Faiz Ahmed Faiz had taught in a college in Amritsar for a few years. At the same time, Sadat Hassan Manto was also there, and Faiz was Manto’s teacher. During a conversation, Faiz had once recalled about Manto that he was often absent from the class. One day Faiz asked:
“Kahaan Ghayab rahte ho? Kya Karte rehte ho?”
To which Manto responded, “PaDhtaa rahtaa hun” When Faiz asked what he read, Manto named Chekhov and Tolstoy. Faiz then gave him a story to translate. When he saw Manto’s translation, he remarked:
‘Theek Hai, tumhen class mein aane kii zaruurat nahin hai. PaDho aur tarjama (translation) karo.’
Manto was not very interested in formal education. He had failed his matriculation exam thrice and passed it in 1931.
Kishwar Nahid is a well-known poetess, writer and translator, much-known for her feminist ideas. She penned a synopsis of the book ‘Second Sex’, written by French author Simone de Beauvoir on women, titled ‘Aurat’, and added precedents from her own society to it. The book became very popular. In a month’s time, five thousand copies of the book were sold in Pakistan. Many students of the university also bought it. But contrarily, in 1997, a case was filed against Kishwar for writing obscene content in this book. Consequently, the book was banned.
The Ghazal, “Insha Ji Uthho Kuuch Karo is shahr mein dil ko lagaana kyaa” is numbered among the most popular ghazals in Urdu. Its creator, Ibn-e-Insha (1927-1978), was a famous poet, columnist, author, translator and humorist.
And you know what, he was perhaps the first Urdu poet to use in Urdu the famous genre of Punjabi poetry "Sii-Harfi" which comprises four-versed stanzas, all of which begin with each letter of the Urdu alphabet. Also, in these stanzas, the themes are not limited by any means.
This is how Ibn-e-Insha has used it in his Nazm ‘Amn Ka Akhiri Din’:
‘Pe’ wo palTan hai kih uD kar sar-e- maidaa.n pahunchii
‘Pe’ wo pyaare hain kih maidaa.n se na wapis aaye
‘Te’ wo tamGa hai kih barso.n kii riyaazat se mile
Aur kisii laash kii chhaatii pe chamakta rah jaae
Ibn-e-Insha’s real name was Sher Muhammad Khan. He was also deeply interested in world literature. Moreover, he was so influenced by the famous American poet and writer Edgar Allan Poe that he called him "Guru Dev".
Originally a Kashmiri Pandit but truly a Dilli waala by heart, Anand Mohan Zutshi ‘Gulzar’ Dehlvi’s (1926-2020) entire parentage devoted itself selflessly to the progress of Urdu language. Gulzar Dehlvi was a paragon of our composite culture, Urdu language and literature, and our age-old Ganga-Jamuni culture. He revered Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya and regularly used to visit his tomb to pay his tributes. Whenever he went out of the house, he would be dressed in a Jawahar cut Topi and a sherwani upon which a fresh rose would be inevitably smiling. In his long life, he graced innumerable Mushairas and in his own unalike style held high the banner of Urdu language. He founded Anjuman-e-Ta'meer-e-Urdu in 1946 and organized several poetry festivals and literary summits under it. The likes of Jigar Moradabadi, Maulvi Abdul Haq, Jawaharlal Nehru, Hussain Ahmad Madani, Abul Kalam Azad, Allama Niyaz Fatehpuri, Josh Malihabadi and many others took pride in their companionship with Gulzar Sahib.
In 1932, there took place a ‘Dariyaaii Mushaira’. Summers were on, and famous poet Anand Narayan Mulla in association with the literary organization ‘Bahar-e-Adab’ organized a Mushaira above the waters of the Gomti river by erecting a pavilion over it. This pavilion stood over canisters which are used in preparing bridges, and was fastened with thick ropes and nailed to the shore with pegs. When everyone was onboard, the ropes were untied and this "Mushaira-Gaah" looked like a glorious canopied-boat.
The hemistich that was set for this Tarahi Mushaira was:
Dariyaa kii ravaanii hai bahtaa huaa pani hai
Anand Narayan Mulla (1901-1997) was an Urdu-lover. His quote, ‘Main apnaa mazhab chhod sakta hun lekin Urdu ko nahin chhod saktaa’. He was a Kashmiri but his family had settled in Lucknow for many generations. He was a prolific poet and a prominent jurist of the country. He was also a judge of Allahabad High Court.