Ahmad Faraz is no more in flesh and blood, but unlike ordinary mortals, who die and disappear, he was a legend when he lived, and in death he has hardly died. Very few poets are loved and admired, both during life and when they pass away. Contemporary opinion is sometimes very cruel in appreciating the worth and value of a living creative soul. They get fame as a posthumous gift. Faraz on the contrary, drew peoples' love and veneration like a powerful magnet. His popularity in life was as incredible as when he has parted from this world in the physical sense. Mourning of his death hardly catches the depth of grief that afflicts the hearts all over the globe. His death indeed is a colossal loss. Very few poets can claim that extraordinary admiration Faraz accumulated, both in the country as well as in distant lands, transcending sub-continental borders. Whenever he went to Europe, USA, Canada or near home, the Arab World, he was received with the same magnitude of warmth and hospitality, as if he were in his own homeland. Such is the power of popular poetic sensibility, which Faraz was abundantly gifted with. World shrinks for such creative geniuses, for whom the humankind is one common entity, despite diversities that add grace and dignity to human existence. One can say that his constituency was much wider, and his heart embraced all, particularly, the wretched of the earth, for whom, he felt the anguish and pain, no matter where they lived. Their repression and exploitation was the driving force of his powerful poetic expression, through which he wanted their redemption: Zamane bhar kay dukhon ko laga lia dil say Is aasrey peh, koi gham gusar apna hay Pain for Ahmad Faraz was enormous in the word, and he felt it quite intensely: Gham they keh Faraz aandhian thein Dil tha keh Faraz pankheri thi The destruction rampant in the world, the incessant aerial bombings, killing millions of innocent people, men, women and children, - the so-called collateral damages. This he vehemently loathed: Palak jhapaktey hi dunyia ujar deti hay Woh bastian jinhain bastey zamane lagtey hain The power wielders in the world have assumed their identity as if they were God-like, omnipotent: Tha kal to aik na'ara-e-Mansoor bhi giran Aur ab keh sainkron hain khuda dikhte raho It is the poor who perishes; the rich exploits them in very deceptive way: Amir-e-shehr gharibon ko loot leta hay Kabhi be heela-e-mazhab, kabhi banam watan If one were to sum up Faraz's poetry, he was an intense lover of beauty, like Keats, who died very young and had said, "A thing of beauty is a joy forever." The same sensibility one finds in Faraz. He is a poet, who quite consistently lived a life as he expressed himself in poetry. Age he defied in life and remained young dispositionally as long as he lived. There was no duality or duplicity. His inner and outer selves, were harmoniously blended. It was that rare truth, which is the hallmark of his personality and the distinctive feature, which makes him so unique and credible: Hua hay tujh say bichharney key baad yeh maloom Keh too nahin tha, tere sath aik duniya thi Ahmad Faraz is a multifaceted genius - in ghazal as well as poems. Romanticism has found its zenith in Faraz, whose one ghazal: Suna hai boley to baton say phool jhartey hain; Yeh baat hay to chalo baat kar key deikhte hain, can be classed as the finest piece of ghazal written during the past one and a quarter century. It is difficult to reach the richness or depth of romantic expression that Faraz has immortalised himself in just one ghazal. Besides the ghazals like Ranjish hi sahi dil hi dukhane key liaye aa, sung by Mehdi Hassan and Ab kay tajdeed-e-wafa ka naheen imkan janan, by Mehnaz have made Faraz close to every one's heart. There are not many ghazal writers, whose poetry have been sung by so many talented singers as that of Faraz. During the dictatorial rule of General Ziaul Haq, he was hounded for his progressive thoughts which defied martial law regimes and condemned the usurpation of the rights of the people. He made no compromise with the dictator and preferred to live in exile in Europe, America and Canada. He struggled relentlessly to free the country from the menace of martial law. In the movement for the restoration of the judges, he actively participated by joining with the lawyers and civil community in public demonstrations. Had he been living he would have seen the dictator finally relinquish his absolute power. His vision at last showed the new light in the country: Go siah bakht hein hum log peh roshan hay zameer Khud andhere main hain dunyia ko dikhatey hain charagh Ahmad Faraz lived a very creative life and rose to a pedestal of self-actualisation and glory, which very few tend to achieve. He made his mark in the galaxy of great poets which Pakistan has the distinction of producing: Allama Iqbal, Faiz Ahmad Faiz, Ahmed Nadeem Qasmi, Muneer Niazi, Ehsan Danish, Nasir Kazmi and Parveen Shakir, who are glittering stars on the poetical firmament and Faraz has created a space for himself, by his contributions in poems and ghazals, which reflect his distinct identity. After Ghalib and Mir of Delhi school, Hali and Akbar, there are not very many who can match the excellence of Pakistani poets. I have had the occasions of interacting with Faraz several times and found that he was profoundly straightforward and humble in projecting himself. I asked Faraz if the couplet shikwah-e-zulmat-e-shab say to kaheen behtary hay; Apney hissay ki koi shama jalatey jatey, was inspired by Confucius, who said, "It is better to light one candle than to curse the darkness." He replied, he was hearing it for the first time from me. One can fathom his greatness. On another occasion, in chance meeting at a dinner hosted by the Indian Ambassador, I told Faraz that I was disappointed that when asked in a television interview, as to who were the great ghazal poets, he mentioned every one except Firaq, a poet who taught English in Allahabad University. He immediately sought the apology and said that it was really a great omission on his part which he regretted. He even desired that I compile the best couplets/ghazals of Firaq and that he would sponsor its publication. He was quite sincere in his statements. I recited a couplet of Firaq: Tere siwa bhi haseen hain baqol in aankhon key Dil is ko maan bhi laita hay, dukh bhi jata hay On hearing it, he was so excited that he went on reciting it throughout his stay at the residence of the ambassador. He was a genuine poet and would pay tributes to anyone, who wrote great poetry: Ahmad Faraz's poetic greatness flows from his supreme commitment to live and die for love: Hum ney yeh soch key jan di hay mohabbat mein Faraz Bulhavas karte hain kis rang min taqleed ab key The writer is a research scholar and political analyst E-mail: fr786pak@isb.comsats.net.pk