Muhammad Husain Azad

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Muhammad Husain Azad (Urdu: محمد حسین آزاد‎ — Mọḥammad Ḥusẹ̅n Āzād; 5 May 1830– 22 January 1910), known as Ehsan Azad, was an Urdu writer who wrote both prose and poetry. But he is mostly remembered for his prose and is considered one of the best Urdu prose writers. His best known work is Aab-e-Hayat (meaning "Elixir of Life").

Early life and family[edit]

Azad was born in Delhi in a highly educated Persian immigrant family. His mother died when he was four years old. His father, Muhammad Baqir (c.1810-1857), was educated at the newly founded Delhi College. Besides his many other activities he worked in the British administration. In early 1837, Muhammad Baqir bought a press and launched the Dihli Urdu Akhbaar (Delhi Urdu Newspaper), which was probably the first Urdu newspaper in north India. Muhammad Baqir was executed for siding with Mughals and joining the rebellion in 1857.

Azad was the only son of Muhammad Baqir and was married to Aghai Begum, daughter of another Persian immigrant family. Following his father's death and a period of turmoil in Delhi, Azad migrated to Lahore in 1861.

Education[edit]

Around 1845, he enrolled at Delhi College in the Urdu-medium 'Oriental' section, which offered Arabic and Persian rather than English. He pursued his studies for some eight years before graduating in 1854.

Career[edit]

After struggling for years he gradually settled down in Lahore and started teaching at the newly founded (1864) Government College, Lahore, and later at Oriental College, Lahore, created under the auspices of Anjuman-e-Punjab (Punjab Society). In Lahore he came in contact of G. W. Leitner, who was the Principal and founder of Anjuman-e-Punjab. Anjuman-e-Punjab's mission was solely cultural and academic. It arranged public lectures, established a free library and reading room, compiled educational texts and translations in Indian languages, and established Lahore's famous Oriental College. The Anjuman was actively supported by leading British officials of the time and was considered a success. In 1866 Azad became a regularly paid lecturer on behalf of the Anjuman and a year later he became its secretary. In 1887 he established the Azad Library, which earned him praise and the title of "Shams ul-ulamā" (Sun among the Learned). After undergoing great personal, health and mental losses, Azad died in Lahore in 1910 at the age of eighty. Among his literary students, who learnt prose and poetry writing from him, was Hakim Ahmad Shuja.

Works[edit]

  • Qisas ul-hind ("Stories of India") - 1869
  • Nairang-e Khiyāl ("The Wonder-World of Thought") - 1880
  • Sair-i Iran - 1886.
  • Sukhandān-e fārs ("On Iranian Poets") - completed in 1887 and published in 1907.
  • Darbār-e akbarī ("The Court of Akbar") - 1898

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]