Lahore: The 90th birth anniversary of renowned poet Ahmed Faraz is being observed today. He was considered as one of the greatest modern Urdu poets of his time
He was born on January 12, 1931 in Kohat, as Syed Ahmed Shah. Faraz was his pseudonym ‘takhallus’. He moved to Peshawar with his family, where he studied in famous Edwardes College and received Masters in Urdu and Persian from Peshawar University.The progressive poets Faiz Ahmad Faiz and Ali Sardar Jafri were his friends during college day, who impressed him and became his role models. Faraz, who has been compared often with Faiz Ahmad Faiz, holds a unique position as one of the best poets of current times, with a fine but simple style of writing, which can be understood by common people.Faraz wrote extensively on romantic themes but he also used poetry as an instrument for political resistance. He raised his voice against the military dictatorship of Zia-ul-Haq and was arrested for it.Following that arrest, he went into a self-imposed exile. He stayed for 6 years in Britain, Canada and Europe before returning to Pakistan, where he was initially appointed as Chairman of the Pakistan Academy of Letters and later chairperson of the Islamabad-based National Book Foundation for several years.He was awarded numerous national and international awards, Sitara-e-Imtiaz, Hilal-e-Pakistan and also Hilal-e-Imtiaz in recognition of his literary achievements in 2004. He returned Hilal-e-Imtiaz in 2006 after becoming disenchanted with Musharraf’s government and its policies. Faraz died of kidney failure in a private hospital in Islamabad on 25 August 2008. His funeral was held on the evening of 26 August.