Life StylePakistan

A Tribute to the Literary Heroes of Urdu Poetry and Prose

Story Highlights
  • Dr. Allama Iqbal
  • Faiz Ahmad Faiz
  • Parveen Shakir
  • Jaun Elia

Pakistan has a rich literary history that dates back many years. The way that Pakistani poets and authors utilize high-minded language is so alluring that it’s impossible not to fall in love with them.

Even though many great authors from Pakistan have passed away, their magnificent work lives on in our memories.

Here are a few literary legends across our history:

Dr. Allama Iqbal 

Dr. Allama Iqbal was a Muslim poet, philosopher, and politician from South Asia. His vision of a political and cultural ideal for Muslims in British-ruled India was instrumental in sparking the desire for Pakistan. His Urdu poetry is widely considered among the best of the twentieth century.

He was given the title “Sir” by King George V in 1923. Iqbal is widely regarded as the Shair-e-Mashriq across most of South Asia and the Urdu-speaking world. He is also known as Mufakkir-e-Pakistan, which translates to “The Thinker of Pakistan,” Musawar-e-Pakistan, and Hakeem-ul-Ummat.

Faiz Ahmad Faiz

Pakistani liberal artist and writer Faiz Ahmad Faiz is widely considered one of the best writers in Urdu. Poet and novelist Faiz Ahmad wrote in both Urdu and Punjabi.  Outside of writing, he has been called “a man of extensive experience,” having worked as a teacher, an army officer, a journalist, a trade unionist, and a broadcaster. In 1962, the Soviet Union awarded Marxist Faiz the Lenin Peace Prize. In 1990, the Pakistani government awarded Faiz the Nishan-e-Imtiaz for his abstract work. 

Parveen Shakir

Urdu poet, educator, and public worker Parveen Shakir was known for her work in all three of these fields. Parveen started writing when she was young. In 1976, her first book of poetry, Khushbu, was published to great praise. She published other well-received poetry collections, Khud Kalami and Inkaar in 1990, Kaf-e-Aina, and a group of her newspaper columns called Gosha-e-Chashm. In 1976, she was given Pakistan’s highest literary award, the Pride of Performance, for her work. 

Jaun Elia 

The Pakistani Marxist Urdu author, academic, biographer, and researcher Jaun Elia was a force to be reckoned with.   He was multilingual, having a firm grasp of Urdu, Arabic, English, Persian, Sanskrit, and Hebrew. He learned logic, rationality, Islamic history, the Muslim Sufi tradition, Muslim religious sciences, Western literature, and Kabbala. He is widely recognized as one of the most prominent contemporary Pakistani authors. He is also well known for his unconventional methods.

The unrelenting contribution of these authors is something we can never forget. Pakistan is one of the most significant sources of Urdu poetry, given the various ways this nation and its people contribute to the development of Urdu poetry. 

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