Khwaja Haidar Ali ‘Aatish’ is one of the greatest urdu poets of Lucknow school. The ancestors of Haider Ali Aatish belonged to Baghdad who had migrated to Delhi. His father ‘Khwaja Ali Bakhsh’ during the regime of Nawab Shuja-ud-Daula, shifted to Faizabad, the then capital of Awadh. Ali Bakhsh was a soofi saint. Khwaja Haider Ali was born in 1778 in Mughal Pura, Faizabad. His father died in his childhood. He did not get the opportunity of good education due to the death of his father and for some time his interest in other activities in the company of other youngsters. But he had a deep, instinctive taste for poetry, so Nawab Mohammed Taqi Khan ‘Taraqqi’, encouraged him in his poetry. He initially composed his poetry with the pen name of ‘Maulaai’.

At the age of about 29 years Khwaja Haider Ali ‘Maulaai’ shifted to Lucknow around the year 1806. At Lucknow he became the pupil of ‘Mushafi’, an important poet of Lucknow. At lucknow he preferred the company of ‘Mushafi’ and adopted his new pen name of ‘Aatish’. In Faizabad he was writing poetry in urdu and Persian both but in Lucknow he concentrated on Urdu Ghazal only and tried to complete his education. During this period Lucknow was the place of many great urdu poets like, ‘Mir Taqi Mir’, ‘Nasikh’, ‘Insha’, ‘Qateel’ etc. On the strength of his poetic abilities and performance, Aatish soon established his reputation in literary circles, and came to be regarded a top-ranking poet of Lucknow. People found him a worthy rival of poet “Nasikh” who was an established poet of Lucknow at that time.

Aatish was a contented, self- respecting man who led a simple and stringent life, and never compromised nobility to gain personal favours. This independence of spirit and ascetic- like unconcern with worldly comforts is also reflected in his poetry. Although Aatish belongs to the Lucknow school, his poetry is generally free from the faults of affectation, sensuality, and linguistic jugglery. He is generally bracketed with Nasikh for purposes of poetic comparison. Both of them were good friends and poetic rivals, both of them were representatives of the Lucknow school, and both of them were acknowledged masters in their field. Again, both of them respected each other, so much so, that after the death of Nasikh, Aatish stopped writing poetry. Some critics rank him next to Mir and Ghalib. His ghazals are built round the traditional themes of love and mysticism, and his sentiment is noble and refined. He writes familiar, speech-like language, and his words are carefully chosen and artistically arranged. He also makes an apt use of the contemporary idiom, so that some of his lines have become popular quotations.

He died on 12th January 1846 in Lucknow and was buried in his own house at Chadhai Madho Lal.

His collection of work is “Diwan-e-Aatish”


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  1. Somewhere the death year of "khwaja haider Ali" is 1846 but in wikepedia search it is 1848...Tell me which one is correct death year?

  2. the correct death is 1488