Noted Urdu poet Prof. Akhlaq Muhammad Khan ‘Shaharyar’ has been selected for “Jnanpith Award-2008”, which is the highest literary award in India. This prestigious award is to be presented to him today by Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan, in the recognition of his contribution for Urdu language.
Since the inception of Janpith Award in 1965, only four Urdu writers and poets made it to this highest Literary Award of India for Urdu language, Firaq Gorakhpuri, Qurratul Ain Hyder, Ali Sardar Jafri and now Shaharyar.
He has previously been awarded with “Sahitya Akademy Award” in Urdu for his poetry collection, ‘Khwab Ka Dar Band Hai’.
Akhlaque Mohd. Khan also called by his pet name ‘Kunwar Saheb’ was born on 16th June 1936 in Aonla, district Bareilly. He received his early education in AMU City High School and later joined Aligarh Muslim University.  He completed his Master’s Degree in 1961. He is a student of another legendary progressive movement writer Prof. Khalilur Rahman Azmi. He started his career as a journalist in ‘Anjuman Taraqqi Urdu’. He was later appointed as Lecturer in 1966 in Aligarh Muslim University and promoted as Reader in 1972. In 1986 he became a Professor in Department of Urdu and served until in 1996. He retired as chairman of the Urdu Department of the University. Even after retirement, he was elected to AMU Court in the category of eminent people from Urdu Language.
Shahryar is also famous as a lyricist in Hindi films and has written lyrics in several famous films including “Gaman”, “Umrao Jaan” and “Anjuman”. Although quite well-known and duly acknowledged in poetic, literary and academic circles, Sharharyar shot into prominence after the classic composition for the Hindi feature film Umrao Jan ‘Dil Cheez Kya Hai, Aap Meri Jaan Lijye. Even after becoming popular in Bollywood and having worked with acclaimed Directors like Yash Chopra and Muzaffar Ali, he never left Aligarh and loved his teaching profession. He never preferred the money and fame of Bollywood over his life in AMU. He does not appreciate to be described as the writer of the film songs. His film songs also reflect the depth of thought presented in a simple and lucid language. He has penned songs for other movies that include “Ghaban” and Yash Chopra’s “Faasle” and Muzafar Ali’s movies. He claims to reflect social problems in his poetry.
Shaharyar started writing poetry before joining AMU as a faculty and in 1965 his first collection of poetry “Isme-Azam” was published. In 1969, his second collection, ‘Saatwaan-Dar’ was published which was followed by “Hijr Ke Mausam” in 1978, “Khawaab Ka Dar Band Hai” in 1985, “Neend-Ki Kirchain in 1995 and “Shaam Honey Waali Hai” in 2004. He also compiled “Aasman Ai Aasman”, “Kuliyat of Khalilur Rahman Azmi”, “Mazaameen-e-Khalilur Rahman Azmi” - Vol-I & Vol-II, “Sher-O-Hikmat” Vol-I and “Sher-o-Hikmat” Vol-II.
In February 2010, Sahitya Akademi has published a compilation of more than one hundred English translated poetries of Shaharyar. Two collections of translated versions of Prof. Shahryar’s poetries have already been published by Sahitya Akademi (1990) and Rupa Company (2004).
Shaharyar’s most celebrated work, ‘Khwaab Ka Dar Band Hai’, won him the ‘Sahitya Akademi Award’ in Urdu for the year 1987.
In 1998, he was awarded “All India Bahadur Shah Zafar Award’ instituted by Delhi Urdu Academy.
In 1999 he was chosen for ‘Ghalib Award’ by Ghalib Institute New Delhi.
In 2005, he received, ‘National Iqbal Samman’ instituted by the Culture Department of Madhya Pradesh government.
In November 2009 he was selected for the 18th ‘Gangadhar National Award’ for poetry for 2008 conferred by Sambalpur University, Orissa on its 43rd foundation day. The only other Urdu poets, who have won this prestigious award are Sardar Ali Jafri in 1991 and Gulzar in 2005.
He has also received ‘Firaq Samman’, ‘Delhi Urdu Academy Award’ and ‘UP Urdu Academy Award’.
In June 2010 University of Hyderabad has decided to confer D. Sc. Degree (Honoris Causa) on Prof. Shaharyar at the 12th Annual Convocation of the University which was held on June 22, 2010.

Shahryar has been awarded the 'Noor-e-Watan' award for his outstanding contribution to poetry and literature by the Aligarh Muslim University Alumni Association (UK).


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