Muhammad Husain Azad
|Born||5 May 1830|
|Died||22 January 1910|
Muhammad Husain Azad (Urdu: مُحمّد حُسَین آزاد — Mọḥammad Ḥusẹ̅n Āzād; 5 May 1830 – 22 January 1910) was a scholar and an Urdu writer who wrote both prose and poetry, but he is mostly remembered for his prose. His best known work is Aab-e-Hayat ("Elixir of Life").
Early life and family
Muhammad Hussain was born in Delhi to a Persian immigrant family. His mother died when he was four years old. His father, Moulvi Muhammad Baqir was educated at the Delhi College. In early 1837, Azad's father bought a printing press and launched the Delhi Urdu Akhbaar (Delhi Urdu Newspaper). In 1854, Muhammad Hussain graduated from college and began to help his father with his newspaper and publishing work.
Azad married Aghai Begum, the daughter of another Persian immigrant family. Then his world came apart during next few years due to his father-owned newspaper's support of the rebels against the British empire and restoration of Mughal emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar in Delhi temporarily in the aftermath of Indian Rebellion of 1857. After the British retook Delhi some months later and executed his father Maulvi Muhammad Baqir, his whole joint family including old women and young children were expelled from their house by force by the British authorities. A period of turmoil followed in Delhi, Azad then decided to migrate to Lahore in 1861.
Azad started teaching at the newly-founded Government College, Lahore in 1864, and later at Oriental College, Lahore. In Lahore, he came in contact with G. W. Leitner, who was the principal and founder of Anjuman-e-Punjab. In 1866, Azad became a regularly paid lecturer on behalf of the Anjuman and a year later became its secretary. In 1887, he established the Azad Library which helped him earn the title of Shams-ul-ulama (Sun among the Learned).
Along with Altaf Hussain Hali, Azad led a movement for 'natural poetry', a movement to reform classical Urdu poetry. He declared the aim of poetry to be ... “as we express it, it should arouse in the listeners’ heart the same effect, the same emotion, the same fervor, as would be created by seeing the thing itself, rejecting the aesthetics of classical Urdu poetry, which, according to him, was artificial and involved in a 'game of words' that did not produce genuine emotion. Sir Syed Ahmad Khan encouraged and supported both Hali and Azad in their effort to create a simple and realistic-looking creed of Urdu literature.
- Qisas ul-hind ("Stories of India") - 1869
- Nairang-e Khiyāl ("The Wonder-World of Thought") - 1880
- Aab-e-Hayat ("Water of Life/Elixir") - 1880 (this book describes the history of Urdu poetry)
- Sair-i Iran - 1886
- Sukhandān-e fārs ("On Iranian Poets") - completed in 1887 and published in 1907
- Darbār-e akbarī ("The Court of Akbar") - 1898
Muhammad Hussain Azad died in Lahore on 22 January 1910 at age 79.
- Frances W. Pritchett, Columbia University. "Everybody Knows This Much....(profile of Muhammad Husain Azad)". University of Chicago website. Retrieved 26 September 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
- Profile of Muhammad Husain Azad on Urdu Adab website Published 11 July 2009, Retrieved 25 September 2020
- Dubrow, Jennifer (October 2018). "Chapter 1 : Printing the Cosmopolis". Cosmopolitan Dreams: The Making of Modern Urdu Literary Culture in Colonial South Asia. University of Hawaii Press. p. 23. ISBN 978-0-8248-7270-0 – via De Gruyter. (subscription required)
- "ĀZĀD, MOḤAMMAD-ḤOSAYN – Encyclopaedia Iranica". www.iranicaonline.org. Retrieved 10 February 2020.