Josh Malihabadi

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Josh Malihabadi
جوش ملیح آبادی
Born Shabbir Hasan Khan
5 December 1898
Malihabad, United Provinces, British India
Died 22 February 1982(1982-02-22) (aged 83)
Islamabad, Pakistan
Pen name Josh
Occupation Poet
Nationality Pakistani
Ethnicity Urdu speaking
Education Tagore's University, Shantiniketan
Notable works








Yaadon ki baraat (autobiography)

Various Other Prose and Poetry Books
Notable awards

Padma Bhushan, 1954

Hilal-e-Imtiaz, 2013
Children Sajjad Haider Kharosh

Bashir Ahmed Khan (Father)

Tabassum Akhlaq (Grand Daughter)

Josh Malihabadi (Urdu: جوش ملیح آبادی‎) (born as Shabbir Hasan Khan; شبیر حسن خان) (5 December 1894 – 22 February 1982) was a Pakistani poet.[1][2] He was an Indian citizen until 1958, when he emigrated to Pakistan and became a Pakistani citizen. He wrote ghazals, nazm and Marsias under the takhallus (Urdu for nom de plume) Josh (جوش) (literally, "Passion" or "Intensity").[3]

Early life[edit]

Josh was born to an Urdu-speaking Muslim family of Afridi Pashtun origin in Malihabad, United Provinces, British India.[4] He studied at St Peter's College, Agra and passed his Senior Cambridge examination in 1914. Subsequently, he studied Arabic and Persian and, in 1918, spent six months at Tagore's university at Shantiniketan.[citation needed] The death of his father, Bashir Ahmed Khan, in 1916, prevented him from undertaking a college education.[citation needed]

His family had a long tradition of producing men of letters. Indeed, his great-grandfather, Nawab Faqeer Muhammad Khan, grandfather Nawab Muhammad Ahmad Khan, paternal uncle Ameer Ahmad Khan and father Basheer Ahmad Khan were all poets with numerous works (poetry collections, translations, and essays) to their name.[5] Another of his relative was the journalist, scholar and Abul Kalam Azad's confident, Abdur Razzaq Malihabadi.[6]


In 1925, Josh started to supervise translation work at Osmania University in the princely state of Hyderabad.[citation needed] However, his stay there ended when he found himself exiled for writing a nazm against the Nizam of Hyderabad, the then ruler of the state.[citation needed]

Soon thereafter, he founded the magazine Kaleem (literally, "interlocutor" in Urdu), in which he wrote articles in favour of independence from the British Raj in India.[citation needed] His poem Hussain aur Inquilab (Hussain and Revolution)won him the title of Shaair-e-Inquilaab (Poet of the Revolution). Subsequently, he became more actively involved in the freedom struggle (albeit, in an intellectual capacity) and became close to some of the political leaders of that era, especially Jawaharlal Nehru (later to be the first Prime Minister of independent India).[citation needed]

After the end of British Raj in India (1947), Josh became the editor of the publication Aaj-Kal .[citation needed]

Josh in Pakistan[edit]

Josh migrated to Pakistan in 1958 – despite Jawaharlal Nehru's insistence against it – over what is generally believed to be his concern regarding the future of the Urdu language in India,[7] where he thought the Hindu majority would encourage the use of Hindi rather than Urdu. After migration, Josh settled in Karachi and rigorously worked for Anjuman-i-Tarraqi-i-Urdu with Maulvi Abdul Haq.[citation needed]

He remained in Pakistan until he died on 22 February 1982 in Islamabad. Faiz Ahmad Faiz and Syed Fakhruddin Balley both were the closest companions and friends of Josh and Sajjad Hyder Kharosh (son of Josh). Faiz Ahmad Faiz visited Islamabad during his illness and Syed Fakhruddin Balley remained entirely engaged with Hazrat Josh and Sajjad Hyder Kharosh.[8]

Josh Malihabadi's granddaughter Tabassum Akhlaq has carried over the legacy of his poetry.[citation needed] The Josh Memorial Committee was formed in 1986 by Tabassum Akhlaq and she is the current chairperson. The committee organises seminars on Malihabadi's personality, history and literary work. These seminars are usually held on his birthday and death anniversary (on 5 December and 22 February respectively).

In August 2012, the Government of Pakistan announced Hilal-e-Pakistan for Josh Malihabadi. This award was presented to his granddaughter and founding chairperson of Josh Memorial Committee, Tabassum Akhlaq by the President of Pakistan Asif Ali Zardari in a ceremony held in Presidency on Pakistan Day 23 March 2013.

His poetry and publications[edit]

These include:

  • Shola-o-Shabnam
  • Junoon-o-Hikmat
  • Fikr-o-Nishaat
  • Sunbal-o-Salaasal
  • Harf-o-Hikaayat
  • Sarod-o-Kharosh
  • Irfaniyat-e-Josh
  • Yaadon ki baraat (autobiography)

On the advice of film director W.Z. Ahmed, he also wrote songs for Shalimar Pictures. One of the pictures is Aag ka darya.

Josh finally mentioned that his real belief is Humanism.[citation needed]


He was honoured with the Padma Bhushan in 1954.[9] The Title of "The Poet of the Century" was given by the "QAFLA-PERA'O" Lahore, announced by the QAFLA_SALAR Syed Fakhruddin Balley, Jawaid Ahmad Qureshi, Dr, Wazir Agha,Ahmad Nadeem Qasmi and Ashfaq Ahmad, in 1992.[citation needed] Kamal-e-Sukhan Awaard was announced for Hazrat Josh Mallihabadi by The Old Boys Association EMERSON College ,Multan in 1999. He was honoured with Hilal-e-Imtiaz by the Government of Pakistan on 23 March 2013.[citation needed]


  1. ^
  2. ^ "Josh in Old Delhi...". The Hindu (Chennai, India). 27 May 2002. 
  3. ^ "Malihabad set for a 'power'ful poll battle – The Times of India". The Times of India. 
  4. ^ "A Biblical Connection". Times of India. 11 March 2008. Retrieved 9 October 2013. 
  5. ^
  6. ^ Ghulam Akbar, He was not hanged, Midas (1989), p. 109
  7. ^ "Partition's unresolved business". The Hindu (Chennai, India). 6 October 2002. 
  8. ^
  9. ^ "Padma Awards" (PDF). Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India. 2015. Retrieved July 21, 2015. 

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