Akbar Allahabadi

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Akbar Allahabadi اکبر الہ آبادی
Akbar Allahabadi
Akbar Allahabadi
BornSyed Akbar Hussain[1]
(1846-11-16)16 November 1846[1]
Bara, North-Western Provinces, British India
Died9 September 1921(1921-09-09) (aged 74)[1]
Allahabad, United Provinces, British India
NationalityBritish Indian
GenreGhazal, Masnavi, Qita, Rubaʿi Nazam
SubjectLove, philosophy, religion, social reform, satire, British rule

Syed Akbar Hussain, popularly known as Akbar Allahabadi (16 November 1846 – 9 September 1921) was an Indian Urdu poet in the genre of satire.[2]

Life and career[edit]

Akbar Allahabadi was born in the town of Bara, eleven miles from Allahabad, to a family of Sayyads who originally came to India from Persia as soldiers.[3] His father, Moulvi Tafazzul Hussain served as a Naib Tehsildar and his mother belonged to a zamindar family of Jagdishpur village from the Gaya district in Bihar.[3]

Akbar received his early education from his father at home. In 1855, his mother moved to Allahabad and settled in Mohalla Chowk. Akbar was admitted to the Jamuna Mission School for an English education in 1856, but he abandoned his school education in 1859. However, he continued to study English and read widely.[3]

On leaving school, Akbar joined the Railway Engineering Department as a clerk. While in service, he passed the exam qualifying him as a Vakeel (barrister) and subsequently worked as a Tehsildar and a munsif, and ultimately, as a sessions court judge. To commemorate his work in judicial services, he was bestowed with the title, Khan Bahadur.[3]

Akbar retired in 1903 and lived on in Allahabad. He died of a fever on September 9, 1921 and was buried in Himmatganj district of Allahabad.[3]


"Hungama Hai Kyon Barpa" is a popular ghazal, written by Akbar Allahabadi and most prominently sung by Ghulam Ali. Verses from his poetry also found their way into the famous qawwali “Tum ik Gorakh Dhanda Ho” by Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. A number of Akbar Allahabadi's poems were used in the 2015 Hindi film Masaan.[4] Explaining this as a conscious tribute, the film's lyrics writer Varun Grover explained that he wanted to show one of the female leads Shaalu (played by Shweta Tripathi) as a person whose hobby is to read Hindi poetry and Shayri.[5][6][7]


  1. ^ a b c "Akbar Allahabadi". urdupoetry.com. 22 November 2001. Retrieved 15 April 2018.
  2. ^ Bose, Sugata; Jalal, Ayesha, eds. (1998). Nationalism, democracy and development : state and politics in India. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0195644425. OCLC 38764810.
  3. ^ a b c d e Allahabadi, Talib. Akbar Allahabadi. Allahabad. pp. 17–394.
  4. ^ Lakhani, Somya (11 September 2016). "Secret Love: How Hindi poetry has become 'cool'". The Indian Express. Retrieved 17 April 2019.
  5. ^ "Hindi Kavita - Kuch ban jaate hain - Uday Prakash: Varun Grover in Hindi Studio with Manish Gupta". Hindi Kavita. 25 October 2015.
  6. ^ Pal, Sanchari. "Meet the NRI Who Returned To India To Make Millions Fall in Love with Hindi Poetry". www.thebetterindia.com. The Better India. Retrieved 17 April 2019.
  7. ^ Grover, Varun. "How the magic of Dushyant Kumar's poetry inspired this Bollywood lyricist". The Indian Express. Retrieved 17 April 2019.

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