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Remembering Tabish Dehlvi

September 23, 2013

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TODAY (Sept 23) is the ninth death anniversary of Tabish Dehlvi, one of the best classical poets of Urdu. He was a writer and also a broadcaster. He died in 2004 in Karachi.

He was born in Delhi on Nov 9, 1911. His paternal great grandfather Nizamuddin Nizami was a noted Persian poet. His maternal great grandfather, Prof Munshi Zakaullah, carried the title of ‘Shams-ul-Ulema’.

His original name was Masood-ul-Hasan and pen name was Tabish. His mother was his first teacher in his early years. Later a Hindu mystic, Munshi Shiva Dayal, taught him Arabic and Persian. At a later stage he was sent to his maternal grandfather Maulvi Inayatullah in Hyderabad (Deccan) where he joined the famous institution, Darul uloom. In Hyderabad he became a disciple of Fani Badayuni.

Tabish Dehlvi contributed to the shaping of Urdu language itself. He had good knowledge of Arabic and Persian and also of English literature.

He was one of the last renowned classical poets of the Delhi school of Urdu ghazal. He held a distinguished position amongst his contemporaries and ranked high as a linguist.

Tabish composed poetry at the tender age of 13. His first poem, ‘Dilli’ was published in the famous ‘Saqi’ magazine. In 1931 his first article about Fani appeared in the periodical ‘Bhurhan’.

He inspired the hearts of many through his ghazal. He also tried his hand in popular verse. He composed poems, free verse, na’at, marsia, national songs and haiku. He wrote essays as well and made his mark on all of these and established himself as an authority in all spheres of Urdu literature.

He started his career at the All India Radio (AIR) as announcer/newsreader in 1941. He was known as Masood Tabish then. He was a legendary newsreader of Urdu of all times. His career spanned from 1941 to 1972, beginning from AIR to Radio Pakistan. He arranged and conducted literary talk shows, live commentaries, musical and religious programmes and mushairas.

Tabish was known to be a courteous, polite, refined and a humble human being. There are seven books to his credit, six collections of poetry and one of essays.

S.A.K. SHERWANI Karachi