28 August: Remembering Firaq Gorakhpuri on his Birth Anniversary
Firaq Gorakhpuri, (28 August 1896 – 3 March 1982), was a writer, critic, and one of the most noted contemporary Urdu poets from India.
Early Life and Career
Firaq Gorakhpuri was born on 28 August 1896, in Gorakhpur, India. He grew up in an aristocratic family and began writing Urdu poetry when he was just a teenager. He earned his master’s degree in Urdu, Persian, and English literature at Lucknow Christian Degree College.
After a brilliant academic career, he joined the Provincial Civil Service but resigned and joined Allahabad University. He also joined Mahatma Gandhi‘s non-cooperation movement, which landed him in prison for a while. At Allahabad University, he wrote most of his Urdu poetry, including his masterpiece ‘Gul-e-Ra’naa’, which won the prestigious Jnanpith Award. In 1960, he received the Sahitya Akademi Award for Urdu language literature. As was traditional at the time, he started adding Firaq Gorakhpuri as his pen name. His other job was as Producer Emeritus in All India Radio and Research Professor at the University Grants Commission.
For his work promoting literature and communal harmony, Jawahar Lal Nehru nominated him to the Rajya Sabha. He wrote hundreds of heartbreaking poems in his career spanning more than 50 years. Some of the collections included Rooh-o-Qaayanat, Gul-e-Ra’naa, and Nagma-numaa.
His poetry is heavily influenced by Urdu poets like Mir and Momin, as well as romantic English poetry. His writing is so unique and rich because he was also influenced by Hindi and Sanskrit literature.
Gorakhpuri won many awards throughout his life, including Sahitya Akademi Award in Urdu (1960), Soviet Land Nehru Award (1968), Jnanpith Award (1969), Sahitya Akademi Fellowship (1970), and Ghalib Akademi Award (1981).
In 1968, he received the Padma Bhushan, the third highest civilian award in India.
He died on 3 March 1982, in New Delhi, India.
Read More: 28 August in Indian and World History