Remembering Jan Nisar Akhtar of Gwalior, legendary Indian poet of Urdu ghazals and nazms, and a part of the Progressive Writers’ Movement, who was also a lyricist for Bollywood. Born in Gwalior on 18 February 1914, Jan Nisar passed his matriculation from Victoria College High School, and in 1930 joined Aligarh Muslim University, from where he gained his B.A. Honours and M.A. degrees. He started his doctoral work, but had to return to Gwalior due to family conditions.

His career spanned four decades during which he worked with music composers including C. Ramchandra, O.P. Nayyar, N Dutta and Khayyam and wrote 151 songs. Notable among them were songs from his breakthrough film, AR Kardar’s Yasmin (1955), Aankhon hi Aankhon Mein in Guru Dutt’s #CID (1956), Yeh dil aur unki nigahon ke saaye in Prem Parbat (1974) and Aaja re in Noorie (1979) and his last song, Ae Dil-e-naadaan, in Kamal Amrohi’s Razia Sultan (1983).

One of his many famous couplets is :
Ashaar mere yuu.N to zamaane ke liye hai.n,
kuchh sher faqat unako sunaane ke liye hai.n
Although my poems are meant for the whole world,
There are some couplets meant just for the beloved


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