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Thursday, May 30, 2013

Men of Letters Series Syed Zamir Jafri (1916-1999) 2013-11



Men of Letters Series Syed Zamir Jafri (1916 – 1999) Commemorative Postage Stamp May 29, 2013:- Syed Zamir Jafri (1st January 1916-12 May 1999) was born in Chak Abdul Khaliq near Dina, district Jhelum. He was a legendary poet with unique poetic diction and fresh ideas. A scholar and trendsetter in humorous poetry in tandem with serious poetry. He was a true patriot who effectively made his pen a source of preaching the message of peace and love for mankind. His writing are a valuable asset of Urdu literature. He has on his credit over 70 published books of poetry and prose, which represent a varied range of creative works.
Syed Zamir Jafri was a renowned humorist, columnist, broadcaster and telecaster wrote in Urdu, Punjabi and English. In addition to original works, he also translated into Urdu verse “Malay Folk Lore” (Pantuns) of Malaysia, along with a few poems from Nazar-ul-Islam (Bangali) and translations from the monumental Punjabi classic, the “Saif-ul-Malook”. As a humorist, he had his stamp of his own, making him the most sought after poet in poet recitals (Mushiara) within the country and abroad. As a Co-Editor, he was responsible for production of the “Urdu Punch” the most sophisticated and esteemed journal of Urdu humour. After graduating from Islamia College Lahore, he started his career as a journalist in Lahore but soon after joined the Royal Indian Army War Propaganda Directorate when the Second World War started. After serving at the headquarters in Delhi he was posted in the Far East. After independence, he continued to serve in the Education Corps of Pakistan Army and participated in the 1948 Kashmir liberation and 1965 Indo-Pak War. He held various staff and field assignments including Pakistan Military Academy and Inter Service Public Relations Directorate. In 1965 he retired from the Army as a Major and thereafter, was appointed as the first Director Public Relations of Capital Development Authority (CDA). He remained on this post for over fifteen years and had the honour of naming the roads and residential / commercial sectors of the new capital. He then served on contract assignments as the Deputy Director General of Pakistan National Centre and then as Advisor to the Chief Commissioner Afghan Refugees and lastly as the Chief Editor in Academy of Letters.
Syed Zamir Jafri wrote serious and humorous poetry, but his letter form of writing gained more popularity and recognition. He had knack of combining serious and even grim facts with humour. He seldom used irony, burlesque or horse laughter in his writings; but brought within its level of pure humour, apparently non serious, and some time nonsensical as defined in literary criticism. His poetic process can be seen at its best in his most popular collection “Mafiz-Zamir”. This anthology presents Syed Zamir Jafri as a cultured and sophisticated humourist.
Syed Zamir Jafri paints environment from an objective point of view, which reflects his subjective response to it. His inspiration by his passion for reform is evident but his satire is not very loud. This is illustrated in the poetic journey he traversed from 1947 to 1974. During this period, he had become a very popular poet who was invited to Mushairas in Pakistan and abroad – to India, countries of Europe, Middle East and North America. He was awarded with the Tamgha-e-Quaid-e-Azam in 1967 and the President’s Pride of Performance in 1985 in recognitions of his services in the field of Urdu literature.
Syed Zamir Jafri was also famous for his serious poetry. His collection titled, “Kalyan” comprises ghazals and short poems. They deal with the experiences of love and personal relations, besides th social and class relationships. His greatest contribution in serious poetry consists of national songs (Tranas), which he wrote at different national occasions. He was thus looked upon as an important poet who is patriotic and loyal to the country. He declined the acceptance of the “Akbar Allahabadi Cash Award” announced by India in 1990 as a protest against Indian atrocities in the Indian-held Kashmir. He also wrote some prose books but most of all, the prized ones were his diaries written from his student days till his demise. He thus followed old poetic models, with almost perfect command over the Urdu language. He developed a catholic taste for poetry of various kinds and different poetic rhythms in numerous forms. Syed Zamir Jafri died on 12 May 1999 in New York, USA, leaving behind his unmatched work for lovers of Urdu literature. His services in blending the art of serious and humorous poetry in Urdu language will always be remembered. “Syed Zamir Jafri Foundation” was formed soon after his death to preserve and promote his literary works.

On Men of Letters Series Syed Zamir Jafri, Pakistan Post is issuing a Commemorative Postage Stamp of Rs.8/- denomination on May 29, 2013.