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Iconic Urdu writer and critic Shamsur Rahman Faruqi no more
New Delhi, December 25, 2020
Christmas has turned dark for Urdu literature with the passing away of literary giant Shamsur Rahman Faruqi in Allahabad on Friday morning. The writer and theorist had tested positive for COVID-19 in November and had been discharged from a Delhi hospital after a few days of treatment.
Born on September 30, 1935, the poet, recipient of the Padma Shri honour (2009), was known for his immense contribution to Urdu literature by keeping it "relevant" and finding ways to make it popular. He spent all his life in Allahabad.
Instrumental in discovering several literary talents in Urdu language through his magazine "Shabkhoon" which was started in 1996 and ceased publication in 2006, the late poet's endeavour had always been to focus on "native" literature divorced from imperial influences.
Known for formulating new models of literary appreciation, the poet was awarded the prestigious Saraswati Samman for his work "Sher-e Shor-Angez", a four-volume study of 18th century poetry. His recent works include "The Mirror of Beauty" and "The Sun That Rose from the Earth".
The late writer, along with his nephew Mahmood Farooqui, have played a significant role in reviving the lost art of Dastangoi, a 16th century Urdu oral storytelling form which is said to have died with the demise of Mir Baqar Ali in 1928. The year 2005 saw its revival, with several shows performed in India, Pakistan and the United States.
Speaking to IANS, Raza Haider, Director of Ghalib Institute who had edited a book on Faruqi titled "Shamsur Rahman Faruqi Adeeb-O-Daneeshvar", said that his passing away is an irreparable loss to Urdu literature.
"Not only was he a novelist with more than 40 titles to his name, his contribution to Urdu criticism is immense. We had organised a major function in his honour just before the pandemic hit. His commitment to the Urdu language was unparalleled."
Well-known writer William Dalrymple wrote on Twitter, "RIP Janab Shamsur Rahman Faruqi saheb, one of the last great Padshahs of the Urdu literary world. This is such sad news."