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