Zehra Nigah

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Zehra Nigah
زہراء نگاہ
Born14 May 1936[1]
Known forPoetry
Scriptwriting for television drama serials and films[2][1]

Zehra Nigah (Urdu: زہراء نگاہ) is an Urdu poet and scriptwriter from Pakistan.[3][4][2] She was one of two female poets to gain prominence in the 1950s when the scene was dominated by men.[5] She has written several television drama serials.[2] She has also received various awards including Pride of Performance in recognition of her literary works in 2006.[6] She wrote screenplay of the television serial Umrao Jan Ada based Mirza Hadi Ruswa's Umrao Jaan Ada.[7]

Personal life[edit]

Zehra was born in Hyderabad, British India. She was 12 years old when she and her family migrated to Pakistan after the 1947 partition of India. Her father was a civil servant with an interest in poetry. Zehra's elder sister, Fatima Surayya Bajia, was also a writer. One of her brothers, Anwar Maqsood, is a writer, satirist and a television host and another brother, Ahmad Maqsood was Secretary to the Government of Sindh. Zehra married Majid Ali, who was a civil servant and had interest in Sufi poetry.[5]


Zehra Nigah began her writing career during her childhood. When she was 14 years old, she learned the poetry of prominent poets by heart.[5] She is inspired by classical tradition of Urdu poetry.

Front Line magazine states:

Around 1922, the living room in Zehra's family home used to serve as the centre stage for historic meetings of poets of the stature of Iqbal, Firaq, Makhdoom, Faiz Ahmad Faiz and Majaz. "Academics, poetry and music completed my home", she says, adding, "My mother used to learn music from her ustaad [teacher] from behind a purdah. My maternal grandfather used to encourage us children to revise tough poets like Haali and Iqbal with correct meanings, pronunciations and reading style. He would tempt us by saying, 'If you memorise Iqbal's Jawab-e-Shikwa or Musaddas-e-Hali, you will get five rupees.' And we would wield all our energies to memorise them. Such was my training that at four I had learnt the correct recitation style and pronunciation and by the time I was 14, I had learnt the masterpieces of most big poets by heart.[5]

In 2012, an event was held by the fellow writers at the Arts Council of Pakistan, Karachi to launch a CD of Zehra Nigah's poetry in her own voice. The event was presided over by the writer Intizar Hussain and also included the famous humorist Mushtaq Ahmed Yousufi.[4]

Awards and recognition[edit]


  • Shaam Ka Pehla Tara[2]
  • Waraq[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Profile of Zehra Nigah on rekhta.org website, Retrieved 12 June 2017
  2. ^ a b c d e f "Portrait of a lady". The Hindu. 7 November 2004. Archived from the original on 25 March 2005. Retrieved 12 June 2017.
  3. ^ "Pakistani poet Zehra Nigah enthrals at Jashn-e-Bahar". The Times of India. 7 April 2012. Archived from the original on 25 December 2013. Retrieved 12 June 2017.
  4. ^ a b "CD of Zehra Nigah's poetry in her voice launched". Daily Dawn newspaper. 15 February 2012. Retrieved 12 June 2017.
  5. ^ a b c d "Zehra Nigah, a powerful voice on Pakistan's poetic horizon, shines brighter in her twilight years". Front Line, India's National Magazine. 18 May 2012. Retrieved 23 November 2012.
  6. ^ a b Zehra Nigah's Pride of Performance Award info listed on Dawn newspaper, Published 24 March 2006, Retrieved 12 June 2017
  7. ^ Ali, Sahar (28 January 2002). "Pakistan poet Zehra Nigah scripts screenplay for Mirza Ruswa's Umrao Jaan Ada for TV play". IndiaToday.in. Retrieved 14 March 2021.

External links[edit]