biography of urdu poet majaz lucknavi

Asrar-ul-Haque Majaz was born on 19th, October 1911, in Qasba Rudauli, in Barabanki District. He hails from a family of reputed zamindars and learned persons. His grandfather ‘Chaudhry Ahmad Hasan’ lived in Khwaja Hall of Rudauli town. He was a man of liberal views and arranged modern and higher education to his children. Majaz’s father ‘Seraj-ul-Haque’ was a Law graduate and contrary to the prevailing traditions in zamindar families, he preferred to join service. He first served in Education department, then in Excise department. For some time he also did legal practice in Barabanki. Finally he joined in Registration department where he was promoted to the post of Asstt.Registrar in Lucknow. Majaz’s sister ‘Safia’ was married to ‘Jaan Nisar Akhtar’, father of ‘Javed Akhtar’ and ‘Dr. Salman Akhtar’.

Early Life

Majz’s father Seraj-ul-Haque after marriage has started living in a house named ‘Nabi-Khana’ in the same locality of Rudauli. Majaz was born in the same house. Many children were born to Siraj-ul-Haque but only five ‘Arifa’, ‘Safia’, ‘Hameeda’, ‘Ansar’ and ‘Asrar’(Majaz) survived. The family had lost two boys before the birth of Asrar and so utmost care was done in his upbringing and he received extraordinary affection from the whole family specially his mother. For initial education he and his younger brother Ansar were admitted to ‘Makhdumia School’ in Rudauli but their education suffered because of the frequent movement to Lucknow to meet their father. At that time Siraj-ul-Haque was living in Golaganj. He then called his family to Lucknow and started living in Kachcha Ahata. Asrar and Ansar were admitted to ‘Aminabad High School’.


Majaz was not only brilliant in studies but he was actively involved in sports activities. He passed his matriculation exam with distinction. At the same time his father was transferred to Agra and the family shifted there. Majaz was admitted to ‘St. John’s College’ in 1929. They were living in a house in ‘Heeng Ki Mandi’ which was adjacent to the house in which ‘Fani Badayuni’ was living. Agra became the turning point for Majaz. He got the company of Fani Badayuni as next door neighbor, ‘Jazbi’ and ‘Al-e-Ahmad Suroor’ as college mates. Other poets like ‘Maikash Akbarabadi’ and ‘Hamid Hasan Qadri’ also came in contact. The favorable environment led his interest more towards poetry rather than Physics and Mathematics. At that time he was writing poetry with his pen name of ‘Shadeed’.

While he had completed the first year his father was transferred to Aligarh and the family shifted to Aligarh leaving Asrar in a boarding, to complete his second year. Finding free from all restrictions he got fully involved in shayari and started attending mushairas and other poetic activities along with Fani Badayuni, Al-e-Ahmad Suroor and Jazbi. In a college mushaira he was awarded Gold Medal for his ghazal. His activities hampered his studies and he could complete Intermediate with great difficulties. He was then called to Aligarh to live with his family in 1931. He took admission in Aligarh Muslim University in B.A. with Philosophy, Economics and Urdu subjects and completed his degree in 1935. After graduation he joined M.A. but was not serious in academic studies and did not complete his Master’s Degree.

During Majaz”s stay in Aligarh (1931 to 1935) a number of great progressive writers and poets like, ‘Akhtar Husain Raipuri’, ‘Jan Nisar Akhtar’, ‘Sibt-e-Hasan’, ‘Hayat-ul-lah Ansari’, ‘Sa’adat Husain Manto’, ‘Jazbi’, ‘Al-e-Ahmad Suroor’, ‘Ali Sardar Jafri’ etc. were present but Majaz’s popularity overshadowed all his contemporaries. He was most popular amongst the students and professors of the university. His romantic poetry made him the beloved poet of young generation specially the girls. Ismat Chughtai once stated that there was a time when the girls in Aligarh Muslim Girls College threw lots with Majaz's name on their chits. His poems were under their pillows and they used to present his collection of poetry as gifts among them. They often swore that if nothing worked out they would name their sons 'Majaz'.

His Tarana composition “Ye Mera Chaman, Hai Mera Chaman” became the ‘Tarana’ of Aligarh Muslim University.


While, Majaz was doing his M.A. he was selected for the post of Sub Editor in the magazine of newly formed All India Radio Delhi in 1935. The magazine was named ‘Awaz’ on Majaz’s suggestion. When Pitras Bukhari joined All India Radio as Director, Majaz was neglected and differences brewed between them and he finally resigned.

During his stay in Delhi for about a year and a half he was favorite poet of high society families. During this period he fell in love with a girl of a powerful family who was already married to someone else. Majaz was serious but this love was one sided. The affair ended and Majaz was left with broken heart. He became a compulsive drinker. In 1937 he left Delhi and moved to Lucknow, where his father was now living in New Hyderabad.

Many of Majaz’s old friends had also come to Lucknow and he got the company of ‘Sayed Sibt-e-Hasan’, ‘Sajjad Zahir’, ‘Jazbi’, ‘Hayatullah Ansari’, ‘Dr. Abdul Aleem’. ‘Ali Sardar Jafri, also came and joined Lucknow University for his M.A. They published a weekly magazine ‘Parcham’ which was later stopped. In March 1937 Majaz along with Sibt-e-Hasan and Sardar Jafri started publishing ‘Naya Adab’. The trio worked hard but there were not much buyers for the magazine. Majaz remained empty handed.

Failed love life, feeling of humiliation, heavy drinking and poor financial conditions led to his nervous breakdown. After treatment and stay for some time at Almora he became normal. In 1942 he once again got a service in Delhi as assistant Librarian in Harding Library. Still active in Progressive Writers Association he also went to Bombay to attend its conference. In the meantime his family started looking for his marriage and found a girl of reputed family but the girl’s father turned down the proposal. Majaz who had been the sweet heart of the girls in the past and lots were drawn by the girls against his name had to face the humiliation. He was most popular at mushairas and was still admired in the high society families and people were mad on his poetry. The simple emotional Majaz could not bear this and he again suffered nervous breakdown. He was brought to Rudauli by Chaudhry Mohd. Ali and became normal in about a month and came back to Lucknow. After a brief stay at Lucknow he went to Bombay and stayed with ‘Razia’ and ‘Sajjad Zahir’. For some time, he worked with the Bombay Information Bureau. While in Bombay the dream of country’s independence became true in 1947. He danced on streets throughout the night. Independence also brought with it, the horrors of partition which hurt Majaz deeply and he came back to Lucknow. This time he has no means of earning except the remunerations received from mushairas which was hardly sufficient for even his liquor. Residence of ‘Al-e-Ahmad Suroor’ was the gathering point of Majaz and other progressive writers which included ‘Dr. Rashid Jahan’, ‘Dr. Abdul Alim’, ‘Ehtesham Husain’, ‘Al-e-Ahmad Suroor’, ‘Mumtaz Husain’, ‘Shaukat Siddiqi’, ‘Moh. Hasan’, ‘Kamal Ahmad Siddiqi’, Salam Machhli-Shahri’ and sometimes ‘Anand Narain Mulla’, ‘Seraj Lucknavi’ and ‘Nurul Hasan Hashmi’ also joined.

Majaz suffered another attack of nervous breakdown in 1952. However he went to Calcutta to attend Peace Conference where his condition deteriorated. He was brought to Ranchi mental hospital for treatment by his brother ‘Ansar Hirwani’, ‘Yusuf Imam’ and ‘Suhail Azimabadi’. Here famous rebel poet of Bengal ‘Qazi Nazrul Islam’ was also undergoing treatment. After six months of treatment Majaz came back to Lucknow. He had to face another shock when his sister ‘Safia Akhtar’ (wife of Jan Nisar Akhtar) died. He used to pass time playing with her children ‘Jadoo’ (Javed Akhtar) and ‘Salman’. In the evenings Coffee House of Hazratganj was sitting point with friends where Professors of Lucknow University and young talented students and writers joined him. But after the coffee house some of his fans used to offer him drinks in nights and he used to reach his residence in drunken condition, sometimes avoiding to go home. Cheap wine became poison for him.


In 1955, Students Urdu Conventions was organized in Lucknow from 3rd December in which a number of poets and writers were participating. ‘Sardar Jafri’, ‘Sahir Ludhianvi’, ‘Neaz Haider’ ‘Dr. Abdul Alim’, ‘Baqar Mehdi’, ‘Ismat Chughtai’, ‘Dr. Mohd Hasan’ and many others have come to Lucknow to attend the conference. The Governor K.M. Munshi inaugurated the conference. Majaz was very happy with the event as he had been in company of many of his friends of youth. In the evening he recited his poems in mushaira and was applauded by the huge gathering. On Sahir Ludhianvi’s insistence Majaz stayed with him in the night in his hotel room. On 4th December he participated in the Delegate session in Ganga Prasad Memorial Hall, Aminabad. In the evening his friend Jalal Malihabadi and another person took him from Aminabad and went to a hotel in Lalbagh. After drinking till late night they left him all alone on the hotel rooftop. Majaz was wearing only a kurta and a waistcoat in the chilly night and he remained alone in the bitter cold in an unconscious state. In the next morning of 5th December an employee of the hotel found him and he was admitted to Balrampur Hospital. As the news spread the ongoing convention was adjourned and everybody rushed to hospital but nothing could be done. Majaz breathed his last at about 10 P.M. He was buried at Nishatganj graveyard on 6th December. The whole nation and especially the people of Lucknow mourned the death of their dear and beloved poet. He was just 44 years old.

He lived a short life but captured the word of Urdu poetry. Majaz was a fragile soul, one who could be easily hurt. Being the nice guy he was, Majaz kept quiet even when friends misbehaved with him. Majaz had a great sense of humour.

Postage stamp was released by Indian Postal Department on 28th March 2008.


Basically, Majaz was an extremely sensitive and romantic poet. From the beginning he had a tremendous attraction for love and beauty. Though Majaz’s poetry flowered under the guidance of Faani’ but he had a particular soft corner for the romantic poet, ‘Akhtar Shirani’.

Despite Love being his central theme, Majaz expressed his anger against social injustice. The woman in Majaz’s poetry was more than an object of beauty. He wished to see them as crusaders who could revolt against exploitation and injustice. He had the courage to challenge injustice and his words had the power to move the masses. Another aspect of his poetry was the natural flow and the melody in all his Ghazals and Nazms. Senior Urdu poet and critic ‘Asar Lucknawi’ observed, “A Keats was born in Urdu poetry too, but he was devoured by the conservative wolves.”

Majaz’s writings always had a progressive strain. But the progressive thought is expressed in an extremely sensitive, artistic manner in his work. In the preface to Majaz’s ‘Aahang”, the famous progressive poet ‘Faiz Ahmed Faiz’ wrote “Majaz never beat the drums of revolution, he hummed revolutions”.

His major work are





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