Remembering Jaun Elia, a multifaceted poet

Syed Hussain Jaun Asghar Naqvi, or popularly known as Jaun Elia, was an Urdu poet, philosopher, biographer, and scholar who migrated from independent India to Pakistan. He was born on December 14, 1931 in Uttar Pradesh’s Amroha, and died on November 8, 2002 in Karachi, Pakistan.

Though, Elia is popular amongst the masses for his shayari or poetry on unrequited love, betrayal, loneliness, and separation. But, a few famous personalities have also pointed out the influence of Ganga-Jamuni Tehzeeb in some of his poetry pieces.

Interestingly, there exists a common notion about poets, and that is that they mostly write “cliché poetry”. But, Elia was one such poet whose poetry was highly influenced by communist and marxist ideals, and this is the exact reason which makes him different from the crowd. 

Elia was of the view that every poet, philosopher, writer, and thinker have a common dream– the dream of witnessing an egalitarian society. And, this exceptional poet believed that one day ‘we’ will reach our goal. 

In his lifetime, Elia had written five books, namely, “Shayad”, “Guman”, “Lekin”, “Goya”, and “Yani”. But, interestingly, this great poet started writing at the age of eight, when most of the children are lost with their toys. At the age of eight, Elia wrote his first sher: “chah mein uski tamache khayein hain / dekh lo surkhi mere rukhsar ki.”

There is no doubt that Jaun Elia is considered to be one of the eminent Urdu poets of all times. But, at the same time, heart of every artist aches when they realise that Elia did not get the kind of recognition which Faiz Ahmad Faiz or Ahmad Faraz got. 

But, before we think of showing pity and condolences, let us not forget what Jaun Elia said about himself: “main jo hoon ‘jaun elia’ hoon janaab / iska behadh lihaaz kijiyega.”

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