Urdu Academy Pays Tributes to Azhar Javed
By Abdus Sattar Ghazali

The Urdu Academy of North America held a literary event to pay tributes to the life and work ofa well-known poet, writer and editor Azhar Javed. The event was held on February 16, 2014 at the Chandni Restaurant, Newark, CA.

It was co-chaired by Mohammad Ali Naqvi and Khalid Khwaja. Tashie Zaheer, chairman of the Urdu Academy was MC of the program. He also read a well-researched paper on the life and work of Azhar Javed who was widely acclaimed as editor of quality literary journal ‘Takhleeq.’

Tashie Zaheer shared the remarks of famous poets and writers and friends of Azhar Javed highlighting his contributions to Urdu language and literature. The life story of Azhar Javed, full of constant struggle, as narrated by Tashie Zaheer made the audience very sad and appreciative of the circumstances under which he continued his literary work as a mission.


Azhar Javed's sudden departure shocked the world of Urdu literature besides his friends and family. He was deeply and widely loved and respected in India and Pakistan.


Tashie Zaheer invited Azhar Javed to California in 2005.  Urdu Academy inaugurated his poetic work, "Gham e ishq gar na hota", and the event was very well attended. While in the US, Azhar Javed was also invited to New York by the Zafar Zaidi Memorial Society, to Arizona by Bazm e Arbab e Sukhan, and to Los Angeles by Urdu Markaz. Urdu Markaz, Urdu Academy of North America and Bazme Arbab e Sukhan awarded Azhar Javed with "Lifetime achievement awards".

Azhar Javed had worked with daily Imroze, a Progressive Papers Limited publication, when it was at its prime. He also worked as in-charge of the literary page of daily Imroze. His newspaper column – Mehfil, Mehfil – had a span equaling his career.

In recognition of his contribution as a writer and editor, the government had announced the Pride of Performance Award for him for 2012. The award was to be conferred on him on March 23 but Azhar Javed passed away on February 14, 2012. He was born on January 4, 1938 in Rawalpindi but his passport showed that he was born in Sargodha.

His poetry collection - Gham-e-Ishq Gar Na Ho'taa - was published in 2003 by Al Hamd Publications Lahore. His Punjabi short story collection was published under the name of Bari Dair Hoi.

As usual, a number of Urdu lovers recited ghazals and poems of Azhar Javed. They included Irshad Khan, Mobeen Khalil, Meraj Sultana Ghazali, Manzar Salam, Moiz Khan, Kausar Jahan, Naveed Ellahie, Ahmar Shehwar, Misum Moosavi, Almas Shabvani, Dr. Ghazala Ansari, Lubna Manzar, Naseer Humayun and Mohammad Ali Naqvi.

Nagesh Avadhany captivated the audience with his presentation of two ghazals in his melodious voice. Similarly, Talat Khan also thrilled the audience with her presentation.

Many had thought that after his demise his life's long struggle would end like the demise of other journals Alaamat, Afkaar, Sareer, Taqazey and Tuloo-e-Afkaar due to either the demise of their editors or for other reasons. However, Azhar Javed's Talkhleeq survives, thanks to his son.

Azhar Javed used to say that anybody willing to bring out a literary journal requires commitment as well as capital. He had been doing other jobs to support his journal which he founded in 1971. Talking about the problems faced by literary journals, he pointed out that publishing a literary journal was becoming more expensive day by day.

He believed that literary pages by daily newspapers have damaged the literary journals most as a piece of writing printed in a daily along with the writer's picture had more appeal for him. With the passage of time the demands by companies which gave ads also increased as now they demand color pages which are more expensive than the black and white ones.

Azhar Javed complained that renowned writers and poets also give a cold shoulder to literary journals and they take the journals for granted though most of 1,000 copies of Takhleeq were dispatched as complimentary to writers and poets. Increased postal charges were also difficult to bear, especially if a copy was sent abroad.

During his lifetime, Azhar Javed introduced dozens newcomers to the field of literature through his literary journal ‘Takhleeq.’

In June 2012, the Punjab University Main Library got personal collection of books of renowned poet, writer and journalist Azhar Javed by his family. The collection contains thousand of books and journals which were published in Pakistan and India. According to Chief Librarian Ch Muhammad Hanif, it was the 28th personal collection the library received.

In his concluding remarks, Tashie Zaheer, President of the Urdu Academy of North America, thanked all the guests who made the event successful. He particularly thanked Syed Sarwat, owner of Chandni Restaurant, for promoting the cause of Urdu language in America.


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