Agha Hashar Kashmiri

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Agha Hashar Kashmiri
Agha Hashar - The Indian Shakespeare (8318934296).jpg
Kashmiri's grave in Miani Sahib Graveyard, Lahore, Pakistan
Muhammad Shah

3 April 1879
Banaras, India[1]
Died28 April 1935 (aged 56)[1]
Occupationdramatist, playwright and poet
Spouse(s)Mukhtar Begum, a ghazal singer
FamilyFarida Khanum (sister-in-law)

Agha Hashar Kashmiri (3 April 1879 – 28 April 1935) was an Urdu poet, playwright and dramatist. A number of his plays were Indian Shakespearean adaptations.[2]

Early life[edit]

He started to show interest in stage dramas and moved to Bombay at the young age of 18 and started his career as a playwright there.[1][3]


An Agha Hashar Kashmiri'is first play, Aftab-e-Muhabbat, was published in 1897. He started his professional career as a drama writer for the New Alfred Theatrical Company in Bombay, on a salary of only 15 Rs. per month.[3] Mureed-e-Shak, his first play for the company, was an adaptation of Shakespeare's play The Winter's Tale. It proved to be a success and his wages were later raised to Rs. 40 per month due to his growing popularity. In his works, Agha had experience introducing shorter songs and dialogues with idioms and poetic virtues in plays. He then wrote several more adaptations of Shakespeare's plays, including Shaheed-e-Naaz (or Achuta Daaman in Hindi), Measure for Measure, 1902) and Shabeed-e-Havas (King John, 1907).

Yahudi Ki Ladki (The Daughter of a Jew), published in 1913, became his best known work. In the coming years, it became a classic in Parsi-Urdu theatre. It was adapted several times in the silent film and early talkies eras, notably Yahudi Ki Ladki (1933) by New Theatres, Yahudi Ki Ladki (1957 film) and by Bimal Roy, as Yahudi (1958) starring Dilip Kumar, Meena Kumari and Sohrab Modi.[4][5]

His most popular plays are Sita Banbas, based on the Ramayana; Bilwa Mangal, a social play on the life of a poet with a passion for whores; Aankh ka Nasha (The Witchery of the Eyes) which deals with themes of treachery and the evils of prostitution; and Rustom O Sohrab, a Persian folk story and tragedy.[2][6] Several of his notable Shakespeare-inspired plays are Safed Khoon (White Blood), based on King Lear and Khwab-e-Hasti (The Dream World of Existence) described as "a mutilated version of Macbeth."[6][7]

Towards the end of his career, Agha created the Shakespeare Theatrical Company but could not stay in business for long. He also joined Maidan Theatre.

Agha was married to Mukhtar Begum, a renowned classical singer from Calcutta and elder sister of Farida Khanum- a Pakistani singer.[3]

His ghazals featured in film and television[edit]

Death and legacy[edit]

Agha Hashar Kashmiri died on 28 April 1935 in Lahore, British India. He is mentioned in some detail in the literary memoirs of the late Hakim Ahmad Shuja,[10] with whom he collaborated on several dramatic projects.

His 70th death anniversary was observed in Karachi in 2005 at an event organized by the National Academy of Performing Arts at the Arts Council of Pakistan in Karachi. Zia Mohyeddin, chief of the 'National Academy of Performing Arts' and other speakers paid tributes to him. Anwar Sajjad said," Whenever the history of theater in the subcontinent is written, Agha Hashar Kashmiri will certainly hold an important place in it".[1]


  • Sefed Khoon (سفید خون)
  • Turki Hoor (تُرکی حور)
  • Rustam O Sohrab (رستم و سہراب)
  • Yahudi Ki Ladki (یہودی کی لڑکی)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Agha Hashar Kashmiri article on Dawn (newspaper) Published 30 April 2005, Retrieved 5 April 2018
  2. ^ a b "Bilwa Mangal, a play by Agha Hashar Kashmiri". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 5 April 2018.
  3. ^ a b c Profile of Agha Hashar Kashmiri Retrieved 5 April 2018
  4. ^ Ashish Rajadhyaksha; Paul Willemen (2014). Encyclopedia of Indian Cinema. Taylor & Francis. p. 1994. ISBN 978-1-135-94325-7., Retrieved 6 May 2016
  5. ^ Meghnad Desai (2013). PAKEEZAH. HarperCollins Publishers India. pp. 44–. ISBN 978-93-5116-023-6., Retrieved 6 May 2016
  6. ^ a b Hochman, Stanley (1 January 1984). McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of World Drama: An International Reference Work in 5 Volumes. VNR AG. p. 37. ISBN 978-0-07-079169-5. Retrieved 6 May 2016.
  7. ^ Gāragī, Balawanta (1962). Theatre in India. Theatre Arts Books. p. 156. Retrieved 3 October 2012., Retrieved 6 May 2016
  8. ^, Ghazal by Agha Hashar Kashmiri, sung by Tina Sani on YouTube, Retrieved 6 May 2016
  9. ^, Ghazal by Agha Hashar Kashmiri, sung by Naseem Begum on YouTube, Retrieved 6 May 2016
  10. ^ Hakim A. Shuja, Lahore ka Chelsea , Lahore, 1969, pp 83-87