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National anthems founder remembered

December 21, 2009

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Pakistans Qaumi Tarana was recently re-recorded by a private television channel that featured various singers. -Courtesy Internet

ISLAMABAD The 27th death anniversary of Abu-Al-Asar Hafeez Jalandhari, the composer of the countrys national anthem was marked across the country on Monday.

Hafeez Jalandhari was born in Jalandhar, Indian Punjab, on January 14, 1900 and died on December 21, 1982 at the age of 82. He was first buried in Model Town, Lahore, but later re-buried in a tomb near Minar-e-Pakistan.

He was a writer, poet and above all, the founder of the national anthem of Pakistan that was composed by SG Chhagla.

Jalandhari first studied in a mosque and was later enrolled in a local school where he studied up to Class 7 only.

Following the partition of India in 1947, Jalandhari moved to Lahore and made up for his lack of formal education by engaging in self-study. He was privileged to be advised by the great Persian poet, Maulana Ghulam Qadir Bilgrami, who carved his place in the poetic pantheon.

From 1922 to 1929, he remained the editor of a few monthly magazines namely Nonehal, Hazar Dastaan, Tehzeeb-e-Niswan and Makhzin. His first collection of poems Naghma-e-Zar was published in 1935.

After World War II, he worked as director of the Song Publicity Department. During this time, he wrote songs that became quite popular with the people.

Hafeez Jalandhari actively participated in the Pakistan Movement as well and used his writings to propagate the cause of Pakistan. In the early period of 1948, he joined the forces for the freedom of Kashmir during which he was wounded.

Jalandhari also wrote the Kashmiri anthem Watan Hamara Azad Kashmir among several other patriotic songs during the Pak-India war in 1965.

He served as director general of morals in Pakistan Armed Forces and as adviser to President Field Marshal Mohammad Ayub Khan. He was also the director of the Writers Guild.

His monumental work of poetry Shahnama-e-Islam gave him incredible fame, which, in the manner of Firdowsis Shahnamah, is a record of the glorious history of Islam in verses.

His poetry generally deals with romantic, religious, patriotic and natural themes. He chose his themes, images and tunes from the subcontinent and his language was a fine blend of Hindi and Urdu diction, reflecting the composite culture of South Asia.

In 1939, he got married for the second time to a young English woman, whom he later divorced. He had a son from this marriage. Later, in 1955, he got married to Khurshid Begum with whom he had one child as well.

His work was acknowledged by some of the most prestigious awards he received in his lifetime. -APP