Eminent Urdu poet and critic Mazhar Imam was laid to rest here on January 31. Ailing for some time, he died of a heart attack on Monday. He was 83. He is survived by his wife, a daughter and a son.

A modernist poet widely respected for qualities of ambiguity and symbolism, Imam was arguably the first Urdu poet to bring the landscape of Kashmir into the realm of poetry. He is credited with enriching Urdu poetry by adding a new genre of azad ghazal.

Author of 13 books, he will be remembered for four volumes of poetry, including Zakhm-e-Tamanna, Rishta Goonge Safar Ka, Pichle Mausam Ka Phool and Band Hota Hua Bazaar. Imam inspired an entire generation of Urdu poets and was respected for his critiques of contemporary Urdu writers. His works left an indelible mark on the Urdu literature of the eras of the Progressive Movement, Modernism and post Modernism.

Son of a postmaster, he was born in Darbhanga district of Bihar but found his true calling in Kashmir, and later in Delhi. Imam had started his career as a journalist with the Calcutta daily Caravan. He later served as a director of Doordarshan in Kashmir. He was conferred the Sahitya Akademi award for Pichle Mausam Ka Phool” in 1994, joining an elite list of the likes of Nida Fazli, Makhmoor Saeedi, Bashir Badar, Sheen Kaaf Nizam and Jayant Parmer.

A regular on the literary circuit, Imam experienced a prolonged period of struggle early in his career. This was to influence his writing in the later part of his life.

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