His poetry works include Nazr-e-Butaan, Salaasil, Javidaan, Pichali Pehar, Ghar Angan and Khaak-e-dil. The latter ("The Ashes of Heart") was a poetry collection for which he was awarded in the year 1976, Sahitya Akademi Award in Urdu language by Sahitya Akademi, India's National Academy of Letters
Early life of Jan Nisar Akhtar
He was born in 1914, in Gwalior in Indian state of Madhya Pradesh, India, into a family of Sunni theologians, scholars and poets. His father Muztar Khairabadi was poet as was his father's elder brother, Bismil Khairabadi, while his great grandfather, Fazl-e-Haq Khairabadi, a scholar of Islamic studies and theology, notably edited the first diwan of Mirza Ghalib on his request, and later became an important figure during the Indian Rebellion of 1857 in his native Khairabad.
Jan Nisar passed his matriculation from Victoria Collegiate High School, Gwalior, and in 1930 joined Aligarh Muslim University, from where he gained his Bachelor of Arts with Honours and Master of Arts degrees. He started his doctoral work, but had to return to Gwalior due to family conditions.
Career of Jan Nisar Akhtar
On his return, he joined Victoria College, Gwalior, as an Urdu Lecturer. Meanwhile in 1943, he married Safiya Siraj-ul Haq, also an alumnus of AMU, and the sister of poet Majaz Luckknawi, their two sons, Javed and Salman were born in the year 1945 and 1946 respectively. Post-independence riots in Gwalior forced him to shift base to Bhopal, where he joined the Hamidia College as Head of Department of Urdu and Persian, later Safiya also joined the college. Soon they became part of the Progressive Writers' Movement and subsequently he was made its president.
In 1949, he resigned from his job, moved to Mumbai to write lyrics for Urdu/Hindi movies besides ghazals and nazms for general publication. There he came in touch with other progressive writers, like Mulk Raj Anand, Krishan Chander, Rajinder Singh Bedi and Ismat Chugtai, who often hang around together. His association with Madan Mohan, the music director resulted in many memorable movie songs. Some of his notable lyrics were, Meri Neendon Mein Tum in Naya Andaz (1956) by Kishore Kumar, Shamshad Begum, Garib Jan Key Hamko Naa Tum Daga Dena sung by Mohammad Rafi in Chhoo Mantar, the hit Piya piya piya... in Baap Re Baap (1955) music by O.P. Nayyar, Aap Yun Faaslon Se by Lata Mangeshkar in Shankar Hussain (1977).
Personal Life of Jan Nisar Akhtar
He married Safia Akhtar, a teacher and writer in 1943, who in turn was the sister of Majaz, a romantic revolutionary poet. When Jan Nisar moved to Mumbai to try his luck as a film lyricist, she stayed back with their children. She died of protracted cancer in 17 January 1953. Thereafter Jan Nisar got married again on 17 September 1956, to Khadija Talat. "Tumhare Naam", a collection of letters from 1 October 1943 to 29 December 1953 penned by Safia Akhtar, was first published in 1955 in two volumes under the title, "Harf-e-Aashna" and "Zer-e-Lab", this Hindi translation, was by Professor Asghar Wajahat, former Head of the Hindi Department, Jamia Millia Islamia was released in 2004.
He was the father of lyricist and script-writer Javed Akhtar and psychiatrist and poet Salman Akhtar, Shahid Akhtar, writer and journalist Uneza Akhtar, Albina sharma, grandfather of Farhan Akhtar, Zoya Akhtar, Kabir Akhtar, Shoneize Akhtar, Aiman Akhtar, Ahmed Akhtar, Abir Sharma and Nishat Akhtar, father-in-law of Shabana Azmi, Lata Akhtar and Monisha Nayar and the ex-father-in-law of Honey Irani and Raj Verma, and connected with the rest of Akhtar-Azmi family.
Filmography of Jan Nisar Akhtar
Rustom Sohrab (1963)
Prem Parvat (1974)
Shankar Hussain (1977)
Razia Sultan (1983)
Bahu Begum (1967)
Khak-e-dil, Publisher: Nagara Tabaat, 1973
Hindustan Hamara, Volume 1 and 2. 1965, 1974
Harf-e-ashna: Khatut (Letters)
Ja-Nisar Akhxtar ki Shai'iri: Urdu Hindi me yakja, tr. by Amar Dihlavi. Publisher Star, 1983
Kuliyat-e-Jan Nisar Akhtar. Publisher: Al-Muslim, 1992
Hamara Hindustan (anthology), Rajkamal Publications, 2006
Nigahon Ke Saaye, ed. Vijay Akela, Rajkamal Publications, 2006
He died on 19th August, in the year 1976.
|More Articles in Urdu Poets (33)|