Maulana Mahir-ul-Qadri [1907-1978]
He was born in 1907 at village Kesar Kalan in Bulandshahr district in U.P. (India). His name was Manzoor Hussain. He affixed his poetic pen-name Mahir (with Qadri due to his spiritual links with the “Qadria” order). He received his early education from his celebrated father Mohammad Mashood Ali Zareef, a renowned poet of his days. After a thorough grounding in Persian, Arabic and Islamic education at home, he joined an English Medium School in Bulandshahr. He cleared his Metric in 1926 from Aligarh University.
At the age of 13, the Maulana began his poetic career. His first ghazal was published in Bulandshahr Gazette in 1924. Later Mahir-ul-Qadri went to Hyderabad, Deccan, where for 10 years he held key literary positions. He was associated with men like Maharaja Kishin Prasad Kaul and Nawab Muazzam Jah. At the time of Independence, Maulana Mahir-ul-Qadri migrated to Pakistan where he established himself as an outstanding poet, writer and journalist. He died in 1978.
Mirza Assadullah Ghalib
Usually called Mirza Noushah. His ancestors were of Samarqand. He was born at Agra and brought up and lived at Delhi, where he rose to great fame as a poet and writer of the Persian language, whilst his compositions in Urdu were not less admired. He won the favour of Bahadur Shah, the last King of Delhi who conferred upon him the title of Nawab, and appointed him royal preceptor in the art of poetry. He is the author of a Persian Insha, a Masnawi in praise of Ali, and a Diwan in Persian and another in Urdu. Both have been printed. At the age of sixty, while living at Delhi, was engaged in compiling a history of the Mughal emperors of India. His poetical name is Ghalib. He died in the year 1869. He will remain ever popular for his poetry and stylish prose.
Sufi Ghulam Mustafa Tabassum [1899-1978]
He was born in Amritsar on August 4, 1899. He received his early schooling in the Mission School Amritsar. After passing his Intermediate from Khalsa College, Amritsar, he came to Lahore and joined the Forman Christian College from where he graduated in Persian and Urdu literature. He then joined Islamia College for his Master’s degree in Persian. In 1927, he joined the Central Training College, Lahore, as a Lecturer, where he worked then till 1931.
In 1931, Sufi Tabassum joined Government College, Lahore, from where he retired as Head of the Persian Department in 1954. During this period he matured into a great poet, critic and teacher. He taught three generations of students, including Faiz Ahmad Faiz, Noon Meem Rashid and Ahmad Nadeem Qasmi who later became renowned poets. It was during this period that the best Urdu and Persian poems of Sufi Tabassum were written. The sittings he had with his brilliant students like Faiz and others in the Government College have become part of the literary history of Lahore and Urdu poetry.
After retirement, he formed the Iranian Cultural Centre in 1955. He devoted all his energies to modernising the Persian used by the scholars of the sub-continent an effort that has borne fruit. He handed over the Iranian Cultural Centre to the Iranian Government in 1958 after serving as its Director for three years. In 1958, he joined the weekly Magazine called “Lail-o-Nahar” as its Editor.
During his editorship, Sufi Tabassum devoted a lot of time to writing for children. He wrote numerous stories for children that have become part of the younger generation’s school curriculum. When his editorship ended, Sufi Tabassum joined Radio Pakistan as a Script Adviser. There again he distinguished himself as a broadcaster and commentator of literary subjects. He also worked extensively for children’s programmes.
Thereafter, he became Chairman of the Pakistan Arts Council, Lahore, and Vice-Chairman of Iqbal Academy. He worked tirelessly for both the organizations, building for the first time a magnificent building to mature into a national institution, while for the latter he laboured relentlessly to organize the Iqbal Centenary Celebrations and to get extensive research done on all aspects of the great poet’s life.
Faiz Ahmed Faiz [1911-1984]
Faiz Ahmed Faiz was a Pakistani poet considered to be one of the most famous modern Urdu poets. He was born in Sialkot, in the Punjab of pre-independence India (now Pakistan). After the partition of 1947, he decided to live in Pakistan, and died in Lahore. Faiz was a member of the Anjuman Tarraqi Pasand Mussanafin-e-Hind (Progressive Writers' Movement), and an avowed Marxist. In 1962 he was awarded the Lenin Peace Prize by the Soviet Union.
In the 1930s Faiz Ahmed Faiz married Alys Faiz, a British woman. They had two daughters. Alys Faiz's influence on Faiz's life and poetry is reputed to have been great.
Faiz was born in Sialkot on February 13, 1911.
Following the traditions of the Muslim community in the Indian subcontinent, Faiz, in his early age was sent to the Masjid (Mosque) to be oriented with the basics of religious studies by Maulvi Muhammad Ibrahim Mir Sialkoti. Later, he went to Scotch Mission School, Sialkot, for academic education and after matriculation, joined the Murray College, Sialkot for intermediate and graduation. His most influential teachers were Shams-ul-Ullamah (The Sun of Teachers) Syed Mir Hasan (Arabic) (who had also taught the well renowned philosopher, poet, and politician of South Asia, Allama Dr. Muhammad Iqbal), and Professor Yousuf Saleem Chishti (Urdu). He acquired his post-graduate studies from the Government College, Lahore (Master of Arts in English Literature) and the Oriental College, Lahore to achieve another masters degree in Arabic Literature.
Faiz started a branch of Anjuman Tarraqi Pasand Mussanafin-e-Hind in Punjab in 1936. Also he was a Member and Secretary of this branch. Faiz was also an Editor of Mahanama (Monthly) Adab-e-Lateef (1938-1942 AD).Faiz became a lecturer in English at M. A. O. College, Amritsar in 1935 and then at Hailey College of Commerce, Lahore. He briefly joined the British Indian Army and was promoted to the rank of Lieut. Colonel in 1944. He resigned from the Army in 1947 and returned to Lahore to become the first editor in chief of the Pakistan Times, a paper started by Mian Iftikharuddin under Jinnah's patronage. This paper played an important role in partition. In 1959 he was appointed as Secretary, Pakistan Arts Council and worked in that capacity till 1962.
Returning from London in 1964 he settled down in Karachi and was appointed as Principal at Abdullah Haroon College. He was editor of the monthly magazine Adabe-Latif from 1947 to 1958. Faiz distinguished himself as a journalist and was editor of the Pakistan Times, the Urdu newspaper Imroze and the weekly Lail-o-Nihar. In the 1965 war between India & Pakistan he worked in an honorary capacity in the Department of Information. In exile he acted as Editor of the magazine Lotus in Moscow, London and Beirut.
Faiz wrote poems that opposed the bloodshed occurring in what became Bangladesh during the conflict with Pakistan.
Faiz was an avowed communist and was associated with Communist Party in Pakistan. Faiz spent much of the 1950s and 1960s promoting the cause of communism in Pakistan. During the time when Faiz was editor of The Pakistan Times, one of the leading newspapers of 50s, he lent editorial support to CP. He was also involved in the circle lending support to military personnel (e.g. Major General Akbar Khan) who promised that in case of a successful military coup against Liaquat Ali Khan the CP would be allowed to function as a legitimate political party like any other party and to take part in the general elections. This involvement with CP and Major General Akbar Khan's coup plan lead to his imprisonment later.
When Faiz was asked if he was a communist he replied in his usual nonchalant manner "A communist is a person who is a card carrying member of the Communist party. The party is banned in our country. So how can I be a communist?"
Faiz was charged with complicity in a failed coup attempt known as the Rawalpindi Conspiracy Case and was sentenced to four years' imprisonment in 1951. The jail term gave him a first-hand experience of the harsh realities of life, and provided him with the much-needed solitude to think and write poetry. Two of his greatest works Dast-e-Saba and Zindan-Nama were products of this period of imprisonment.
- Naqsh-e-Faryadi, 1941
- Dast-e-Saba, 1953
- Zindan Nama, 1956
- Mizan, a collection of literary articles, 1956
- Dast Tah-e-Sang, 1965
- Sar-e-Wadi-e-Seena, 1971
- Sham-e-Shehr-e-Yaran, 1979
- Merey Dil Merey Musafar, 1981
- Nuskha-Hai-Wafa, 1984 (A collective work)
- Pakistani Culture, (Urdu and English)
Faiz was the first Asian poet to be awarded the Lenin Peace Prize, the Soviet Union's equivalent to the Nobel Prize in 1963. Other notable recipients include Pablo Neruda, Nelson Mandela, W.E.B. Dubois, Bertolt Brecht, Fidel Castro and Nobel Prize winning Chemist Linus Pauling. The real award for a poet is the love and appreciation of his fans and Faiz enjoyed both for most of his life. He recorded for the Library of Congress in 1977 which has fifty two works by him.
Before his death in 1984 he was also nominated for the Nobel Prize.
Ahmed Faraz [1931-2008]
Ahmed Faraz (January 14, 1931 in Nowshera - Pakistan) is considered one of the greatest modern Urdu poets of the last century and greatest living Urdu poet of present times. Faraz is his 'takhallus', whereas his real name is Syed Ahmed Shah.
Faraz, who has been compared with Mohammad Iqbal and Faiz Ahmed Faiz, holds a unique position as one of the best poets of current times, with a fine but simplistic style of writing, even common people can easily understand and identify with. Ethnically a Pashto-speaking Pashtun, Ahmed Faraz learned and studied Persian and Urdu at the Peshawar University where he taught these subjects later.
In an interview with Rediff he recalls how his father, a teacher, once bought clothes for him on Eid. He didn't like the clothes meant for him, but preferred the ones meant for his elder brother. This lead him to write his first couplet:
Layen hain sab ke liye kapde sale se (He brought clothes for everybody from the sale)
Layen hain hamare liye kambal jail se (For me he brought a blanket from jail)
He was told by his parents once to learn mathematics from a female class fellow during the summer vacation. "I was weak in mathematics and geography. I still don't remember maps and roads".
Instead of learning mathematics he played bait-bazi with her, a game in which one person recites a couplet and the other one recites another couplet starting from the last letter of the previous one. He always lost, even though he memorized hundreds of couplets for her, but when he started manufacturing his own couplets she couldn't catch him anymore. Coming from a respectable family of Syeds, descendents of ''Haji Bahadar" a famous saint of Kohat, he moved to Peshawar with entire family. Studied in famous Edwards College Peshawar and then did his Masters in Urdu and Persian. Initially Syed Ahmad Shah Faraz thus became Ahmed Faraz.
During his college time, Faiz Ahmed Faiz and Ali Sardar Jafri were the best progressive poets, who impressed him and became his role models. He initially worked as a script writer at radio Pakistan Peshawar and then moved on to teach Urdu at Peshawar University. In 1976 he became the founding Director General (Later Chairman) of Academy of Letters.
Outspoken about politics, he went into self-imposed exile during the Zia-ul-Haq era after he was arrested for reciting certain poems at a mushaira criticizing the military rule. He stayed for three years in Britain, Canada and Europe before returning to Pakistan, where he was initially appointed Chairman Academy of Letters and later chairperson of the Islamabad-based National Book Foundation for several years. He has been awarded with numerous national and international awards.
He was awarded the Hilal-e-Imtiaz in 2004, in recognition of his literary achievements. He returned the award in 2006 after becoming disenchanted with the government and its policies.
"My conscious will not forgive me if I remained a silent spectator of the sad happenings around us. The least I can do is to let the dictatorship know where it stands in the eyes of the concerned citizens whose fundamental rights have been usurped. I am doing this by returning the Hilal-e-Imtiaz (civil) forthwith and refuse to associate myself in any way with the regime..." a statement issued by the poet.
About his current writings he says: "I now only write when I am forced to from the inside."
Maintaining a tradition established by his mentor, the revolutionary Faiz Ahmed Faiz, he wrote some of his best poetry during those days in exile. Famous amongst poetry of resistance has been "Mahasara"
One amongst his great ghazals is the famous Ranjish Hi Sahi. He has so far written 13 books and all put together comes as "Shehr e Sukhn aarasta hai" his latest publication so far.
Hafeez Jalandhri [1900-1982]
Hafeez Jalandhri, mostly known as Abul Asar Hafeez Jalandhri 14 January 1900 was a Urdu poet, writer and the creator of the poetry of Pakistani anthem.He got the real fame due to his rhythmic Ghazals.The famous 'Shahnama-e-Islam' also falls into his credit. His poetry has a versatility dealing with all the basic emotions; religious, romantic, patriotic and other natural aspects. His poetry costitutes the classics of the Urdu literature.
Hafeez was born in Jalandhar.His father was Shams-ud-din who was Hafiz-e-Quran.He firstly studied in mosque and then got admission in some local school. He got education up to seventh class .He got no more formal education.
He first married in 1917 , when he was seventeen years old . His first wife was his cousin Zeenat Begum. They altogather had seven children. All were girls and no boy. In 1939 he married for the second time with a young English woman and had one child. She was divorced, later on. His first wife died in 1954.After that in 1955 he and Khurshid Begum got married. This third relation also gifted him one child.
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 won Pakistan's most prestigious awards.
- Pride of Performance
He died on December 21st, 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.