Afzal Ahsan Randhawa

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Muhammad Afzal Ahsan Randhawa
محمد افضل احسن رندھاوا
Member of National Assembly
In office
1972 – 1977[1]
Constituency NA-49 (Lyallpur)
Personal details
Born (1937-09-01)1 September 1937
Amritsar, British India
Died 18 September 2017(2017-09-18) (aged 80)
Faisalabad, Pakistan
Resting place Qaim Sain Graveyard, Faisalabad
Nationality Pakistani
Political party Pakistan Peoples Party
Spouse(s) Ayesha Randhawa
Education Murray College
LL.B., Punjab University Law College
Occupation Writer, poet, translator, playwright, politician
Profession Lawyer
Awards Pride of Performance

Muhammad Afzal Ahsan Randhawa (Urdu: محمد افضل احسن رندھاوا‬‎‎, 1 September 1937 – 18 September 2017) was a Pakistani Punjabi language writer, poet, translator, playwright and a politician.[2] He authored several short stories and novels in the Punjabi language including Sooraj Grehan and Doaba.[3] He received the Pride of Performance and Kamal-e-Fun awards for his literary work.

Early and personal life[edit]

Muhammad Afzal Ahsan Randhawa was born in Amritsar, Punjab, British India (now Punjab, India) on 1 September 1937.[4] He belonged to the Randhawa clan of the Bhatti Rajput tribe.[5][2] Randhawa grew up in a rural part of the Sialkot district in Pakistan, where he was the editor of the magazine of the Mission High School.[6] He graduated from Murray College in Sialkot. As a student, he used to be published in Daily Imroze and weekly Lail-o-Nahar. Later, he got admission in the Punjab University Law College.[2] He was the editor of the college magazine Al-Meezan, while in law college.[6] He had a love marriage with his wife Ayesha Randhawa (d. 2016), who taught at the University of Agriculture in Faisalabad. Their only child was a son named Khurrum (d. 2014).[2][7]


Randhawa was a left leaning politician and a lawyer.[2][1] In 1972, in a by-election he won the NA-49 seat in Lyallpur (now Faisalabad) for the National Assembly on Pakistan Peoples Party's ticket.[1][8] He contributed to the framing of the 1973 Constitution of Pakistan.[7] In 1977, during the martial law of General Zia ul Haq has was disqualified from taking part in politics for seven years by the 'military courts' and later in 1981, he was detained for 'living beyond his means'.[2][9]

Randhawa was popular among Sikh as he raised voice against 1984 Indian military Operation Bluestar on the Golden Temple. He also wrote a poem on the operation Navan Ghallughara (new Holocaust) glorifying Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale as a great warrior. Hence, his works have been transcribed in Gurmukhi script and published in the Indian Punjab.[1]

In 1986, Randhawa was awarded the Prof. Piara Singh Gill & Karam Singh Sandhu Memorial Antar-Rashtari Shiromani Sahitkaar/Kalakaar Award by the International Association of Punjabi Authors and Artists.[10] In 1996, the President of Pakistan conferred Pride of Performance award to him.[7] In 1999, he was bestowed upon with Kartar Singh Dhaliwal award by the Punjabi Sahit Akademi, Ludhiana.[1]

Randhawa used to participate as a guest or a panelist at different literature festivals and writing conferences in Pakistan.[11][12][13][14] Aitzaz Ahsan a prominent lawyer, in his 1996 book (reprinted in 2005) titled 'The Indus Saga', quoted six verses of Randhawa's poem to depict the Indus man.[15][2]

In 2014, Randhawa was interviewed by Masood Malhi of Special Broadcasting Service.[16] In 2015, the Pakistan Academy of Letters announced the 2013 Kamal-e-Fun Award – the highest literary award, to be presented to Randhawa along with a ₨. 500,000 prize money.[17][18][19] In 2016, Randhawa opened the Lyallpur Sulekh Mela (Lyallpur Literary Festival) held in the Faisalabad Arts Council in Faisalabad.[20]


In Punjabi, Randhawa had contributed four novels, four collections of short stories, six collections of poetry, one collection of TV and radio dramas and three translated versions of an African novel, one collection of African poetry and one translation of interviews of world leaders. He also wrote a collection of Urdu poetry.[6]

His literary career began in 1961 with the publication of Deeva tey Darya – his first novel.[7] It became the first book by a Pakistani to be published in India. He was awarded the Adamjee Prize for Literature for 1961-62 by the Pakistan Writers' Guild for his novelette Deeva tey Darya and for his second Punjabi novel Doaba in 1981-82.[2][6] Randhawa's novel Sooraj Grehan published in 1984, is an exchange of letters between two lovers.[2] His fourth novel Pundh was published in 2001.[9]

In 1965, he published a collection of poetry Sheesha Aik Lashkaray Dou; followed by a collection of short stories Runn, Talwar Tay Ghora published in 1973. Other short story collections, include Randhawa Dian Kahanian in 1988, Munna Koh Lahore in 1989 and Illahi Mohar in 2013. Randhawa’s further five poetry collections, include Raat Daay Char Safar in 1975; Punjab Di Var in 1979; Mitti Di Mehek in 1983; Piyali Wich Aasmaan in 1983; and Chhewaan Darya in 1997.[7]

He also translated Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart as Tutt Bhaj (1986) and Gabriel García Márquez's Chronicle of a Death Foretold as Maut Da Roznamcha (1993) into Punjabi.[7] In 2011, his collection of short stories Elahi Mohr Tey Doojian Kahanian was published.[6]


On the evening of 18 September 2017, Randhawa died in Faisalabad, Pakistan, seventeen days after his 80th birthday. He was buried next to his son and wife in Qaim Sain Graveyard in Ghulam Muhammad Abad, Faisalabad on 20 September.[2][7]

On his death, Fakhar Zaman chairman of the World Punjabi Congress, said that "his poetry and short stories were equally trend setters and undoubtedly he was one of the very few writers who were equally popular in Pakistan and India".[7][21]


  1. ^ a b c d e Singh, Surjit (20 September 2017). "Born in Amritsar, eminent Pakistani Punjabi writer Afzal Ahsan Randhawa passes away at 80". Hindustan Times. Retrieved 23 September 2017. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Khan, Zaman (20 September 2017). "Afzal Ahsan Randhawa – a legend of Punjabi". Dawn (newspaper). Retrieved 22 September 2017. 
  3. ^ "Afzal Ahsan Randhawa". Open Library. Internet Archive. Retrieved 22 September 2017. 
  4. ^ Teja, Charanjit Singh (19 September 2017). "Amritsar-born Pak Punjabi writer Randhawa dead". The Tribune (Chandigarh). Retrieved 23 September 2017. 
  5. ^ Shukla, Vandana (2 June 2004). "Pak Randhawa's clan part of Sikh history". Times of India. Retrieved 23 September 2017. 
  6. ^ a b c d e "Story told before it vanished". Dawn (newspaper). 1 July 2011. Retrieved 23 September 2017. 
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h "Obituary: Harbinger of Punjabi renaissance Afzal Randhawa is no more". Dawn (newspaper). 20 September 2017. Retrieved 23 September 2017. 
  8. ^ "Personal Profile: M. Afzal Randhawa". National Assembly of Pakistan. Retrieved 22 September 2017. 
  9. ^ a b Soofi, Mushtaq (11 September 2015). "Punjab Notes: Afzal Ahsan Randhawa: a glimpse of Punjab and its traditions". Dawn (newspaper). Retrieved 23 September 2017. 
  10. ^ "The International Association of Punjabi Authors and Artists, Canada, I.A.P.A.A". Retrieved 22 September 2017. 
  11. ^ Tarar, Mehr (22 November 2015). "Pakistan's literary scene is buzzing with activity". Khaleej Times. Retrieved 22 September 2017. 
  12. ^ "PAL's International Writers Conference starts tomorrow". Pakistan Press International. 8 January 2013. The International Writers Conference under the title 'Literature and Democracy' will be held at Auditorium of National Library Islamabad from 10 to 11 January, 2013....Eminent writers like Intizar Hussain, Bano Qudsia, Mustansar Hussain Tarar, Fakhar Zaman, Anwar Shaur, Fehmida Riaz, Atta ul Haq Qasmi, Zehra Nigah, Anwar Sadeed, Amjad Islam Amjad, Shakeel Adil Zada, Pirzada Qasim, Dr. Khurshid Rizvi, Afzal Ahsan Randhawa from Pakistan and abroad will read their articles on the occasion. 
  13. ^ "2nd literary festival to be held on 13th". The Balochistan Times. 2 November 2015. The inaugural ceremony will start at 3.30 pm on November 13 and the first session will be on 'Art, Literature and Culture in Contemporary Perspective' which will be presided over by Intizar Hussain and Afzal Ahsan Randhawa. 
  14. ^ "Review: Faisalabad Literary Festival: Literature, love and Lyallpur". Daily Times (Pakistan). Lahore. 17 November 2015. Living legends such as Intizar Hussain, Zehra Nigah, Afzal Ahsan Randhawa, Kamal Ahmed Rizvi, Mustansar Hussain Tarar, Javed Jabbar, Kishwar Naheed, Atta ul Haq Qasmi, Asghar Nadeem Syed and his lovely wife Sheeba Alam weaved their way into the rich city of the eight bazaars where the proud heritage of the clock tower boasts the precolonial times. 
  15. ^ Ahsan, Aitzaz (1 August 2005). The Indus Saga: From Pataliputra to Partition. Roli Books Private Limited. ISBN 9789351940739. Retrieved 22 September 2017. 
  16. ^ "Masood Mallhi interviews Afzal Ahsan Randhawa". Special Broadcasting Service. Retrieved 22 September 2017. 
  17. ^ "Literary Awards Announcement 2015". Pakistan Academy of Letters. Retrieved 22 September 2017. 
  18. ^ "Awarding literati: Abdullah Hussain, Afzal Randhawa nominated". Express Tribune. 11 June 2015. Retrieved 23 September 2017. 
  19. ^ "Pakistan: PAL announces "Kamal-e-Fun" award for year 2012-13". Right Vision News. 11 June 2015. Prominent writers Abdullah Hussain in Urdu and Afzal Ahsan Randhawa in Punjabi have been nominated for the "Kamal-e-Fun" Award 2012 and 2013 respectively. 
  20. ^ Ahmed, Ishtiaq (26 February 2016). "The other LLF". Friday Times. Retrieved 22 September 2017. 
  21. ^ "Punjabi writer Afzal Randhawa passes away". The News International. 20 September 2017. Retrieved 23 September 2017.