Urdu poet Hanif Akhgar Malihabadi is no more

By Afzal Usmani,

“Jo hai Taazgi meri zaat mein, wahi zikr-o-fikr chaman mein hai

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Ke wajood mera kaheen bhi ho, meri rooh mere watan mein hai “

(Hanif Akhgar Malihabadi)

The last symbol of Jigar Muradabadi school of urdu ghazal and flag bearer of Urdu Ghazal in North America, Hanif Akhgar Malihabadi is no more with us. He died, today, on 31st May, 2009 at his residence in Dallas Texas USA. His sad demise has created a vacuum in the entire Urdu world. He was a classical poet of ghazal and his ghazals were extension of Jigara Muradabadi and Asghar Gondvi.

Syed Muhammad Hanif Akhgar Malihabadi was born on 3rd September, 1928 in the family of Qazi Syed Muhammad Shareef ‘Asar Kasmandvi’ and Mohtarma Raziun-Nisa Begum in the town of Malihabad, close to Lucknow in undivided India. He completed his primary education in Malihabad and finished his “Munshi-Fazil” from Sulaimania College in Bhopal. He was very close to his mother who died in December 1949. On 29th December, 1950, the remaining family migrated to Karachi, Pakistan. Hanif Akhgar completed his Masters in Business Administration (MBA) from Institute of Business Administration, University of Karachi. He also completed his Diploma in Industrial Financing from London School of Economics and Political Science, University of London. He joined United Nations (UN) as International Civil Servant (I.C.S.) in 1971 and served in different parts of world and retired on 2nd May 1989 as Division Chief of United Nations Capital Development Fund Division for Asia Pacific, Latin America and Arab States and settled down in New York with his family. He was also a permanent representative of World Assembly of small and medium Enterprises (WASME) in United Nations at New York.

Syed Muhammad Hanif became Syed Muhammad Hanif “Akhgar” at a very young age when he won the 1st prize in a `Tarahi-Mushaira` at Amir-ud-Daulah Islamia College in 1945. Urdu poetry was his passion and his first collection of Ghazal “Chiragaa(n) “ was published in 1989. In 1997, his second collection “Khayaabaa(n)” was published. His last book came as collection of “Naat”, as Khalq-e-Mujassam in 2003. He also completed his Autobiography, Aetraaf-wa-Inkashaf. He attended Almi Urdu Conference at New Delhi and received Khawaja Meer Dard Award. In 1975, when Aligarh Alumni Association of Washington DC started organizing Mushaira in Washington DC area, Hanif Akhgar was among them and since then he was a regular participant of the annual Mushaira of Aligarh Alumni Association of Washington DC. On several occasions he chaired “Qaid-e-Azam” Mushaira of Karachi, Pakistan and other major mushaira in and outside of North America. Aligarh Alumni Associations of Arizona, Northern California, Houston, and San Antonio invited him for their annual Mushaira on several occasions. He also started “ Halqa-e-Adab” in New York area and organized several literary events and Mushaira.

Due to some health issues, Hanif Akhgar moved to Dallas Texas in 2007 and since then he was living Dallas Texas till his last breath. He left behind, his wife, seven daughters and 4 son and number of grandson and grand daughters. His sad demised will be felt for a long time among the Urdu lovers in the continent of America and all across the Urdu speaking world.

Janaza prayers will be held after Zohar prayer at Richardson Mosque (840 Abrams Dr., Richardson Texas).

Here are some of his famous Ghazal’s in his own voice (Video)

Sir Syed Day Mushaira 2004 in CA – Hanif Akhgar-Azme Safar

Sir Syed Day Mushaira 2005 in Houston Texas – Hanif Akhgar