Shafiq-ur-Rahman (humorist)

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شفیق الرحمن
Born Shafiq-ur-Rahman
(1920-11-09)9 November 1920
Rohtak, British India
Died 19 March 2000(2000-03-19) (aged 79)
Nationality Pakistani
Occupation humorist, Physician,

Shafiq-ur-Rahman (Urdu: شفیق الرحمن‎) (9 November 1920 – 19 March 2000) was a Pakistani humorist[1] and a short-story writer of Urdu language.[2][3] He was one of the most illustrious writers of the Urdu speaking world. Like western Mark Twain and Stephen Leacock,[4] he has given enduring pleasure to his readers. He was a medical doctor by profession, and served in Pakistan Army. He also received Hilal-e-Imtiaz for his military and civilian services.[2] He has widely been apprecitated by writers and critics of Urdu literature.[4]

Early life[edit]

Rahman was born in Kalanaur a small town near Rohtak. He received his education in Bahawalpur.[2] He completed his MBBS from King Edward Medical College, Lahore in 1942,[2] and post-graduation in tropical medicine and public health from Edinburgh, in 1952. Rahman began writing humorous stories during his school days. His stories were published in a literary monthly magazine Khayyam. His first book Kirneyn was completed before he joined the medical college and was published in 1938, while he was still a medical student.[2] His unforgettable characters include Razia, Shaitaan, Hukoomat Aapa, Maqsood Ghora, Buddy, Judge Sahab, Nannha and many other girls including Sarwat, Kishwer, Sa'da, Azra Aapa, Nasreen, Akhtar, Ainak etc.Rahman had three sons, Attique, Kahlique and Ameen. He died on 19 March 2000 in Rawalpindi.[4]


Rahman joined the Indian Army Medical Corps and served at different war fronts during the Second World War. After the independence of Pakistan in 1947, he joined the Pakistan Army and eventually rose to the rank of general. He also served as chairman of the Academy of Letters of Pakistan from 1980 to 1985.[4] During his tenure, the Academy of Letters acquired a new dimension as a prominent literary institution of Pakistan. He continued to write till his death in March 2000. Rahman's work added a new dimension to humour in Urdu literature.[4] He created a world that was very real with all its joys, pains and anguish. It was an affirmation of life and of human values: empathy, compassion and respect. Even the seemingly frivolous and trivial situations had hidden meanings that probed deep into the human psyche. His language was simple, spontaneous and expressive.[2][4]

He was awarded the Hilal-e-Imtiaz for his military and civilian services after his death on 23 March 2001.[2]


Rahman has highly been praised by Urdu writers, like:

"Though Shafeeq's humour is not shy of practical jokes, he uses it sparingly and his playfulness stops just in time to save the humour from becoming tragedy, which sometimes is the case with Chughtai. Secondly, Shafeeq is the master of parody".[4]

"Then he often philosophises about joys and sorrows, sweeping the young readers with the bouts of optimism and pessimism, giving semi-philosophical, semi-romantic explanations to the queries that haunt the youth.

In addition, his many essays are nothing but a collection of jokes and the essay itself is only the thread that binds them together. His characters, novel and funny, such as Rufi or Shaitaan, Maqsood Ghora, Hukoomat Aapa and Buddy, make reading joyful".[4]

An excerpt[edit]

Owais Mughal talks of Shahiq-ur-Rahman, the humorist. He recalls:

"Following 'azad' poem is by one of my favourite writers, Shafiq-ur-Rehman and it comes from his book 'lehreN'. The poem is actually a satire on modern day poets who write 'azad' Urdu poem by using all the 'azadi' they can get. The poem describes a situation of fighting cats in a garden. I hope it brings a smile to you just like it has been bringing smiles to me for the past 20 years".[5]

Here is my attempt at an approximate translation for our English readers:[5]


  • Kirnein (Rays of Light) 1942[4]
  • Shagofey 1943[4]
  • Lehrein (Waves) 1944[4]
  • Madd-o-jazar (Ebb and Flow) 1946[4]
  • Parwaaz (Flight) 1945[4]
  • Himaqatain 1947[4]
  • Mazeed Himaqatain 1948[4]
  • Dajla (a travalogue) 1980[4]
  • Insaani Tamasha (a translation of "a human comedy")[4]
  • Dareechay 1989[4]
  • Pachtaway (Regrets) 1948[4]
  • Turup Chaal (Regrets) 1948[4]


  1. ^ "Tete-a-tete with Abid Ali". The Express 22 December 2011. Retrieved 2 September 2012. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g "شفیق الرحما ن کی بر سی Shafiq-ur-Rehman Death Anniversary". Pakistan Radio News Network. 19 March 2012. Retrieved 2 September 2012. 
  3. ^ "Humour and Satire in Urdu Literature" (PDF). Qurtuba.Edu.PK. p. 183. Retrieved 3 September 2012. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t "Shafeeq-ur-Rahman: Humorist Par Excellence". 1 July 2009—Note: This article also appeared in the Daily Dawn of Tuesday, 24 March 2009. Retrieved 2 September 2012.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  5. ^ a b c "An excerpt from Shafiq-ur-Rehman's 'lehreN'". Critical PAKISTAN'S ALTERNATIVE MEDIA. 9 February 2008 ( Retrieved 2 September 2012.  Check date values in: |date= (help)

External links[edit]