Josh Malihabadi was born as Shabbir Hasan Khan in 1894 in Malihabad, near Lucknow. He belonged to a jaagirdar family and his forefathers were reputated and learned people. His great grandfather Faqir Mohammad Khan ‘Goya’ was a poet of Persian and an officer in the army of King  Ghaziuddin Haider. His grandfather Mohammad Ahmad Khan Ahmad and his father Bashir Ahmad Khan ‘Bashir’ were also poets. He got his early education at home. He learnt Persian from Neaz Ali Khan, Urdu from Maulana Taahir, Arabic from Maulvi Qudratullah Beg and English from Master Gomti Prasad. He started education at Sitapur, Lucknow and Aligarh. He finally did his Senior Cambridge from Agra. He passed some time at Shantiniketan, but had to return home after the death of his father.
In 1925, Josh began to work at Osmania University, in the then princely state of Hyderabad. But due to his revolutionary writings, especially after writing a nazm against the Nizam of Hyderabad, the then ruler of the state, he had to leave the state.
For some time, Josh was affiliated with Bollywood too. He wrote many songs and dialogues for films from 1943 to 1948. His suggestive song 'More Jobna Ka Dekho Ubhar' sung by Zohrabai Ambalewali for the film 'Man Ki Jeet' invited severe critcism and he left films altogether to save his reputation.

Josh was a journalist too as he served as the editor of various publications. He founded the magazine, “Kaleem” in which he openly wrote articles in favor of independence from the British rule in India. His reputation spread, and he became famous as Shayar-e-Inquilaab .He became more actively involved in the freedom struggle and came close to some of the political leaders of that era, especially Jawaharlal Nehru.
After independence, Josh migrated to Pakistan in 1958 despite Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru’s insistence against it. His concern regarding the future of the Urdu language in India, lead to it, because he apprehended that the Hindu majority may encourage the use of Hindi rather than Urdu. He settled in Karachi and worked for Anjuman-e-Tarraqi-e-Urdu with Maulwi Abdul Haque.
He died on February 22, 1982 in Islamabad.
Josh was generally known either as a poet of revolution or romance but in fact, he was a multidimensional poet. Josh founded the genre of resistance poetry in Urdu. His poetry is stretched over  decades and many scholars and critics believe that he was one of the three best poets of Urdu language in the 20th century, the other two being Iqbal and Faiz.
He was honored with the “Padma Bhushan” in 1954
The collection of his poetry include—
“Shola-O-Shabnam”, “Junoon-O-Hikmat”, “Fikr-O-Nishaat”, “Sunbal-O-Salaasal”, “Harf-O-Hikaayat”, “Sarod-O-Kharosh”, “Irfaniyat-E-Josh”, “Aawaaz-E-Haque”, ‘Rooh-E-Adab”, “Shayar Ki Raaten”, “Josh Ke Sau Sher”, “Naqsh-O-Nigar”, “Shola-O-Shabnam”, “Paighambr-E-Islam”, “Junoon-Wa-Hikmat”,” Hussain Aur Inquilab”, “Aayat Wa Naghmaat”, “Saif-O-Suboo”, “Sumoom-O-Saba”, “Tuloo-E-Fikr”, “Moojid-Wa- Mufakkir”, “Qatra-E-Qulzum”, “Nawadir-E-Josh”, “Ilhaam-O-Afkaar”, “Nujoom-O-Jawahir”, “Josh Ke Marsiey”, “Uroos-E-Adab”, “Irfaaniaat-E-Josh”, “Mehraab-O-Mezraab”, “Deewaan-E-Josh”.
His prose work—
“Auraaq-E-Zarreen”, “Maqalaat-E-Josh”, “Makaalmat-E-Josh”, “Jazbaat Fitrat”, “Ishaaraat”,” Yadon Ki Baaraat” (Autobiography).


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