kaam hai mera taghayyur naam hai mera shabaab
mera naara inqilab o inqilab o inqilab
Josh Malihabadi was a revolutionary who spread a message of hope and love through his poetry. His poetry enthused hearts of Urdu knowing people in India and Pakistan.
Shabbir Hasan Khan with his pen name Josh was born in Malihabad, a town 13km away from Lucknow in the 1890s, in a family of Afridi Pathans who settled there some three centuries before his birth. He studied in well known educational institutions run under the British and the Muslim elites of those times and enjoyed close company and friendship of leading scholars, poets and politicians in his young age. He inherited poetry from his father and grandfather.
In 1925, Josh began to work at the Osmania University, in the then Princely State of Hyderabad. But due to his revolutionary writings, especially after writing a nazm against the Nizam of Hyderabad, the then ruler of the state, he had to leave the state.
He was appointed the editor of a prestigious journal ‘Aj Kal’, published under the patronage of Ministry of information and broadcasting. In 1954 he was rewarded with the distinguished honour ‘Padma Vibhushan’ by the Government of India for having been a patriot and crusader of freedom movement.
After independence, Josh migrated to Pakistan in 1958 despite Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru’s insistence against it. His concern regarding the future of the Urdu language in India, lead to it because he apprehended that the Hindu majority may encourage the use of Hindi rather than Urdu. He settled in Karachi and worked for Anjuman-e-Tarraqi-e-Urdu with Maulwi Abdul Haque.
He wrote over 100,000 beautiful couplets and more than 1,000 rubaiyat in his lifetime. His autobiography “Yadon Ki Barat” is considered one of the best so far in Urdu as it is written in frank and candid manner. He did not conceal anything about his life and lived without any fears of a backlash from the traditionalists.
He died on February 22, 1982, in Islamabad. To honour this great Shayar-e-Inqilab Pakistan post has issued 5Rupee commemorative postage stamp.
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