Mohsin Zaidi

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Mohsin Zaidi
محسن زیدی
Mohsin Zaidi (1935-2003), Urdu Poet, India.jpg
Mohsin Zaidi
Born Saiyed Mohsin Raza Zaidi
(1935-07-10)10 July 1935
Bahraich, Uttar Pradesh, India
Died 3 September 2003(2003-09-03) (aged 68)
Lucknow, India
Pen name Mohsin
Occupation Urdu poet, Indian Economic Service
Education M.A. (Economics)
Genre Ghazal

Mohsin Zaidi (1935 – 2003) was an Urdu poet ('Shayar') who used to write by the pen name 'Mohsin'. Saiyed Mohsin Raza Zaidi (Urdu: سید محسن رضا زیدی ‎) was born in Bahraich, a town in the state of Uttar Pradesh in India on 10 July 1935, to parents, Saiyed Ali Raza Zaidi and Sughra Begum. He died in Lucknow on 3 September 2003.


He had his early schooling in Pratapgarh, Uttar Pradesh - Islamia School (1940 – 1942); K. P. Hindu High School (1943 – 1948); Government High School (1949 – 1950). He did his senior school from Maharaj Singh Inter College, Bahraich, Uttar Pradesh (1951 – 1952). He received his Bachelor of Arts from Lucknow University in English Literature, History and Economics (1953 – 1954). He got his master's in Economics from Allahabad University (1955 – 1956).


He joined the Indian Economic Service in 1956 and worked with the Government of India till his retirement in 1993.


Held many positions with the Central Government in ministries of Chemicals & Fertilizers, Labour, Agriculture; and in the Planning Commission. He retired as a ‘Senior Economist’ in the Senior Administrative Grade of Joint Secretary. As part of government assignments he toured countries like Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Algeria.

Poetic life[edit]

He started writing Urdu poetry in 1950 at the age of 15 while still in high school in Pratapgarh. Initially he was impressed by Naazish Pratapgarhi, a young progressive writer who was emerging as a prominent poet on the local literary scene. However his major inspiration came from the works of classical poets like Mir Taqi Mir, Momin Khan Momin, Mirza Ghalib, Haider Ali Aatish, Mir Anis, Daagh Dehlvi and Mir Dard. Among the neo-classical and modern poets his favourites were Allama ‘Iqbal’, Raghupati Sahay ‘Firaq’ Gorakhpuri, Faiz Ahmed ‘Faiz’, and ‘Jigar’ Muradabadi.[1]

Poetic style[edit]

Mohsin Zaidi was a poet of ghazals. Some critics regard him closer to the classical tradition of Urdu poetry, some feel he was influenced by the progressive writers movement; while others view him as a modernist Urdu poet. Though his style adhered to the traditional Urdu poetry, his poetic ideas were modern and progressive. He would put his thoughts in plain words and his simple poetic style touched the hearts of the readers.

Renowned progressive poet of Urdu, Kumar Pashi said that Mohsin Zaidi was among the few poets who used the perfection of diction and pleasantness of narration of traditional ghazal to express new ideas.[2]

Makhmoor Saeedi, a contemporary of Mohsin Zaidi and himself a poet and Urdu critic, wrote that "Mohsin Zaidi’s language is not decorative but simple, and to create impression through his simplicity is his special skill. This skill is not easy but Mohsin Zaidi has a mastery over it".[3]

According to another noted Urdu critic, Dr. Shaarib Rudawlvi, "...Mohsin’s ghazals had freshness of thought, intense feelings, and dexterity of expression. One aspect of his poetry is spontaneity; and he has got a flow of ideas that presents one image after another in the form of his ashaar..." Mohsin Zaidi’s poetry witnessed many literary ups and downs of his times and the rise and fall of many movements. But in every age he preserved his unique poetic style. And this is his greatest quality." [4]

Mohsin Zaidi’s “poetic character had been weaned on these elements – integrity of character, opposition to all tyrannical powers, belief in retribution for one’s actions, search for virtues in human nature, belief in the victory of truth. These elements, form the backdrop for his poetic works”.[3]

The study of economics had its influence on his poetry, especially issues like economic disparity; uneven distribution of wealth; and the economic dominance of developed countries. Mohsin Zaidi was not only a poet but a social commentator.[5]

While on one hand his poetry deals with the harsh realities of life, on the other there are those beautiful and delightful moments of life that represent the enchanting and heartwarming form of poetry which ghazal is known to be in Urdu literature and which has been the tradition of ghazal.

The doyen of Urdu poetry, Firaq Gorakhpuri, who was a teacher of Mohsin Zaidi in Allahabad University, said in his written comment on Mohsin Zaidi’s ghazals from his first collection of poems, Shehr-e-Dil (1961) that "….his ashaar have softness of style, mellow words and flow of narrative." [6]

Poetic works[edit]

Shehr-e-Dil (1961)

Rishtah-e-Kalaam (1978)

Mataa-e-Aakhir-e-Shab (1990)

Baab-e-Sukhan (2000)

Jumbish-e-Nok-e-Qalam (2005)


He got awards from Urdu Academies for his works, the last being from Uttar Pradesh Urdu Academy for his last compilation of ghazals – ‘Jumbish-e-Nok-e-Qalam’ which was published posthumously.

Personal life[edit]

Mohsin Zaidi lived in Delhi for nearly four decades before settling down in Lucknow after retirement.


  1. ^ Interview of Mohsin Zaidi broadcast on All India Radio in June, 2003, that also appeared in Jumbish-e-Nok-e-Qalam, published in 2005
  2. ^ Review by Kumar Paashi in Rishta-e-Kalaam, published in 1978
  3. ^ a b Foreword to Mataa-e-Aakhir-e-Shab by Makhmoor Saeedi, published in 1990
  4. ^ Foreword to Jumbish-e-Nok-e-Qalam by Dr. Shaarib Rudawlvi, published in 2005
  5. ^ Foreword to Baab-e-Sukhan by Dr. Gyan Chand Jain, published in 2000
  6. ^ Hand written statement of Firaq Gorakhpuri, from the poet's personal archive

External links[edit]