Asrar-ul-Haq Majaz was born in 1911 at Rudauli, Uttar Pradesh. He was the first Urdu poet who looked at women with a different persepective, as a ‘hamsafar‘ ‘companion’ and yearned for an intelligent, enlightened and equal life partner.
He is considered as the ‘darling’ of the Urdu world, the most famous and loved poet of his generation. His nazm, ‘Aawara’ Aye gham-e-dil kya karoon, Aye wahshat-e-dil kya karoon’ is one of the most popular verses of Urdu poetry.
His ghazal ‘Tere maathe pe yeh anchal bohot khoob hai/ Lekin tu isse ek parcham bana leti to achchha thaa’ is anong the landmark progressive voices. Majaz and Jazbi were the original voices of the Progressive Writers’ movement that later brought Faiz Ahmad Faiz, Ali Sardar Jafri and others. Progressive Writer’s Movement turned ‘Poetry’ into an instrument of change.
The post-partition riots and the violence in Mumbai of which Majaz was a witness shattered him. His poetry struck chord with the generation of youths before and after independence.
Majaz’s slim body of work make him one of literature’s unknown geniuses. An Aligarh alumnus, he wrote a song for AMU, later adopted as the ‘Tarana’ of Aligarh Muslim University.
While Majaz’s seniors lived in the afterglow of feudalism, his junior colleagues joined Bollywood. Majaz was comfortable with neither category. Majaz died at the young age of 46.
Year 2011 is being celebrated as the Faiz centenary. Incidentally it is also the birth centenary of Asrar-ul-Haq Majaz. Majaz and Faiz had many similarities.
The Government of India issued a postage stamp on Majaz some years back. The stamp had a portrait of Majaz with a memorable couplet , It reads : Majaz, we have been so emboldened by Ishq, that we are not afraid of the political machinations of this world.