LAHORE: Renowned Pakistani poet Himayat Ali Shair passed away after a prolonged illness on Tuesday, reported Pakistan Television. He was 93 years old and living in Toronto, Canada, at the time of his death.
Shair was born on July 14, 1926, in the city of Aurangabad, India and began his professional career at the All India Radio station. He migrated to Pakistan later on. In 1956, he penned his first book, titled Aag Main Phool and received the Presidential Award for his work in 1958, just two years later.
Come the early 1960s, Shair decided to venture into the film business and produced many super hit songs for some of the biggest films of the era. Again, just a couple of years into the field, he won two Nigar Awards for Best Song Lyricist in 1962 and 1963, for the films Aanchal and Daman respectively.
In this way, he eventually became known as one of the leading Urdu poets, film song lyricists and radio artists of the time, so much so that he was even awarded the Pride of Performance Award from the government of Pakistan in 2002.
Fans and friends, especially those in the local literary circles who had the pleasure of knowing or working with Shair back in the day, could not help but praise him upon learning of his death. “Himayat Ali Shair was a big name in the field of classical poetry. He was the face of traditional poetry in this part of the world,” Dr Sugra Sadaf, DG Punjab Institute of Language Art and Culture, told The Express Tribune. “In fact, he has a great contribution to local film music as well.”
Sadaf added that Shair had always been a patriotic man who loved Pakistan and penned numerous national songs as well. “His words are and will always remain in the hearts of the Pakistani people,” she added.
Drama writer Asghar Nadeem Sayed echoed her sentiments and also paid homage to the late wordsmith. “Himayat Ali Shair was a very dear friend of mine and a great poet. He was a man with a strong grasp on the Urdu language,” he said.
“There was a time in between when Himayat entered the film line as a film-maker. He even made a film called Lori. But he later left the industry so that he could focus more on poetry,” Sayed continued. “He was an intellectual; a pure poet who frequented public gatherings and shows. In fact, he did a programme for PTV that revolved around poetry and Urdu language as a whole. I have learnt a lot from Himayat in the time that I spent with him.”
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