Ahmad Faraz

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Ahmed Faraz
Ahmad Faraz, in Toronto 2005
Ahmad Faraz, in Toronto 2005
Native name
احمد فراز
BornSyed Ahmad Shah Ali
(1931-01-12)12 January 1931
Kohat, NWFP, British India (now Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan)
Died25 August 2008(2008-08-25) (aged 77)
Islamabad, Islamabad Capital Territory, Pakistan
Pen nameFaraz Urdu: فراز
OccupationUrdu poet, lecturer
EducationMA degrees in Urdu and Persian languages
Alma materEdwardes College, University of Peshawar
GenreUrdu Ghazal
SubjectRomance, political resistance
Literary movementDemocratic Movement
Notable awardsSitara-i-Imtiaz
Nigar Awards
ChildrenSaadi, Shibli Faraz and Sarmad Faraz

Syed Ahmed Shah (Urdu: احمد فراز‎), better known by his pen name Ahmed Faraz, (Urdu: سید احمد شاہ‎; 12 January 1931 – 25 August 2008)[1][2][3][4] was a Pakistani Urdu poet. He was widely known as one of the best modern Urdu poets of the last century. Faraz was his pen name, (in Urdu takhalus تخلص). He died in Islamabad on 25 August 2008.[5][6] He was awarded Sitara-i-Imtiaz, Hilal-e-Imtiaz and posthumously the Hilal-e-Pakistan[7] by the Government of Pakistan.

Early life[edit]

Faraz was of Hindkowan background.[8] His brother is Syed Masood Kausar. He moved to Peshawar with his family. He studied in famous Edwardes College, Peshawar and received Masters in Urdu and Persian from Peshawar University.[1]

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.[9]


Ahmad Faraz's poetry was highly popular among the general public in Pakistan, India as well as among the subcontinent's immigrant populations overseas.[1] He was a poet in high demand at social gatherings (mushairas) where he would recite his poetry in his own voice. Ahmad Faraz was often compared to other legendary Urdu poets like Allama Iqbal and Faiz Ahmed Faiz.[1]

Singers like Mehdi Hasan, Ghulam Ali, Jagjit Singh and Runa Laila greatly popularized his poetry by singing his ghazals in films and in concerts.[1]

Ahmad Faraz served as Chairman of the National Book Foundation in Islamabad, Pakistan.[10]

Literary work[edit]

Faraz has been compared with Faiz Ahmad Faiz,[1] holds a unique position as one of the best poets of current times.

In an interview with the BBC Urdu, he recalls how his father once bought clothes for him on Eid. He did not like the clothes meant for him, but preferred the ones meant for his elder brother.[citation needed] 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)[11]}}

Political activity[edit]

Faraz was arrested for writing poems that criticised military rulers in Pakistan during the reign of General Zia-ul-Haq . Following that arrest, he went into a self-imposed exile.[6] He stayed for 6 years in Britain, Canada and Europe before returning to Pakistan, where he was initially appointed as Chairman of the 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.[1]

Ahmad Faraz's tombstone

Death and legacy[edit]

Earlier in 2008, after a fall in Baltimore, Maryland, there were false rumors of his death while he was being treated in a Chicago hospital. But he was able to return to his homeland, Pakistan. Then later, Ahmad Faraz died of kidney failure, confirmed by his son Shibli Faraz, in a private hospital in Islamabad on 25 August 2008. His funeral was held on the evening of 26 August, among many admirers and government officials at H-8 Graveyard, Islamabad, Pakistan.[1][12][13]

Ahmad Faraz is highly regarded among the long list of revolutionary poets of Urdu language.[1]

Samples of poetry[edit]

A sample of his poetry is:


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

English translation.

Dreams do not die

Dreams 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[edit]

  • Nai Msafat Ka Ahad Nama
  • Ye Meri Nazmain
  • Pas e Andaz e Mosam
  • Shakh e Gulab
  • Aag Mein Phool
  • Aey Ishq e Junoon Paisha
  • Tanha Tanha
  • Ghareeb e Shehar Ke Nam
  • Abgineh khayal ka
  • Rubaiyat e Faraz
  • Nagma Gar
  • Hisab-e-Jan

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i Haresh Pandya (1 September 2008). "Ahmed Faraz, Outspoken Urdu Poet, Dies at 77". The New York Times. Retrieved 22 May 2019.
  2. ^ "Tribute to a legend: Remembering Ahmed Faraz". The Express Tribune. Karachi, Pakistan. 12 January 2015., Retrieved 28 Jan 2016
  3. ^ "About Faraz". Ahmad Faraz Trust. Archived from the original on 6 February 2016. Retrieved 28 January 2016.
  4. ^ http://allpoetry.com/Ahmad-Faraz, Ahmad Faraz 'Profile', allpoetry.com website, Retrieved 28 Jan 2016
  5. ^ http://archives.dailytimes.com.pk/national/26-Aug-2008/ahmed-faraz-poet-of-love-and-defiance[permanent dead link], Ahmad Faraz, poet of love and defiance, published 26 Aug 2008, Retrieved 28 Jan 2016
  6. ^ a b "Interview in Urdu language سلسلے توڑ گیا وہ سبھی جاتے جاتے". BBC News. 26 August 2008. Retrieved 22 May 2019.
  7. ^ "Hilal-e-Pakistan for Ahmed Faraz". The Nation (Pakistan). 11 November 2010. Retrieved 22 May 2019.
  8. ^ Khan, Hidayat (23 November 2015). "Tongue twister: Minister reiterates government's commitment to promote Hindko". The Express Tribune. Retrieved 10 August 2019.
  9. ^ http://www.siliconeer.com/past_issues/2007/siliconeer_september_2007.html#Anchor--CULTU-22201, Ahmad Faraz 'Profile', published Sep 2007, Retrieved 28 Jan 2016
  10. ^ http://www.ahmadfaraztrust.org/about_faraz.html Archived 6 February 2016 at the Wayback Machine, Biography of Ahmad Faraz, Retrieved 28 Jan 2016
  11. ^ "Ahmad Faraz's Interview". BBC.co.uk. Retrieved 29 January 2012., Retrieved 28 Jan 2016
  12. ^ "Ahmad Faraz in 'critical condition' in a U.S. hospital". Daily Times (Pakistan). 21 July 2008. Retrieved 28 July 2016.[permanent dead link]
  13. ^ "Ahmad Faraz laid to rest". Gulf News. 26 August 2008. Retrieved 28 January 2016.