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Remembering Tabish Dehlvi

September 23, 2014


SYED Masood-ul-Hasan Tabish Dehlvi (1911-2004), who died 10 years ago on Sept 23, 2004, will be remembered as a classical poet and broadcaster and for his civility. Tabish was an extraordinary personality bejewelled with elegance, meticulousness, truth and honesty. He was a torch-bearer of the traditions of the Delhi civilisation.

He was born on Nov 9, 1911, at Delhi in a very distinguished family of Munshi Zakaullah. His mother, who had memorised thousands of Urdu and Persian couplets, was his teacher during his early years. He then received guidance from Munshi Shiv Dayal who had set up a ‘maktab’ at his residence.

He started winning appreciation in his youth and proved his prowess at literary gatherings of Delhi and Hyderabad (Deccan).

Later on, Dehlvi was sent to to his grandfather Maulvi Inayat Ullah in Hyderabad Deccan, where he joined the famous institution of Darul Uloom. It was in Hyderabad that he became a true disciple of Fani Badayuni.

He was considered among the classical poets who valued the sanctity of idioms and usage.

Contemplation and themes in Tabish’s poetry remained at the optimum, while his personality and poetry gave a sense of sacredness. His poetry is an asset to Urdu literature.

His first contribution to Urdu prose was an essay on Fani Badayuni in 1941. He had to his credit a collection of his essays, ‘Deed Baaz Deed’, besides six volumes of poetry.

He was also a distinguished name in the history of broadcasting in the subcontinent.

He had the rare distinction of putting together the phrase ‘Pakistan Zindabad’ and it was he who made it possible for the translation of the Quaid-e-Azam’s first and last speech from All India Radio to go on air on June 3, 1943. This was indeed a very risky venture.

In recognition of his services in literature and broadcasting, he received many awards at home and abroad, including Tamgha-i-Imtiaz by the Government of Pakistan.


Published in Dawn, September 23rd, 2014