Muhammad Shaukat Ali Khan commonly known as ‘Fani Badayuni’ was born in Islamnagar, Badayun, (UP), India, in 1879. Badayun was then in the United Provinces under the colonial British India. He got his early education from a local madarsa. He studied Farsi and Arabic for about 13 years. He graduated from Bareilly College in 1901, studied law at Aligarh Muslim University and completed his LLB. Degree in 1906. He started legal practice in various U.P. towns like Lucknow, Bareilly, Agra and Badayun.  But he had no liking for the profession and ultimately abandoned it.

He began his poetic career at a very young age but this was not liked by the orthodox family to which he belonged. In fact, his father is said to have thrown his "Bayaaz" (personal notings of poetry) into the fire, in a fit of rage. This disheartened the young Faani and he abandoned poetry completely for about a decade. He had completed his Divan at the age of 20. His first Divan was published in 1917 from Badayun. His second collection of poetry was completed in 1906, but it was lost. The following decade was a period of great difficulties for Fani. His personal property, which was considerable, was lost in litigation, and soon he found himself in dire straits. He did not write much poetry in that period. His second Divan was published in 1926 as Baaqiyaat-e Fani.

He migrated to Hyderabad (Deccan) in 1932. He was initially offered to join as a "munsif" (Judge), since he was a Law Graduate. But Fani did not accept it since he had to move away from the city. He later accepted the post of a school head master in Hyderabad. In the day fani would go to school and in night would attend ‘Moazzam Jah's’ court till early hours. This night outs did not give him enough time to continue at school as head master. Around the same time, Josh Malihabadi had also come to Hyderabad but his temperament was much better suited for the court politics and, in his own words, he spent the happiest decade of his life in Hyderabad.  Faani was not so fortunate.  He was a loner by nature and his self-respect did not allow him to curry favour with the powerful ruling elite.

He died in 1941 in Hyderabad.

There are two principal elements in Faani's poetry, one dealing with Sorrow in all its aspects, is the dominant one and the other pertaining to Ishq which, in his case, is a mystical concept.  After Meer, there has been no Urdu poet who has dwelt so much on Sorrow as Faani. Fani falls in the category of what is known in Urdu as ‘Sahib-e-Gham’ because he was a poet of pathos. He uses a simple language even while discussing a most complex reality.

Work and contribution

First collection of poems (1917) published from Badaun by Naqib Press.

Baqiyat-e-Fani (1926) published by Maktab-e-Agra

Irfaniyat-e-Fani (1938) published by Anjuman Taraqqi Urdu

Fani Ki Nadir Tahriren: Havashi, Tasrihat Aur Tanqidi Ja'ize Ke Sath by Shaukat Ali Khan Fani Badayuni (1968)

Intikhab-e-Fani (Silsilah-e-Matbu’at) by Shaukat Ali Khan Fani Badayuni

Irfaniyat-E-Fani: Ya'ni Janab Shaukat Ali Khan Sahib Fani Badayuni Ke Qadim-O-Jadid Kalam Ka Mukammal Majmu'ah (Silsila-E-Anjuman-E-Taraqqi Urdu) By Shaukat Ali Khan Fani Badayuni (1939)

Kulliyat-e- Fani (Silsila-e-matbu'at) by Shaukat Ali Khan Fani Badayuni (1992)


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