Ada Jafarey, first lady of Urdu poetry, dies

Her poetic quest, which spans over seven decades, started when she wrote her first verse at the age of nine

Our Correspondent March 13, 2015

KARACHI: Ada Jafarey, one of the most prominent figures of contemporary Urdu literature in recent times, passed away on Thursday in Karachi. She was 90.

Her poetic quest, which spans over seven decades, started when she wrote her first verse at the age of nine. Encouragement in her childhood and youth from her mother and then, after marriage, from her husband Nurul Hasan Jafarey kept her literary spark going and she published her first book Main Saaz Dhundtee Rahee in 1950.

Ada has written in a more or less gender-neutral mode, but her works include feminist themes like discrimination and dehumanisation of women and of them being viewed as sexual objects. She also wrote of her experiences as a wife and mother.

In addition to an autobiography and research work, Ada had published five collections of poetry. She has been recognised as the “First Lady of Urdu Poetry” for her contributions.

Ada was awarded the Adamjee Award in 1967 for her second poetic collection Shehr-e-Dard. In recognition of her work, the government awarded her Tamgha-e-Imtiaz in 1981. She received the Baba-e-Urdu Award from the Pakistan Academy of Letters in 1994, and the Quaid-e-Azam Literary Award in 1997.

She was also the recipient of the Hamdard Foundation of Pakistan’s Certificate of Merit. In 2002, she was conferred the Pride of Performance Award for Literature. Ada was the recipient of the Kamal-e-Fan Award by the Pakistan Academy of Letters in 2003.

Ada has left behind three children to mourn her death. Her husband, who wrote columns for both English and Urdu newspapers and also served as the president of the Anjuman-e-Taraqqi-e-Urdu, passed away in December 1995.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 13th, 2015.


rebelliouskhan | 6 years ago | Reply my favorite poet.. i will always remember her .. RIP
Ahmad | 6 years ago | Reply Very well-respected poetess, indeed.. You will be truly missed.. RIP..
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