Shabbir Hassan Khan ‘Josh’ Malihabadi, who got fame as a revolutionary poet by attacking the British rulers with his literary skills
Syed Naseer Ahmad
Shabbir Hassan Khan Malihabadi, who got fame as a revolutionary poet by attacking the British rulers with his literary skills, was born on 5 December, 1894 in Malihabad, Lucknow district in Uttar Pradesh. He got educated in Agra and Shanti Niketan. But he had to stop his studies because of the sudden demise of his father in 1914.
He learned Arabic, Persian, Urdu and English by self study. He inherited the poetic talents of his grand father and father Bashir Ahmed Khan. He started writing poetry under the
guidance of the famous poet Wahiduddin Saleem Panipati.
Hassan’s poems were emotional and heart touching. Since his native village is Malihabad, as a poet he became famous as ‘Shabbir Hassan Khan Josh Malihabadi’. His first anthology of poems ‘Ruh-e-Adaab’ was released in 1920. He worked in the translation department of Nizam State from 1924-34. But he opposed the Nizam Nawab’s friendship with the British rulers and quit his job. He started an Urdu literary magazine ‘Kalim’ in 1935.
He published number of articles and poems criticizing the atrocities of the British government and narrating the woes of the people under the misrule of the British. He openly supported the Indian freedom struggle and encouraged the people towards the movement. He wrote several poems like ‘In the name of the sons of the East India Company‘, ‘Revolt’,‘The Broken Walls of the Jail’, ‘Dreams of Defeated Prisoner’ to inspire the freedom fighters. British government was irked by his revolutionary writings. His writtings brought him fame as a ‘Revolutionary Poet’ among the people. After the division of the country in 1947, he did not leave India despite pressures on him from his friends. He worked as the Editor for ‘Aajkal’ Urdu daily news paper published by the Government of India from 1948-55.
He also wrote lyrics to several Hindi movies. As he felt that there will be no justice would be done to Urdu language in India, he migrated to Pakistan in 1956, defying the requests made by close friends like Jawaharlal Nehru and others. Hassan Khan Malihabadi actively led the Urdu Movement even from Karachi. His auto biography ‘Yaadon ki Baaraat’ was applauded by the readers. He got fame as the ‘King of Urdu’ for his excellent scholarly skills in that language and litaratuare.
He released a total of 27 anthologies. He faced troubles in Pakistan because of the local politics. But, Shabbir Hassan Khan Malihabadi, who was committed to the people as a poet,
breathed his last on 22 February, 1982 in Islamabad.