Shamsur Rahman Faruqi (born 1935) is an eminent Urdu critic, poet and theorist, who has nurtured a whole generation of Urdu writers since the 1960s. He is regarded as the founder of the new movement in Urdu literature and has formulated fresh models of literary appreciation. With rare skill and clarity, he absorbed western principles of literary criticism and subsequently applied them to Urdu literature, but only after adapting them to address literary aesthetics native to Arabic, Persian, and Urdu.
He has done MA in English from Allahabad University in 1955.
He worked as a civil servant in the Indian Postal Department and other departments of the Government of India from 1958–1994 and became Chief Postmaster-General and Member, Postal Services Board, New Delhi.
As of 1994, he is a full-time writer and editor of his literary magazine Shabkhoon . The magazine ceased publication in 2005, when it had just entered its fortieth year of regular publication. He has been adjunct professor at the South Asia Regional Studies Centre, University of Pennsylvania, USA.
He also held the Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan Chair in the Faculty of Humanities at the Jamia Millia Islamia University, New Delhi. He permanently resides at Allahabad, a prominent city in State of Uttar Pradesh in India. In January 2009 he was awarded the "Padma Shri" (or "Lotus Adornment"), the fourth highest civilian honor that the Indian Government bestows.
He contributed a great and valuable literature to Urdu adab. Some of his work is mentioned below:
• Sher, Ghair Sher, Aur Nasr (1973)
• The Secret Mirror (in English, 1981)
• Ghalib Afsaney Ki Himayat Mein (1989)
• Sher Shore Angez (in 3 volumes, 1991–93)
• Urdu Ka Ibtedai Zamana (2001)
• Ganj-i-Sokhta (poetry)
• Sawar Aur Doosray Afsanay (fiction)
• Kai chand thay sar-e asman (novel)
• Jadeediyat Kal Aur Aaj (2007)
An expert in classical prosody and ‘ilm-e bayan (the science of poetic discourse), he has contributed to modern literary discourse with a profundity rarely seen in contemporary Urdu critics.
He is the recipient of numerous honors and awards. Most recently he was awarded the prestigious Saraswathi Samman for his pioneering work She`r-e Shor-Angez. In this four-volume study of the great eighteenth-century poet Mir Taqi Mir, Faruqi uses a refreshingly eclectic approach and a variety of insightful critical tools to interpret Mir’s art.
Farooqi has brought a new vision to investigate the greatness of the great Urdu poet mir taqi mir but while talking about his art of writing, to forget Muhammad Hasan Askari will leave him with no predecessor. Though he is a self acclaimed modernist, many a times he has gone through a lot of changes in his ideas. Farooqi writes the same way Askari used to wrote. The elaboration and the clarity in his expression comes directly from Askari,a great Urdu critic preceding him.
His writings are a combination of western and eastern theoretical efforts. While rediscovering mir he has chosen to implement the most effect tool of new criticism, close reading. He centralises a particular word and then replaces it with other synonymous words without disturbing the regular meteri attern of the couplet to why only that particular word has enlivened the couplet and imported it with such a charm and meaningfulness that differentiates it from other couplets of the same meaning. His greatness lies in the systematic, logical, and sharp expression lacking in the writings of almost all contemporary Urdu critics.