Ahmad Faraz on 12 January 1931 in Kohat,died 25 August 2008) was a Pakistani Urdu poet. He was acclaimed one of the modern Urdu poets of the last century. 'Faraz' is his pen name, (in Urdu takhalus). He died in Islamabad on 25 August 2008.He was awarded Hilal-e-Imtiaz, Sitara-i-Imtiaz and after his death Hilal-e-Pakistan by the government.
Faraz was born in Kohat, Pakistan to Syed Muhammad Shah Barq. His brother is Syed Masood Kausar. He moved to Peshawar with his family. He studied in famous Edwardes College, Peshawar and received Masters in Urdu and Persian from Peshawar University. During his time in college, Faiz Ahmad Faiz and Ali Sardar Jafri were the best progressive poets, who impressed him and became his role models. Ethnically a Sayyid, Ahmed Faraz studied Persian and Urdu at the Peshawar University. He later became lecturer at the Peshawar University.
Faraz has been compared 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. Even common people can easily understand his poetry. In an interview with Rediff he recalls how his father, once bought clothes for him on Eid. He didn't like the clothes meant for him, but preferred the ones meant for his elder brother. This lead him to write his first couplet:
:سب کے واسطے لائے ہیں کپڑے سیل سے
:لائے ہیں میرے لیے قیدی کا کمبل جیل سے Sab kay waste laye hein kaprye sale se Laye hein mere liye qaidi ka kambal jail se (He brought clothes for everybody from the sale) (For me he brought a blanket from jail)
Ahmad Faraz was arrested for reciting poems that criticised military rulers in Pakistan during the Zia-ul-Haq era. 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 Chairman Pakistan 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. In 2006, he returned the Hilal-e-Imtiaz award he was given in 2004. About his current writings he says: "I now only write when I am forced to from the inside. Maintaining a tradition established by his mentor, the revolutionary Faiz Ahmad Faiz, he wrote some of his best poetry during those days in exile. Famous amongst poetry of resistance has been "Mahasara". Faraz was also mentioned by actor Shahzada Ghaffar in the Pothwari/Mirpuri telefilm "Khai Aye O".
Faraz died from kidney failure in a local Islamabad hospital on 25 August 2008. His funeral was held on the evening of 26th, by many admirers and government officials at H-8 Graveyard, Islamabad, Pakistan.
A sample of his poetry is:
Nazm: Khwaab martay naheen
Khwaab martay naheen
Khwaab dil hain, nah aankhen, nah saansen keh jo
Rezaa, rezaa huwe to bikhar jaayen ge
Jism kii maut se ye bhii mar jaayen ge
English translation. Dreams do not die Dream are not heart, nor eyes nor breath Which shattered, will scatter Die with the death of the body