However, his elders were surprised to see his love for poetry as there was no tradition of poetry in the family. Shaharyar burst on the poetic scene when the modernist movement was taking shape in Urdu poetry.
While many of his generation spent themselves early and faded from the scene, Shaharyar remains as prolific as he was three decades ago. He is loved by masses as well as classes.
His ghazals like 'dil cheez kya hai aap meri jaan lijiye' and other verses that were used as lyrics in Bollywood movies including Umrao Jaan and Gaman further added to his popularity. As a result his ghazal spread across non-Hindustani speaking regions.
Kunwar Akhlaq Khan 'Shaharyar' was born in Aonla [Anwla] town in Uttar Pradesh's Bareilly district. He published a monthly magazine, Ghalib, in 1959. He did his Post-Graduation from Aligarh and later joined the unversity from where he retired in 1996. He has won many prestigious awards including the Sahitya Akademi and the recently announced Jnanpith Award.
Here is a selection of his couplets:
ummiid se kam chashm-i-khariidaar meN aaye
ham log zaraa der se baazaar meN aaye
sabhii ko gham hai samandar ke khushk hone kaa
ki khel khatm huaa kashtiyaaN Dubone kaa
na jiskii shakl hai koii na jiskaa naam hai koii
ek aisii shakl kaa kyuuN hameN azl se intezaar hai
phir kahiiN Khwaab-o-haqiiqat kaa tasaadum hogaa
phir koii manzil-e-benaam bulaati hai hameN
zindagii jaisii tavaqqo thii, nahiiN, kuchh kam hai
har ghaRii hotaa hai ehsaas kahiiN kuchh kam hai
log sar phoR kar bhii dekh chuke
gham kii diivaar TuuTtii hii nahiiN
is natiije pe pohaNchte haiN sabhii aaKhir meN
haasil-e-sair-e-jahaaN kuchh nahiiN hairaani hai
markaz-e-diida-o-dil teraa tasavvur thaa kabhii
aaj is baat pe kitni haNsii aati hai hameN
voh dekh lo, voh samandar khushk hone lagaa
jise thaa daava merii pyaas bujhaane kaa
zamiiN terii kashish khiiNchti rahii hamko
gaye zaruur the kuchh duur mahtaab ke saath
For reading these couplets in Urdu script and Hindi. Click here.
For reading Shaharyar's other Ghazals and Nazms in Urdu, Roman English and Hindi scripts at my other blog, Best Ghazals, on the link here.
UPDATE: Shaharyar passed away on February 13, 2012. He was suffering from lung cancer and died after brief illness at his residence in Aligarh. The news of his death has saddened poetry lovers, the literary community and those who loved the poet. Shaharyar was 76. Owing to popularity of his lyrics for movies like Umrao Jan and Gaman, his fame had spread outside literary world also.
*Shaharyar means king or one who has suzerainty.
[This is part of the series on renowed Urdu poets. Earlier posts on other poets can be seen in the archives]