is se pahle ki be-vafā ho jaa.eñ

kyuuñ na ai dost ham judā ho jaa.eñ

tū bhī hiire se ban gayā patthar

ham bhī kal jaane kyā se kyā ho jaa.eñ

These couplets penned down by Ahmad Faraz are representative of the simplicity of his writing style.

Syed Ahmad Ali Shah (Ahmad Faraz) was born in Kohat on 12th January, 1931. He was a recognized national poet, who published thirteen collections of poetry and earned large public acclaim. He was awarded Hilal-e-Imtiaz by the government of Pakistan.

Faraz wrote extensively on romantic themes but he also used poetry as an instrument for political resistance. He raised his voice against the military dictatorship of Zia-ul-Haq and was arrested for it. Faraz went into self-imposed exile for six years and wrote Muhasira, a satirical piece on the dictator’s rule.

so ye javāb hai merā mire adū ke liye

ki mujh ko hirs-e-karam hai na ḳhauf-e-ḳhamyāza

use hai satvat-e-shamshīr par ghamanD bahut

use shikoh-e-qalam kā nahīñ hai andāza

mirā qalam to amānat hai mere logoñ kī

mirā qalam to adālat mire zamīr kī hai

isī liye to jo likkhā tapāk-e-jāñ se likhā

jabhī to loch kamāñ kā zabān tiir kī hai

Faraz was influenced by the Progressive Writers Movement. Like his mentor, Faiz Ahmad Faiz, he wrote poetry when he was in jail.

After his death, Faraz became the target of a nationwide scandal where distasteful specimens of poetry were credited to his name and sent through text messages. One of the reasons for this public humiliation was his statement that while Muhammad Iqbal had one book to his name, he had thirteen. That instigated a backlash from the extremists. It is also possible that since popularity is a double edged sword, Faraz’s fame also became the stimulus for his humiliation.

His poetry was also adapted for musical compositions. His ghazal Ranjish was sung by Mehdi Hassan and gained popularity.

Faraz passed away of kidney failure on 25th August, 2008. He is survived by the legacy of his poetry.

uā hai tujh se bichhaḌne ke ye ma.alūm

ki tū nahīñ thā tire saath ek duniyā thī