Ahmad Faraz, in Toronto 2005
|Born||Syed Ahmad Shah Ali
12 January 1931
Kohat, NWFP, British India (now Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan)
|Died||25 August 2008
Islamabad, Islamabad Capital Territory, Pakistan
|Pen name||Faraz Urdu: فراز|
|Occupation||Urdu poet, Lecturer|
|Education||MA degrees in Urdu and Persian languages|
|Subject||Romance, political resistance|
|Literary movement||Progressive Writers Movement, Democratic Movement|
|Children||Saadi, Shibli Faraz and Sarmad Faraz|
Ahmed Faraz (Urdu: احمد فراز, born Syed Ahmed Shah (Urdu: سید احمد شاہ) on 12 January 1931 in Kohat,  died 25 August 2008) was a Pakistani Urdu poet. He was acclaimed as one of the best modern Urdu poets of the last century. 'Faraz' is his pen name, (in Urdu takhalus). He died in Islamabad on 25 August 2008. He was awarded Hilal-e-Imtiaz, Sitara-i-Imtiaz and after his death Hilal-e-Pakistan by the Government of Pakistan.
Ahmad Faraz was born in Kohat, (then British India) to Syed Muhammad Shah Barq. His brother is Syed Masood Kausar. He moved to Peshawar with his family. He studied in famous Edwards College, Peshawar and received Masters in Urdu and Persian from Peshawar University.
During his college life, the progressive poets Faiz Ahmad Faiz and Ali Sardar Jafri were his best friends, who impressed him and became his role models. Ethnically a Pashtun Syed, Ahmad Faraz studied Persian and Urdu at the Peshawar University. He later became a lecturer at the Peshawar University.
Faraz has been compared with Faiz Ahmad 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 his poetry.
In an interview with Rediff of BBC News, 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 led him to write his first couplet:
:سب کے واسطے لائے ہیں کپڑے سیل سے
:لائے ہیں میرے لیے قیدی کا کمبل جیل سے
Sab kay waste laye hein kaprye sale se
Laye hein mere liye qaidi ka kambal jail se
(He brought clothes for everybody from the 'sale')
(For me, he brought a blanket of a prisoner from jail)
Faraz was arrested for writing poems that criticised military rulers in Pakistan during the Zia-ul-Haq era. Following that arrest, he went into a self-imposed exile. He stayed for 6 years in Britain, Canada and Europe before returning to Pakistan, where he was initially appointed Chairman, Pakistan 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. In 2006, he returned the Hilal-e-Imtiaz award he was given in 2004.
He mentioned his current writings and said: "I now only write when I am forced to, from the inside." Maintaining a tradition established by his mentor, the revolutionary Faiz Ahmad Faiz, he wrote some of his best poetry during the days when he was in exile. Famous among the 'poetry of resistance' has been "Mahasara". Faraz was also mentioned by actor Shahzada Ghaffar in the Pothwari/Mirpuri telefilm "Khai Aye O".
Faraz died of kidney failure in a local Islamabad hospital on 25 August 2008. His funeral was held on the evening of 26th, by many admirers and government officials at H-8 Graveyard, Islamabad, Pakistan.
Samples of poetry
A sample of his poetry is:
'Wo adakar hi kya
Wo adakar hi kya jis ka naam Mozzam Hussain
Khwaab martay naheen
Khwaab martay naheen
Khwaab dil hain, nah aankhen, nah saansen keh jo
Rezaa, rezaa huwe to bikhar jaayen ge
Jism kii maut se ye bhii mar jaayen ge
Dreams do not die
Dream are heart, nor eyes nor breath
Which shattered, will scatter
Die with the death of the body
Another poetic translation of the above
Dreams do not die
Dreams are heart, nor eyes nor a breath
Which shatter and then they scatter,
Die they all, with end being nigh
List of Works/Bibliography
- Shehr-e-Sukhan Arasta Hai (Kulliyaat)
Collection of the following books:
- "Tribute to a legend: Remembering Ahmed Faraz". The Express Tribune. Karachi, Pakistan. 12 January 2015., Retrieved 28 Jan 2016
- "About Faraz". Ahmad Faraz Trust. Retrieved 2016-01-28.
- http://allpoetry.com/Ahmad-Faraz, Ahmad Faraz 'Profile', allpoetry.com website, Retrieved 28 Jan 2016
- http://archives.dailytimes.com.pk/national/26-Aug-2008/ahmed-faraz-poet-of-love-and-defiance, Ahmad Faraz, poet of love and defiance, published 26 Aug 2008, Retrieved 28 Jan 2016
- "سلسلے توڑ گیا وہ سبھی جاتے جاتے". BBC.co.uk. 26 August 2008. Retrieved 2016-01-28., BBC Urdu.com website, Retrieved 28 Jan 2016
- "Ahmed Faraz, Outspoken Urdu Poet". The New York Times.com. 1 September 2008. Retrieved 2016-01-28.
- http://www.siliconeer.com/past_issues/2007/siliconeer_september_2007.html#Anchor--CULTU-22201, Ahmad Faraz 'Profile', published Sep 2007, Retrieved 28 Jan 2016
- http://www.ahmadfaraztrust.org/about_faraz.html, Biography of Ahmad Faraz, Retrieved 28 Jan 2016
- "Ahmad Faraz's Interview". BBC.co.uk. Retrieved 2012-01-29., Retrieved 28 Jan 2016
- http://archives.dailytimes.com.pk/national/21-Jul-2008/coming-week-critical-for-ahmed-faraz, Ahmad Faraz in 'critical condition' in a U.S. hospital, published 21 Jul 2008, Daily Times newspaper, Retrieved 28 Jul 2016
- http://gulfnews.com/news/asia/pakistan/leading-urdu-poet-faraz-laid-to-rest-1.126834, Ahmad Faraz laid to rest, Gulf News newspaper, published 26 Aug 2008, Retrieved 28 Jan 2016
- Shehr-e-Sukhan Arasta Hai
- http://www.studybee.net/ahmed-faraz-love-poetry/, Ahmad Faraz love poetry on studybee.net website, Retrieved 28 Jan 2016
- https://rekhta.org/poets/ahmad-faraz/ Ahmad faraz collection on Rekhta
- http://urduhits.com/category/poetry/ahmed-faraz-poetry/ Best of Ahmed Faraz Poetry
- Obituary of Ahmed Faraz, published 12 Sep 2008 in Jang Online newspaper, Retrieved 28 Jan 2016