The third death anniversary of Ahmed Faraz, one of the greatest Pakistani Urdu poets, was observed here on Thursday. Born in Kohat on January 14, 1931, he is considered to be one of the greatest modern Urdu poets of the last century. He is popularly known by his pseudonym, Faraz, and few are familiar with his real name, Syed Ahmad Shah.
Outspoken in politics, he went into self-imposed exile during the Ziaul Haq regime, after he was arrested for reciting certain poems at a recital, which criticised the military rule. He stayed for six years in Canada and Europe before returning to Pakistan, where he was initially appointed as chairperson Academy of Letters and later Chairperson of the Islamabad-based National Book Foundation for several years.
He has been awarded with numerous national and international awards. He was awarded the Hilal-e-Imtiaz in 2004, in recognition of his literary achievements. However, he returned the award in 2006, after becoming disenchanted with the government and its policies. Ahmed Faraz, who has been compared with Faiz Ahmed Faiz, holds a unique position as one of the best poets of current times, with a fine but simple style of writing, which is easily understand and widely appreciated. Ethnically, a Hindko-speaking Pashtun, Ahmed Faraz studied Persian and Urdu at The University of Peshawar, where he later served as lecturer. He died in Islamabad on August 25, 2008.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 26th, 2011.
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