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Hafiz Jalandhri: The man who penned national anthem


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Today marks the 119th birthday of Abu Al-Asar Hafeez Jalandhari. The poet of Pakistan’s national anthem was born on Jan 14, 1900, in Jalandhar Indian Punjab but later migrated to Lahore Pakistan in 1947.

Known widely as Hafeez Jalandhri, the great poet wrote many patriotic poems, including the Kashmiri Anthem, “Watan Hamara Azad Kashmir” [Our country is Azad Kashmir]. Jalandhari’s first poetic compilation ‘Naghma-e-Zar’ was published in 1925.

For his literary and patriotic contributions, Mr. Jalandhri was awarded Hilal-e –Imtiaz and Pride of Performance award by the government of Pakistan. He died on Dec 21, 1982. 

Not just patriotic poems, Mr. Jalandhri wrote on religious, political, and natural themes too. One of the most famous ones is “Abhi toe mein Jawan houn”; sung by Malika Pukhraj, the poem became iconic. When the government of Pakistan in 1952 formed a committee to prepare the national anthem, out of 723 people, Mr. Jalandhri’s lyrics got selected.

The national anthem has faced criticism on the basis of the language as critics say all its vocabulary is Persian except for word ‘Ka’; that is Urdu word. However, the fact of the matter is, although Urdu was declared national language is 1948, the times when the national anthem was written, Persian was still the common language and Arabic influence in Pakistan came much later.

With the passage of time, Persian has been replaced but the true essence of national anthem still lies in its Persian lyrics. Other than national anthem, Mr. Jalandhri has to his name the famous books like Shahnama-i-Islam and Chirag-e-Sahar.

Read more: Kashmir’s national anthem to get a new composition

For his literary and patriotic contributions, Mr. Jalandhri was awarded Hilal-e –Imtiaz and Pride of Performance award by the government of Pakistan. He died on Dec 21, 1982. Mr. Jalandhri’s tomb is in the vicinity of Minar-e-Pakistan Lahore.