then acquired his taalim in Urdu and Persian from his grandfather, Fida Husain. He began writing verse, when he was around twenty years old. Around same time, he fell in love with a Hindu girl named Radha. He wrote a poem for her;
Yeh mera prem patra padh kar,
ke tum naaraaz na hona.
Later, the poem was used as a song in Raj Kapoor's film, Sangam (1964).
In 1940, Hasrat came to Bombay (now Mumbai), and worked as a bus conductor, earning a monthly salary of eleven rupees. He used to participate in mushairas. At a mushaira, Prithviraj Kapoor noticed Hasrat and recommended him to his son, Raj Kapoor. Raj Kapoor was planning a musical love story, Barsaat (1949) with Shankar-Jaikishan. Hasrat wrote his first recorded song, Jiya Beqaraar Hai for the film. His second song (and first duet) was Chhod Gaye Baalam.

Along with Shailendra, Hasrat wrote lyrics for all Raj Kapoor films till 1971. But after the death of Jaikishan, and failures of Mera Naam Joker and Kal Aaj Aur Kal, Raj Kapoor turned to other lyricists and music directors. Kapoor initially wanted to call him back for Prem Rog, but later settled for another lyricist, Amir Qazalbash. Kapoor finally asked him to write lyrics for the film, Ram Teri Ganga Maili. Later, he also invited him to write three songs for the movie Henna. Hasrat alleges that after Raj Kapoor's death, the music composer Ravindra Jain "conspired" to "scrap" his lyrics and replace them with his own lyrics.

When fellow lyricist Shailendra turned producer with Teesri Kasam, he invited Hasrat to write lyrics for the movie. He also wrote screenplay for the movie Hulchul (1951). His last film as a lyricist was Hatya: The Murder (2004).

Hasrat has written several books of poetry, in Hindi and Urdu. He once said, "Hindi and Urdu are like two great and inseparable sisters".

Hasrat Jaipuri invested his earnings in property, on his wife's advice. Thanks to earnings from these properties, his financial condition was sound, and therefore he was not much active as a lyricist. He was survived by two sons and a daughter.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Urdu Poets (Prof.Dr. Pirzada Qasim Raza Siddiqui)

Prof. Dr. Pirzada Qasim Raza Siddiqui (Urdu: پیرزادہ قاسم رضا صدیقی) (b. 1943) is a noted scholar, Urdu poet and intellectual of Pakistan serving as Vice Chancellor of the University of Karachi.

Pirzada born on February 8, 1943 in a learned family of Delhi, British India. He did his intermediate from D J Science College and B.Sc (H) from University of Karachi. He earned his PhD from Newcastle University, England. He has been associated with Karachi University's Department of Physiology since 1960. He also served for Federal Urdu University as Vice Chancellor. At present, he is the vice chancellor of Karachi University. Two collections of Pirzada's poetry have brought out so far.

Urdu Poets (Ahmad Sharif Pagal Adilabadi)

Ahmed Sharif (Urdu: احمد شريف ) popularly known as Pagal Adilabadi (Urdu: احمد شريف پاگل عادل آبادى) is an Urdu poet from Hyderabad, India. He wrote mazahiya shayer or humorous poetry in his native dialect of Hyderabadi Urdu. His pen name, "Pagal", means "crazy" in Urdu.
Pagal Adilabadi was born in Nizamabad district, Andhra Pradesh. He was a teacher, in a government school in Adilabad in Andhra Pradesh.
Pagal Adilabadi had written humorous poems, shayaries in Urdu and he kept his name as pagal meaning crazy.

In his book Khusur Phusr, it has all his work in his whole life. In the initial stage, of his life he never published his works. He was busy while working as a teacher, but after getting retired from his job, he wrote khusur phusr.

Ahmed Sherif died, while working on his second book.

Urdu Poets (Fehmida Riaz)

Fahmida Riaz (Urdu: فہمیدہ ریاض) is a well known Urdu writer, poet, and feminist of Pakistan. She is author of Godaavari, Khatt-e Marmuz' and 'Khana e Aab O Gil - the first translation of the Masnavi of Maulana Jalaluddin Rumi into Urdu.

Fahmida Riaz was born on July 28, 1946 in a literary family of Meerut, UP, India. Her father, Riaz-ud-Din Ahmed, was an educationist, who had a great influence in mapping and establishing modern education system for Sindh. Her family settled in Hyderabad following her father's transfer to Sindh. Fahmida learnt Urdu, and Sindhi language literature in childhood and later Persian.
Her early life was marked by the loss of her father when she was just 4 years old. She was already making poetry at this young age. Her mother (Husna Begum) supported the family unit through entrepreneurial efforts until Fahmida entered college, when she started work as a newscaster for Radio Pakistan. Fahmida's first poetry collection was written at this time. She was persuaded by family to enter into an arranged marriage after graduation from college, and spent a few years in the UK with her first husband before returning to Pakistan after a divorce.
During this time she worked with the BBC Urdu service (Radio) and got a degree in film making. She has one daughter from her first marriage. She worked in an advertising agency in Karachi before starting her own Urdu publication "Awaz". She met and married Zafar Ali Ujan, a leftist political worker and had two children with him. The liberal and politically charged content of Awaz drew the attention of the Zia regime and both Fahmida and Zafar were charged with multiple cases, the magazine shut down and Zafar thrown in jail. Fahmida was bailed by a fan of her works before she could be taken to jail and fled to India with her two small children and her sister on the excuse of a Mushaira invitation. She has relatives in India. Her husband later joined her there after his release from jail.
The family spent almost seven years in exile before returning to Pakistan on the eve of Benazir Bhutto's wedding reception. During this time Fahmida had been poet in residence for a university in Dehli. She was appointed MD of the National Book Foundation in Benazir's first tenure and later persecuted by the first Nawaz Sharif govt., labelled an Indian agent and made virtually unemployable because of threats from the govt.. She worked three simultaneous jobs to support the needs of her growing children at this time. In the second tenure of Benazir's govt. she was given a post at the Quaed e Azam Academy. When Benazir's govt. toppled a second time, Fahmida was again persona non grata for Islamabad.

Fahmida lost her son Kabeer in October 2007. He drowned while swimming with friends on a picnic.

This was soon after Fahmida had translated fifty of Rumi's poems dedicated to Shams Tabriz.

Her first poem was published in Funoon of Ahmed Nadeem Qasmi, when she was merely 15. Her first collection of poetry appeared just after two months of marriage at the age of 22.
• Pathar ki Zaban
• Khatt-e Marmuz
• Godavari
• Kya tum poora chand na dekho ge
• Karachi
• Gulabi kabootar
• Badan darida
• Dhoop
• Aadmi ki zindagi
• Khule dareeche se
• Halqa meri zanjeer ka
• Adhoora aadmi
• Pakiustan, literature and society
• Qafle parindon ke
• Ye Khana e Aab O Gil

Urdu Poets (Israrul Haq Majaz)

Asrarul Haq Majaz was the darling of the Urdu world, the most famous and loved poet of his generation. His nazm, 'Aawara' Aye gham-e-dil kya karoon, Aye wahshat-e-dil kya karoon....[What to do O aching heart, what to do O frenzy wild] is considered one of the most popular verses of Urdu poetry.

Majaz was the uncle of Javed Akhtar and brother-in-law of Jaan Nisaar Akhtar. He was born in 1911 in Rudauli (UP). He received his early education in Lucknow and Agra, and then got his B.A. at Aligarh Muslim University. He started writing poems while in Aligarh and soon became a popular among the masses and well-respected among the literati. Majaz is also well-known for writing the anthem for Aligarh Muslim University, 'ye meraa chaman'.
He was the first Urdu poet who looked at woman with a different persepective, as a 'hamsafar' [companion] and yearned for an intelligent, enlightened and equal life partner.
His ghazal 'Tere maathe pe yeh anchal bohot khoob hai/ Lekin tu isse ek parcham bana leti to achchha thaa' was the foremost progressive voice in 30s. A darling of poetry-lovers, Majaz was so popular that Ismat Chughtai recounts, Girls college mein ladkiyan usse shaadi ke liye qura nikaalti theen"[it was a pastime among hostel girls to play draw of lots to decide which girl will marry him].

They kept his picture under their pillow but no father was willing to give him a daughter. After all, he was a poet with no other means to eke out a decent living for his family. Majaz and Jazbi were the original voices of the Progressive Writers' movement that later brought Faiz, Sardar Jafri and scores of other poets along and for the first time turned poetry into an instrument of changing lives of masses.
No generation of poets was as popular in any country as the young poets' crop during the Progressive Writers' Movement in the era of 1930s and 40s. The choice of words and the natural lyricism of his poetry gripped the audiences. His unique romantcism is most ably demonstrated
in following ghazal that also reflects the tragedy of his life:
Kuchh tujhko hai khabar ham kya kya ai shorish-e-dauraan bhool gaye
Woh zulf-e-pareeshan bhool gaye, woh deedae-giryan bhool gaye
Ab gul se nazar milti nahin, ab dil ki kali khilti nahin
Ai fasl-e-bahaaran rukhsat ho hum to luft-e-bahaaran bhool gaye
Ai shauq-e-nazaara kya kahiye, nigahon mei koi surat hi nahin
Ai zauq-e-tasavvur kya kahiye hum to surat-e-jaanan hi bhool gaye
Sab ka madawa kar daala apna madawa kar na sake
Sab ke gireban see daale apna hi girebaan bhool gaye
Ab apni wafa ka yeh aalam hai, unki wafa ko kya kahiye
Ek nashtar-e-zeher aageen rakh kar sarhaane, rag-e-jaan bhool gaye

Majaz was the natural choice when All India Radio started airing its programmes and he named the Urdu programme 'Awaz'. But his unrequited love affair with a girl and financial problems cost him dearly.

This unique generation of poets had awaited the dawn of independence and dreamt of an independent nation. He wrote anti-imperialistic poems like; 'Musafir bhaag waqt-e-baykasi hai/tere sar par ajal mandra rahi hai....and the immensely popular Tarana-e-Alighar...Sarshaar-e-nigaah-e-nargis hoon'

The post-partition riots and the violence in Mumbai of which he was a witness had shattered him. The promised dawn was not as glittering as the poets had dream of. He had started asking money from friends and others. Some politicians like Sarojini Naidu and a few bureaucrats of Delhi helped him.

He was admitted to hospital but came out and once again the 'fans' came around. In Lucknow and Delhi, he often wandered on the streets at night. People heard his cries of 'Maa.n, maa' at the monkey bridge in Lucknow.

As Josh once told him, Majaz ghadi rakh kar piya karo' asking him to drink steadily, the maverick poet laughingly said,' Josh sahab main ghada rakh kar peeta hoon'. Once Josh wrote 'Pindnama' in a magazine asking him to cut down on his drinking while praising Sheikh Abduallah [of Kashmir] in the same breath and Majaz replied,

'Nutq hairaan, dahan dareeda hai,
yeh shuneeda nahin deeda hai,
rind-e-barbaad ko naseehat hai,
sheikh ki shaan mein qaseeda hai'.
Whatever Majaz wrote...either.....
Jalaal-e-aatish o barq-e-sahaab paida kar,
ajal bhi kaanp uthe tu woh shabaab paida kar
Tu inquilab ki aamad ka intezar na kar,
jo ho sake to inquilab paida kar


Chhalkein tere aariz se gulaab aur zyada.
Allah kare zor-e-shabaab aur zyada...
And the lesser poetic:

Ilaahabad mein har soo hain charche
ki dilli ka sharaabi aa gaya hai
Guaabi laao chhalkao ki shaida-e-gulaabi aa gaya hai
Yahan ke shaharyaaron ko khabardaar kar do
ki woh mard-e-inquilabi aa gaya hai
His poetry struck chord with the generation of youths before and after independence. But the bloody riots of partition and bloodshed in Punjab shocked the nation and more so the progressive poets.

Poets were lamenting like Wamiq Jaunpuri who wrote: Yeh do-aab hai, sah-aab hai, Punjab nahin. Majaz was also left disillusioned. He fell ill and after recovery he was no longer the same person.

On a chilly winter night, he was taken away by a group of 'fans' who left him all alone on a hotel roof after drinking till late night, and he died alone in the bitter cold. Lucknow mourned and the nation mourned. At the age of 44.

Ab iske baad sub'h hai aur sub'h-e-nau majaz
hum par hai khatm shaam-e-ghareeban-e-lucknow.
A part of Lucknow died that day.
bohat mushkil hai dunyaa ka saNvarnaa
teri zulf ka pech-o-kham nahi hai

Urdu Poets (Nawab Mirza Khan Daagh)

Nawab Mirza Khan (1831-1905) (Urdu: نواب مرزا خان ), commonly known as Daagh Dehlvi (Urdu: داغ دہلوی) was an outstanding Mughal poet famous for his Urdu ghazals and belonged to the Delhi school of Urdu poetry. He wrote poems and ghazals under the takhallus (Urdu word for nom de plume) 'Daagh Dehlvi' (the meanings of 'Daagh', an Urdu noun, include stain, grief and taint while 'Dehlvi' means belonging to or from Delhi).

He lost his father at the age of six and was brought up by his stepfather, Mirza Muhammad Fakhroo, who was heir to Bahadur Shah Zafar, the last Mughal Emperor. On Fakhroo's death in 1865, Daagh left Delhi for Rampur where he went into government service and lived comfortably for 24 years. There followed a period of wandering and discomfort which ended when he was invited to Hyderabad in 1891. There he won his fame as an Urdu poet and lived a life of luxury. (Hyderabad was a cradle to many poets of that period following the decline of Mughals in Delhi. He died in 1905 at the age of 74.

Daagh had started reciting poetry at the age of ten. His forte was the ghazal. His poetry does not wallow in despair. The tone of his poems is rather exuberant. He was a self-acknowledged romantic but contrary to the impression one gets from his poetry, he eschewed wine. Usage of common words and phrases and thus simplicity was distinctive of his style. His work comprises four volumes consisting of 16,000 couplets.

Daagh mostly wrote ghazals which are sets of two-line couplets. Some of his couplets are highly quotable. For example;
Tu hai harjai to apnaa bhi yehi taur sahi
Tu nahin aur sahi, aur nahin, aur sahi
He had numerous disciples, though a widely quoted anecdote relates that when asked to designate his successor as the leading Urdu poet of his age, he replied "Bekhudain [the two Bekhuds]", referring to Bekhud Badayuni and Bekhud Dehlvi.

His ghazals have been sung by noted ghazal singers including Ghulam Ali, Mehdi Hassan, and Abida Parveen.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Urdu poets (Momin Khan Momin)

Momin Khan (1800-1851) (Urdu: مومن خان) was an Indian poet famous for his Urdu ghazals and used "Momin" as his takhallus (the Urdu word for nom de plume). He was born in Delhi. He was also called "Hakeem Khan" because he was a physician also. Hakeem is an Urdu word for physician.
Momin is known for his particular Persianized style and the beautiful use of his takhllus. According to legend, Mirza Ghalib (his contemporary and also a rival) offered Momin his entire diwan (collection of poetry) in exchange for a particular verse of Momin. The couplet in question was:

"Tum mere paas hote ho goya / Jab koi doosra nahi hota" which translates to:

You are close to me [as if] / when no one else is. This couplet's beauty is in its succintness and multiple layers of meaning, which are impossible to convey in any English translation (not least because of the difficulty of translating the word "goya"). And if we just interpret the couplet there is another meaning can be derive from it that"When I am surrounded by people you(lover)always on my mind but when I am alone I feel like having you in front of me"
One of his very famous ghazals starts with the following matla (the first line of the opening couplet of a ghazal).

Woh jo hum mein tum mein qaraar tha, tumheiN yaad ho ke na yaad hoo
Vohee yaani va'ada nibah ka, tumhaiN yaad ho ke na yaad ho

That understanding which we had between us... whether you remember it or not...
That promise of trust and faithfulness...whether you remember it or not...
He is also famed in Pakistan for the saying:

Umar sari toh kati ishq-e-butaN mein Momin/
Aakhri waqt mein kya khak MusalmaN hoNgay?

All your life you spent in love for idols o Momin [Believer] / In the last moment, how can you become a Muslim?

NOTE: The meaning of the first line is perceived to be: "All your life you lived in non-Muslim ways"

and the second line would mean: "in your last times, how will you prove Yourself as a Muslim" Ishq means love/faith & ButaN (plural for "but" that means statue), however, the term ISHQ-E-BUTAN suggests love/faith in statues of God (which is considered sin in Islam), though the literal translation of ISHQ-E-BUTAN is "love for statues or idols".

Momin Khan Momin's poem "voh jo hum mein tum mein qaraar tha" which is shown below, is one of the most famous poems of Urdu literature.

Urdu poets (Khwaja Haider Ali Atish)

Khwaja Haider Ali Atish (1778-1848) (Urdu: خواجہ حیدر علی آتش ) of Lucknow was one of the titans of Urdu poetry whose literary rivalry with his contemporary Nasikh produced some rare lyrical gems.

His Fathar’s name was Khwaja Ali Bakhsh. His incesters migrated from Baghdad and sattled in Shahjahanabad, India. Khawaja Ali Bakhsh left to Faizabad In the erra of Nawab Shujauddoulah, where Hayder Ali Aatish was born.
His Fathar Passed away when he was a child. Aatish Employeed with the Nawab of Faizabad Muhammad Taqi Khan and came to Kucknow with him, where he started poetry in the age of 29.

After death of Nawab Muhammad Taqi after arriving at Lucknow he did not do any job. He lost his eye sight in last days of life. He Passed away in 1848 and according to some writers in 1846. He spent a simple life. He did not try to create any coonection to the Darbar and did not say any poem to glorify any one. He saved his dignity with his less earnings.

Urdu poets (Moulana Altaf Hussain Hali)

Maulana Altaf Hussain Hali (1837-1914) (Urdu: مولانا الطاف حسین حالی) was an Urdu poet, and the last pupil of Mirza Ghalib. He is also one of the most well-regarded biographers of Ghalib's life, and a commentator of his poetry.

Moulana Hali was Born in Panipat in 1837, he was educated in the same city and later ran away to Delhi where he wished to gain further education in the Indo-Islamic poetic tradition.
It was here he chose the cognomen of Khastah ("The Spent One", or "The Tired One"). He was forced to return home, and pursued a government job until displaced by the Mutiny of 1857.

After this turning point in his life, he drifted from job to job for several years, arriving eventually in Lahore in the mid 1870s, where he began to compose his epic poem at the request of Sir Syed Ahmad Khan, the Musaddas e-Madd o-Jazr e-Islam ("An elegiac poem on the Ebb and Tide of Islam") under the new poetic pseudonym of Hali ("The Contemporary"). The Musaddas, or Musaddas-e-Hali, as it is often known, was published in 1879 to critical acclaim, and considered to herald the modern age of Urdu poetry. Hali also wrote one of the earliest works of literary criticism in Urdu, Muqaddamah-e- Shi'r-o-Sha'iri.

Musaddas e mado jazr islam, one of Hali's most famous works describes the rise and fall of the Islamic empire in the sub-continent. It speaks about the Islamic empire and its best and worst. The aim of this writing was to forewarn the Muslims of the sub-continent and make them more aware of their past and help them learn from their forefathers' mistakes.
Taryaq Masmoom, Mussadas-e-Hali, Hayat-e-Saadi, Hayat-e-Javaid, Yadgar-e-Ghalib and Muqaddamah-i Shi'r-o-Sha'iri are his famous books.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Urdu poets (Josh Malihabadi)

Josh Malihabadi (Urdu: جوش ملیح آبادی) (born as Shabbir Hasan Khan; شبیر حسن خان) (December 5, 1898 – February 22, 1982) was a noted Urdu poet born in British India, who was an Indian citizen until 1958, when he emigrated to Pakistan and became a Pakistani citizen. He wrote ghazals and nazm under the takhallus (Urdu for nom de plume) Josh (جوش) (literally, "Passion" or "Intensity").
Josh was born in Malihabad, United Provinces, British India. He studied at St Peter's College, Agra and passed his Senior Cambridge examination in 1914. Although Josh subsequently studied Arabic and Persian and, in 1918, spent six months at Tagore's university, Shantiniketan, the death of his father, Bashir Ahmed Khan, in 1916, prevented him from undertaking a college education.

In 1925, Josh began to supervise translation work at Osmania University, in the princely state of Hyderabad. However, his stay there ended, when he found himself exiled from the state for writing a nazm against the Nizam of Hyderabad, the then ruler of the state. Soon thereafter, he founded the magazine, Kaleem (literally, "interlocutor" in Urdu), in which he openly wrote articles in favour of independence from the British Raj in India. As his reputation spread, he came to be called Shaayar-e-Inquilaab ("Poet of the Revolution"). Subsequently, he became more actively involved in the freedom struggle (albeit, in an intellectual capacity) and became close to some of the political leaders of that era, especially Jawaharlal Nehru (later to be the first Prime Minister of independent India).

After the end of British Raj in India (1947), Josh became the editor of the publication Aaj-Kal (today and tomorrow).

Josh migrated to Pakistan in 1958 - despite Jawaharlal Nehru's insistence against it - over what is generally believed to be his concern regarding the future of Urdu language in India, where he thought the Hindu majority would encourage the use of Hindi rather than Urdu. After migration, Josh settled in Karachi and rigoriously worked for Anjuman-i-Tarraqi-i-Urdu with Maulvi Abdul Haq.

He remained in Pakistan until he died on February 22, 1982 in Islamabad. It is reported that he was not entirely well-received in Pakistan where his iconoclastic ideas and socialistic leanings and views were not in tandem with the political and the social set up of the country. In fact, he deeply regretted his decision (as he would tell his close friends and acquaintances) and felt slighted that he was not accorded the respect and importance he had expected on becoming a Pakistani citizen. He died a sad, broken man.

Josh is reputed to have had a masterful command over Urdu language and was quite strict about respecting the grammar and rules of the language. The first collection of his poetry was published in 1921. The collection of his poetry include Shola-o-Shabnam, Junoon-o-Hikmat, Fikr-o-Nishaat, Sunbal-o-Salaasal, Harf-o-Hikaayat, Sarod-o-Kharosh & "Irfaniyat E Josh" (all Urdu titles). On the advice of film director W.Z.Ahmed, he also wrote songs for Shalimar Pictures. During this time, he was staying in Pune. His autobiography is titled Yaadon ki Baarat.
Here's a brief list of his contribution to Urdu poetry.

• آوازۂ حق
• روح ادب
• شاعر کی راتیں
• جوش کے سو شعر
• نقش و نگار
• شعلہ و شبنم
• پیغمبر اسلام
• فکر و نشاط
• جنوں و حکمت
• حرف و حکایت
• حسین اور انقلاب
• آیات و نغمات
• عرش و فرش، رامش و رنگ
• سنبل و سلاسل
• سیف و سبو
• سرور و خروش
• سموم و سبا
• طلوع فکر
• موجد و مفکر
• قطرۂ قلزم
• نوادر جوش
• الہام و افکار
• نجوم و جواہر
• جوش کے مرثیے
• عروس ادب - حصہ اول و دوم
• عرفانیات جوش
• محراب و مضراب
• دیوان جوش

Urdu poets (Shakeel Badayuni)

Shakeel Badayuni (Urdu: شکیل بدایونی) (August 3, 1916 – April 20, 1970) was an accomplished Urdu poet, lyricist and songwriter.
Shakeel Badayuni was born in Badayun, Uttar Pradesh. His father, Mohammed Jamaal Ahmed Sokhta Qadiri wanted him to have a good career, thus he arranged Arabic, Urdu, Persian, and Hindi tuition for Shakeel at home. His inclination towards poetry was not hereditary like other shayars. One of his distant relatives, Zia-ul-Qadiri Badayuni was a religious shayar. Shakeel was influenced by him and the contemporary environment of Badayun led him to Sher-o-Shayari.

When he joined Aligarh Muslim University in 1936, he started participating in inter-college, inter-university mushairas and won frequently. In 1940, he married Salma, who was a distant relative of his and they had been living in a common house since childhood, however, the purdah system was vogue in their family and they were not close. After completing his B.A., he moved to Delhi as a supply officer, but continued participating in mushairas, earning fame nation-wide. Those were the days of shayars who wrote about the downtrodden sections of society, their upliftment, the betterment of society and all. But Shakeel had an altogether different taste - his poetry was more often not romantic and close to heart. Shakeel used to say:
Main Shakeel Dil Ka Hoon Tarjuma
Keh Mohabbaton Ka Hoon Raazdaan
Mujhe Fakhr Hai Meri Shayari
Meri Zindagi Se Juda Nahin

Shakeel moved to Bombay in 1944 to write songs for films. He met film producer, A.R. Kardar and music composer, Naushad who asked him to sum up his poetic skills in one line. Shakeel wrote, Hum dard Ka Afsana Duniya Ko Suna Denge, Har Dil Main Mohabbat Ki Ek aag Laga Daingay. Naushad immediately signed him for Kardar's film, Dard (1947). The songs of Dard proved to be very successful especially Uma Devi (Tun Tun)'s Afsana Likh Rahi Hoon. Only a few are so lucky that they attain success in their first film, but Shakeel deserved success which started with Dard and continued on over the years.

Together, he and Naushad became one of the most sought after composer/lyricist duos in the industry. Among the stupendous scores they churned out together, are those of Baiju Bawra (1952), Mother India (1957), and Mughal-e-Azam (1960), that stand out. Other films they scored together include Dulari (1949), Shabab (1954), Ganga Jamuna (1961), and Mere Mehboob (1963). Although Badayuni worked most extensively with Naushad, he also collaborated with Ravi and Hemant Kumar as well. His lyrics for the song Husnwale Tera Jawab Nahin and Ravi's music both won Filmfare Awards for the hit film Gharana. His other notable film with Ravi is Chaudhvin Ka Chand (1960), while Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam (1962) is his biggest hit with Hemant Kumar. The title song from Chaudhvin Ka Chand, rendered by Mohammed Rafi, won Badayuni the Filmfare Award for Best Lyricist in 1961.

Shakeel penned numbers for around 89 films. In addition, he wrote many popular ghazals which are still sung by vocalists like Pankaj Udhas and others. Shakeel shared a close friendship with Naushad, Ravi and Ghulam Mohammed, with whom he enjoyed his life to the fullest. Unlike other shayaars, he wasn't an alcoholic.

Shakeel Badayuni succumbed to diabetes complications at the age of fifty-three on April 20, 1970, leaving behind his wife, a son and a daughter. His friends, Naushad, Ahmed Zakaria, and Rangoonwala formed a trust called Yaad-e-Shakeel after his death and this trust is now the source of some income to his bereaved family.

Urdu poets (Ihsan Danish)

Ihsan Danish (or Ehsan Danish or Ahsan Danish; 1914 - 1982) (Urdu: احسان دانش), was a prominent Urdu poet from Pakistan. His life marked the struggle of person who didn’t have more than a primary level of education, who worked as ordinary laborer for years in odd jobs, and finally became a poet of excellence. His autobiography Jahan-i-Danish is a classic now and has motivated many.
Ehsan Danish has written more than 80 books and hundreds of articles on poetry, prose, linguistics, philology, autobiography and the famous interpretation of "Diwan-e-Ghalib". Only 5% of his works are published till now and the remaining books are still left unpublished either in the manuscript form or published only once.

Maulvi Saeed talks of Ihsan Danish, the poet. He recalls:

In 1928, when we lived in Mozang I happened to be present at a gathering in the street adjoining ours where a short-statured but a well-built darkish young man recited a naat in a voice which kept the audience spell-bound. The poet was Ihsan-bin-Danish (now Ihsan Danish, for ‘bin’ though in Arabic stood for ‘son of’, in Hindi meant ‘without’). The poet had come from across the Jamuna in search of employment — and perhaps recognition, too. Lahore gave him both; employment which hardly did any credit to this city, recognition, of course, which it never held back.

Ihsan was seen in the evening at the mushairas; in the morning, at the building sites with a brush in one hand and the lime-bucket in the other; or doing a gardener’s job on the Simla Hill. He has recorded the experiences of his early days in a fascinating autobiography — Jehan-i-Danish. In the realm of poetry, he was not a mere labourer, but a master architect.


1. Jahan-i-Danish
2. Jahan-i Diger
3. Tazkir-o-Tanis
4. Iblagh-i-Danish
5. Tashrih-i-Ghalib
6. Awaz sy Alfaz tk
7. Fasl-i-Salasil
8. Zanjir-i-Baharan
9. Abr-i-Naisan
10. Miras-i-Momin
11. Urdu Mutaradifaat
12. Derd-i-Zindagi
13. Hadis-i-Adab
14. Lughat-ul-Islah
15. Nafir-i-Fitrat

Urdu poets (Saghar Siddiqui)

The Poet: Saghar Siddiqui ساغر صدّیقی (takhallus: Saghar) was born in 1928 in Ambala (in united Punjab under British India). He was named Muhammad Akhtar at birth. He was the only child of his parents and he spent the early years of his life in Ambala and Saharanpur (UP, India). He received his early education from Habib Hassan, a friend of the family.

Young Akhtar was much impressed by this gentleman, and he got interested in Urdu poetry because of him. He writes that at 7-8 years of age, he had became so fluent in Urdu that people used to come to him to get their letters written.

Then he moved to Amritsar, Punjab, India. At that age he regularly read Urdu newspapers like Zamindar, Ahsan, and Inquilab . He for a couple of months used Nasir Hijazi as his pen name, but later he chose Saghar Siqddiqui. In the pre-teen years, he used to live with his teacher Habib Hassan in Amritsar. At age 16, he would regularly attend mushairas. He was also active in an Urdu majlis (society) formed for the advancement of Urdu literature by Dr. M. D. Tasir and Maulana Tajwar Najibabadi and attended its mushairas. He attended the Urs of Pir Sabir of Kalyar Sharif in 1945 and participated in the mushaira there.

In Amritsar, at a reception for the 3 Freedom fighter generals of the Azad Hind Army in the historic Jallianwala Bagh, he recited a poem on stage. He must be 16-17 years of age then. Many years later, he remembered the following lines from that poem:
تہذیبِ نو کے شیشہ و ساغر کو توڑ دو۔۔۔۔
ہو جس کا رُخ ہواۓ غُلامی پہ گامزن
اُس کشتئی حیات کے لنگر کو توڑ دو

At the time of partition he was only 19 years old. In those days with his slim appearance, wearing pants and boski (yellow silky cloth) shirts, with curly hair, and reciting beautiful ghazals in a melodious voice, he became a huge success. But perhaps he was too sensitive for this cruel world. He probably had some tragic turns in his life.

Gradually he slipped away from the hustle and bustle and into addiction. In his last few years he roamed the streets of Lahore in the garb of a faqir, with unshaved beard, dirt in his hair, and bare feet. Even in some of his ghazals, he uses the word faqir or darvesh for himself. He passed his nights outside the closed shops of Chowk Paisa Akhbaar (called so since the first newspapers were sold there for a paisa each) behind Government College Lahore, near the New Anarkali Bazaar.

Sometimes he would have to sell his ghazals to other poets for a few rupees. He would use the waste paper spread around to light fires to stay warm during winter nights. There, on the street, he passed away in Lahore on 19 July 1974 at age 46. His dead body was found one early morning outside one of the shops. Despite his shattered life, some of his verses (ash'aar) are among the best in Urdu poetry. It is unbelievable that he kept his inner self so pure and so transcending.

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