Sometimes a poet for romantic adolescents, sometimes hailing revolution, while at other times, wrapped in nostalgia. This was the great Ahmed Faraz, who left the world six years ago yet has remained alive in the Urdu literary scene through the power of his words.
Faraz often talked about the breakdown in relationships in his poetry, but the echo of his verses in literary circles shows that his relationship with his readers will never cease to be.
It is an artistic coincidence that while today marks his death anniversary, it was the very day when his first poetry collection was published in the 1960s.
Syed Ahmed Shah, known to the world as Ahmed Faraz, was born in Kohat on 14th January, 1931 and belonged to the Sufi family of Haji Bahadur.
Faraz went to Edward College, Peshawar and Peshawar University, and was pursuing his Bachelors when his first collection, Tanha Tanha was published.
Inspired by Mirza Ghalib, Faiz Ahmed Faiz and Ali Sardar Jaffri from the Progressive Movement, Ahmed Faraz began his career as a script writer for Radio Pakistan and later became an Urdu teacher at Peshawar University.
When he raised his voice against the dictatorship of General Zia-ul-Haq, he was exiled for six years, which he spent in London, Canada and other European states. Later however, he was awarded with Hilalee-Imtiaz in 2004 for his literary services.
Following the unconstitutional measures by General Pervez Musharraf, Faraz returned the award to show his protest and also joined the famous restoration of judiciary movement in 2007.
From 1950 to 2008, Ahmed Faraz received many accolades and praises internationally and locally. He received six foreign awards for his literary contribution.
Known for building on the themes of beauty and love, the poetry of Faraz was also used to create beautiful melodies by famous singers of the subcontinent, making his work ever popular among the public.
King of Ghazals, Mehdi Hasan also lent his vocals for many of Faraz’s ghazals. When the first line of famous ghazal, Ranjish he sahi dil dukhane k liye aa was sung by him, it took on the status of an axiom, and is still very popular among his fans.
India also commends Ahmed Faraz poetry, and the famous singer, Lata Mangeshkar has sung many pieces of his poetry. The late singer, Jagjit Singh also used Faraz’s poetry to create evergreen melodies.
Noor Jahan also sang many of his ghazals, making sure that Faraz poetry remained alive in the minds of his fans, who could not read but would understand his works through music.
The most famous ghazal sung by Noor Jahan, Silsilay tor gaya who sabhi jatay jatay is immensely popular in both India and Pakistan.
14 of his poetry collections were published during his literary journey, out of which Pas Andaaz Mausam, Sab Awazain Meri Hain, Khuwab Gul Pareshaan Hain, Janan Janan and Ghazal Bahana Karon are famous.
Ahmed Faraz is often compared with some of the greatest Urdu poets like, Allama Iqbal and Faiz Ahmed Faiz and his works have been translated into many languages including English, French, Hindi, Russian, German and Punjabi.
Six years ago on August 25, 2008, Ahmed Faraz passed away due to kidney failure. He might be physically absent today but his poetry, his words and verses will remain alive forever.