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Poet Jamiluddin Aali passes away at 90

KARACHI: Renowned Urdu poet, educationist and literary luminary Jamiluddin Aali, at the age of 90, passed away in Karachi on Monday.

Aali died of heart failure at a hospital in Karachi where he was under treatment for some time for diabetes and respiratory illness.

The prominent poet, critic and retired banker was known to younger generation for his immortal patriotic songs as ‘jeevay jeevay Pakistan‘, ‘aye watan kay sajeelay jawano‘, ‘mera pegham Pakistan‘, ‘hum ta ba abad saee-o-taghayyur kay wali hein‘ and ‘itnay baray jeevan sagar main‘.

Born on January 20, 1925, to Nawab Sir Amiruddin Ahmed Khan of Loharu, Jamiluddin Aali migrated to Karachi on August 13, 1947, with his wife Tayyaba and six-month-old daughter Humaira, through the last train from Delhi.

He was an assistant at the ministry of commerce at Delhi in British India. He later passed CSS exam and got posted as an income tax officer in Karachi in 1952.

In poetry, he had revived the classical form of doha and adapted it to Urdu, imparting a distinct South Asian Muslim cultural flavour to it while retaining its beauty. He has also written ghazals, poems, lyrical ballads or geets. His long poems reflect a unique discourse on great scientific and philosophical themes, blended with aesthetics.

In prose, Aali is known for his incisive and picturesque travelogues. His newspaper columns, which he has been writing for a record 50 years, have played a significant role in awakening the people to the need for intellectual pursuits and mature thoughts on contemporary national and international issues.

Aalijee, as he was fondly called, initiated five annual literary awards during his tenure in the PWG, which continued for several years.

He also remained the chairman of the Urdu Dictionary Board for three years.

Under the aegis of the Anjuman, with which he remained associated as honorary secretary for 12 years, and honorary administrator for three years with the Federal Government Urdu College, which evolved into two prestigious institutions.

The Urdu Science College building was raised during Aalijee’s tenure. He was highly instrumental in the growth of the English-Urdu dictionary of Dr Moulvi Abdul Haq. Furthermore, he has also served for the expansion of the Urdu College into a Federal Government Urdu University and remained the deputy chair of its senate for three years.

Early last year, he gave the charge of honorary secretary of Anjuman-i-Taraqqi-i-Urdu to Dr Fatema Hasan after having served it for 62 years. He remained the executive honorary lifetime adviser of the Anjuman.

Jamiluddin Aali was the recipient of three awards from the government of Pakistan: President’s Pride of Performance Gold Medal in 1992; Hilal-i-Imtiaz (Urdu Literature) in 2003, and Kamal-i-Funn Award. He was awarded a DLitt by the University of Karachi in 2004.


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