Special Correspondent

He was considered the flag-bearer of modern Urdu poetry

JAIPUR: Renowned Urdu poet Makhmoor Saeedi died here on Tuesday after a prolonged illness. He was 72. His body was buried in his native town, Tonk, on Wednesday.

Recipient of the Sahitya Akademi award for his compilation of poetry, “Rasta Aur Main”, in 2007, Mr. Saeedi lived mostly in Delhi. He was in Jaipur this week to meet his daughter and was shifted to a private hospital here when his condition deteriorated.

The veteran poet – considered the flag-bearer of modern Urdu poetry along with Basheer Badr, Ali Sardar Jafri and Kaifi Azmi of India and Ahmed Faraz of Pakistan – was a consultant with the National Council for Promotion of Urdu Language. Earlier, he worked as acting Secretary of the Urdu Akademi, Delhi.

Mr. Saeedi was a permanent feature at the mushairas and poetic meets in Delhi and other major towns and had a large number of admirers all over the country. He had nearly 20 publications to his credit, which included “Sabrang”, “Awaz Ka Jism”, “Guftani”, “Aate Jate Lamhon Ki Sada”, and “Deewar-o-Dar Ke Darmiyan”.

He was joint editor of “Tehreek”, an Urdu monthly, for 23 years from 1956 to 1979 and he later edited the journals “Nigaar”, “Aiwan-e-Urdu” and “Umang”. He also translated a Hindi novel into Urdu under the title, “Safar Tamaam Hua”.

He received awards from Uttar Pradesh Urdu Akademi five times and also from Urdu Akademis of Rajasthan, Bihar, West Bengal and Delhi. The Rajasthan Diwas Samaroh Samiti conferred the Fakhr-e-Rajasthan title on him in 1988.

Rajasthan Urdu Akademi also published a book, “Bheed Mein Akela” (Forlorn in Crowd), containing articles on the life and works of Makhmoor Saeedi in 2001. It was compiled by Jodhpur-based poet Sheen Kaaf Nizam.

In one of his often-quoted couplets, Mr. Saeedi nostalgically noted the emotional barrier in the society with “Kitni deewarain uthi hain aik ghar ke darmiyan, ghar kahin gum ho gaya deewar-o-dar ke darmiyan” (How many walls have arisen within a house, the home is lost somewhere amidst walls and doors).

Ironically, the celebrated poet had an inkling of his final moments in the stanza from “Bikharte tutate lamhon…”: “Dayar-e-khamoshi se koi rah-rah kar bulata hai hamein, Makhmoor ek din hai isi awaz par jana” (Someone is calling me now and then from the house of death, I have to respond to the call one day).

Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot has condoled the death of Mr. Saeedi, saying his contribution to Urdu literature would always be remembered.