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1950 - 2008
Progressive Writers Movement/ Democratic Movement
3 sons: Saadi, Shibli and Sarmad Faraz
Syed Muhammad Shah Barq (father)
Syed Masood Kausar (brother)
Ahmed Faraz (Urdu: احمد فراز) was a Pakistani urdu poet. He was considered one of the greatest modern Urdu poets of the last century. Faraz is his pseudonym 'takhallus', whereas his real name is Syed Ahmad Shah (سید احمد شاہ). Ahmed Faraz died in Islamabad on August 25, 2008.
Ahmed Faraz, who has been compared with Faiz Ahmed Faiz, holds a unique position as one of the best poets of current times, with a fine but simple style of writing. Even common people can easily understand. Ethnically a Hindkowan, Ahmed Faraz studied Persian and Urdu at the Peshawar University. He later became lecturer at the Peshawar University.
Ahmad Faraz was born in Kohat, Pakistan to Syed Muhammad Shah Barq. His brother is Syed Masood Kausar. In an interview with Rediff he recalls how his father, 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 kapre 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 class fellow during the summer vacation. "I was weak in mathematics and geography. I still don't remember maps and roads".
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 from Peshawar University.
During his time in college, Faiz Ahmed Faiz and Ali Sardar Jafri were the best progressive poets, who impressed him and became his role models.
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 6 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.
About his current writings he says: "I now only write when I am forced to from the inside."
Maintaining a tradition established by his mentor, the revolutionary Faiz Ahmed Faiz, he wrote some of his best poetry during those days in exile. Famous amongst poetry of resistance has been "Mahasara"
Despite his deteriorating health, he was quite active in the Judicial Crisis, in 2007. He himself joined the lawyers to protest against the government, and also encouraged his colleagues to do the same.
He once came to glasgow at the invitation of Zia ul haq Qureshi, a Pakistani businessman and father of human rights campaigner, Robina Qureshi. Mr Qureshi loved poetry, philosophy and was instrumental in raising the funds to build Glasgow Central Mosque.
Speaking out against terrorism
Before his death, Faraz made his stand clear against terrorism in one of his verses.
In July 2008, a rumour was spread that Ahmed Faraz had died in a hospital in Chicago. Faraz's physician, Tahir Rohail MD who was a childhood friend of Faraz's son Shibli Faraz, was quick to deny this erroneous report, but it was confirmed that Faraz was exceedingly ill.
Faraz's health continued to deteriorate and he died from kidney failure in a local Islamabad hospital on 25 August 2008. His funeral was carried out on the evening of the 26th, by many admirers and government officials on at H-8 Graveyard, Islamabad, Pakistan.
This page was last modified on 13 February 2011 at 23:13.
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