Ahmed Faraz born on January 12, 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.
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.
Ay Khuda jo bhi mujhay pand-e-shakibie dey
os ki aankhoun ko meray zakham ki gahrie dey
teray logoun se gella hai meray aienoun ko
un ko pathar neigh deata hai to benaie dey
jis ki emma per kia tarkay taalaq mein ne
ab wohie shakas mujeh taanay tanhie dey
ye dahan zakham ki surat hai meray chahray per
ya meray zakham ko bhar ya mujeh goyaie dey
itna bay serfa na jay meray ghar ka jalna
chahsam-e-garyian na sahie chahsam-e-tamashie dey
kia khaber tujeh ko kis andaz ka bismal hai Faraz
woh to qatil ko bhi andaz-e-masehaie dey
khuwab martay nahin
khuwab dil hain naa aankhain naa sansain keh jo
raizaa raizaa hoye tou bikhar jain gay
jism ki maut say yeh bhi mar jain gay
khuwab martay nahin………
khuwab tou roshni hain,nawaa hain,hawaa hain
jo kalay paharoon say…….. ruktay nahin
zulm kay dozakhoon say bhi thaktay nahin
roshni aur nawaa aur hawaa kay alam
maqtaloon main pohanch kar bhi jhuktay nahin
khuwab tou………… hurf hain
khuwab tou…………noor hain
khuwab……….. Suqraat hain
khuwab………. Mansoor hain
nasiib phir ko_ii taqriib-e-qarb ho ke na ho
jo dil me.n ho.n vahii baate.n kiyaa karo us se
‘Faraz’ tark-e-ta’alluq to Khair kyaa hogaa
yahii bahut hai ke kam kam milaa karo us se