|Born||14 May 1937
Hyderabad, British India
|Known for||Her poetry
Scriptwriter for several popular television drama serials and films
Having 2 well-known writers as siblings
Anwar Maqsood and
Fatima Surayya Bajia
Zehra Nigah (Urdu: زہرہ نگاہ) is an Urdu poet and scriptwriter from Pakistan. She was one of two female poets to gain prominence in the 1950s when the scene was dominated by men. She has written several television drama serials. She has also received various awards including Pride of Performance in recognition of her literary works in 2006.
Zehra was born in Hyderabad, British India. She migrated to Pakistan after the 1947 independence of Pakistan. Her father was a civil servant with an interest in poetry. Zehra's elder sister, Fatima Surayya Bajia, is 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. She married Majid Ali, who was a civil servant and had interest in Sufi poetry.
Zehra Nigah began her writing career during her childhood. When she was 14 years old, she learned the poetry of prominent poets by heart. 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.
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.
Awards and recognition
- Pride of Performance Award by the President of Pakistan in 2006. According to a major newspaper of India, "Zehra Nigah is a much loved and highly respected poet in Pakistan."
- Profile of Zehra Nigah on rekhta.org website, Retrieved 12 June 2017
- "Portrait of a lady". The Hindu newspaper. 2004-11-07. Retrieved 12 June 2017.
- "Pakistani poet Zehra Nigah enthrals at Jashn-e-Bahar". The Times Of India. 2012-04-07. Retrieved 12 June 2017.
- "CD of Zehra Nigah’s poetry in her voice launched". Daily Dawn newspaper. 2012-02-15. Retrieved 12 June 2017.
- "Zehra Nigah, a powerful voice on Pakistan's poetic horizon, shines brighter in her twilight years.". Front Line, India's National Magazine. 2012-05-18. Retrieved 2012-11-23.
- Zehra Nigah's Pride of Performance Award info listed on Dawn newspaper, Published 24 March 2006, Retrieved 12 June 2017
- ARTICLE: In the jungle of loneliness - DAWN.com
- Zehra Nigah Pays Tribute to Faiz Ahmed Faiz
- Remembering Faiz by Zehra Nigah, The Express Tribune newspaper
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