biography of urdu poet iftikhar-arif

Iftikhar Husain Arif was born on 23 March 1943 in Lucknow. He recieved his early education from Madarsa-e-Nizamia Firangi Mahal, Shia School and then from Govt. Jubilee College. He did his M.A. from Lucknow University. During his stay in Lucknow he used to attend marsiya majlises. He started shayari getting inspiration from these majlises. In 1965 he moved to Pakistan and settled in Karachi. In Pakistan he got associated with Radio Pakistan and worked as newscaster. He was appointed as script editor in Karachi center of Pakistan television.  He shot to fame for his performance in the program ‘Kasauti’ on PTV, a quiz show of 70’s. In 1988 he resigned from PTV and moved to England where he worked for B.C.C.I. (Bank of Credit and Commerce International). He formed ‘Urdu Markaz’ in London and is Honorary Secretory of the ‘Markaz’. He was also associated with programs on BBC radio and TV. Coming back to Pakistan, he worked first as head of the National Language Authority (‘Muqtadara Qaumi Zaban’), and then as chairman of the Pakistan Academy of Letters (PAL) and presently he is working again as a chairman of National Language authority (‘Muqtadara Qaumi Zaban’).

His first collection of poetry ‘Mehr-e-Doneem’ was published from Karachi and then from London and Delhi. Five editions of this collection have been published till now. The book was awarded the best book award by the Pakistan writer’s Guild in 1984. The book also received ‘Faiz Ahmad Faiz Award’ by International Urdu Conference at Delhi in 1988.
Arif's poetry has been translated into a number of languages, including English, Russian, German, Persian and Hindi.

In 1988, EMI released an LP of his poetry titled “Chup Durya” sung by various singers of Pakistan.


“Hilal-e-Imtiaz” (2005), “Sitara-e-Imtiaz”(1999), “Pride of Performance” (literature 1990),
“Baba-e-Urdu Maulvi Abdul Haq Award”, (poetry, 1995), “Naqoosh Award” (1994), “Faiz
International Award for Poetry” by Aalami Urdu Conference and a number of other
prestigious national and international literary awards.

Books & Publications

‘Mehr-e-Doneem’ (1983)

‘Harf-e-Baryab’ (1994)


‘Shehr-e-Ilm Ke Darwaze Par' (2006)

‘Kitab-e-Dil-o-Dunya’ (2009)

‘Modern Poetry of Pakistan’ (2011, editor)

Written in the Season of Fear (English translation)

The Twelfth Man (translation of Barahwan Khilari by Brenda Walker, 1989)