He criticised Zia-ul-Haq and was excluded from the curriculum: Josh Malihabadi remembered

He criticised Zia-ul-Haq and was excluded from the curriculum: Josh Malihabadi remembered

Roads have been named after Josh’s students but not after Josh himself, said the poet's grandson
23 Feb, 2016

ISLAMABAD: Poet Josh Malihabadi was remembered on his 34th death anniversary at an event hosted by the Pakistan Academy of Letters (PAL) on Monday.

Josh was born on December 5, 1894 in Malihabad, India. He moved to Pakistan in 1956 and died in Islamabad on February 22, 1982. His name was Shabir Hassan Khan, but went by his pen name, Josh.

The late poet wrote many songs, ghazals, nazms and marsias. His works include Shola-o-Shabnam, Junoon-o-Hikmat, Fikr-o-Nishaat, Harf-o-Hikaayat, Irfaniyat-e-Josh, Sunbal-o-Salaasal and Yadoon ki Baraat among others.

Josh’s grandson, Farrukh Jamal Malihabadi who is also the president of the Josh Literary Foundation, said his grandfather had struggled for democracy all through his life.

“During the tenure of General Ayub Khan, Josh spoke against the dictator while on a visit to India and said the President of Pakistan was illiterate and could not even get his pronunciations right. Ayub Khan removed him from the Taraqqi-e-Urdu Board where he was correcting the Urdu dictionary,” Mr Malihabadi said.

“He could not tolerate General Ziaul Haq and would always criticise him due to which his works were excluded from the curriculum”, Mr Malihabadi said of his grandfather.

Roads have been named after Josh’s students but not after Josh himself, Farrukh Malihabadi said.

To this, renowned poet Ataul Haq Qasmi said it was unfortunate that no road in the city had been named after Josh.

“I will talk to the prime minister and the minister of information and ask them [to name a road after Josh]. He was a great poet, the kind of person that you only come across once in a lifetime. I would meet him often and was very impressed by him,” Mr Qasmi said.

Josh had first written in Persian, said poet Dr Masood Jafri, and had switched to Urdu later.

“He was a unique poet and his works were so different,” he said.

Talking to Dawn after the event Farrukh Malihabadi, the late poet’s grandson, said it was unfortunate that no minister had attended the event held to remember Josh Malihabadi.

“Events for remembering such important people should be hosted by the government and not by organisations like the Josh Literary Foundation,” he added.

Published in Dawn, February 23rd, 2016


Dare Feb 23, 2016 10:22am
Illiterate government ministers have no appetite for the poetry of a great poet of last century.
AdHawk Feb 23, 2016 10:42am
They don't make 'em like Josh anymore.
Sefal Khan Feb 23, 2016 11:40am
kitne roshan hain diey tere shabistanoon main. RIP Josh Sir
Riz Hassan Feb 23, 2016 12:25pm
Well done Josh Literary Foundation.Josh was a poet that dont born every year,or decade,or 50 years. He was the person who had visualised the consequences of Ayub and Zia policies on our culture ,on the lives of poor people.
Qamar Valliani Feb 23, 2016 12:35pm
Whoever criticised Zia paid the heavy price. In the end Pakistan paid the heaviest price.
Iaj Feb 23, 2016 12:53pm
One of great poets of his time, one has only to read his Suhagin Bewa to appreciate the broad vision of his mind and largess of his heart
N Feb 23, 2016 01:23pm
Nehru offered Josh a position in the cabinet of free India, but Josh decided to get the flavor of Pakistan. After being disillusioned he came back to India but Nehru didn't offer him anything and Josh left around 1956. It is worth mentioning that Nehru appointed Maulana Abul Kalam Azad as the first Education Minister in free India. Maulana Azad established the first IIT in India, the core of India's scientific progress. Wish Josh accepted Nehru's first offer. He would have taken study of Urdu to a much higher and desirable level.
Twinkle C.P Feb 23, 2016 01:57pm
A man is independent only till he is taken over by the establishment.Government is the worst establishment.It would have been a disgrace for an independent thinker and poet like Josh has lived on the support of the government. His works are his ever lasting memorials
Usman Khan Feb 23, 2016 06:39pm
An unfortunate episode indeed. What else could we expect from any current or forthcoming governments?!
jani sahab Feb 23, 2016 08:40pm
That's astonishing!!! Our dictators, as they have a series of notorious antics to their credit also distorted the curriculum to victimized the poets.?
Mustafa Feb 23, 2016 09:25pm
@N; Totally false. Josh never asked Nehru for anything and he never went to India except for a visit. Josh knew very well that Urdu has no future in India.
Irfan Feb 23, 2016 11:18pm
Such brutal frankness, is sure to invite wrath of those, who are at the receiving end. But then, it is a testimony to Josh Sahab's mettle, that he stood his ground, while dissenting with high and mighty.
i Feb 24, 2016 03:35am
@Mustafa Indians speak and write Hindi. Urdu s different
Sailani Feb 24, 2016 05:41am
To speak against a dictator takes guts. Ayub and Zia are gone, so what does it take to name a street or Road for our well known Shair?
Umer Khitab Feb 24, 2016 08:48am
Josh sahab, a true afridi. May his name always be synonymous with revolution for the have nots.
Jalaluddin S. Hussain Feb 24, 2016 11:05am
Josh was a great man. May his soul rest in peace! I am his Canadian admirer.