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Shamsur Rahman Faruqi, Legendary Urdu Poet, Dies at 85

Shamsur Rahman Faruqi, the legendary Urdu poet and critic, died on Friday at his residence in Allahabad a month after recovering from Covid-19. He was 85.


Faruqi had been admitted to a hospital in Delhi after testing positive for Covid-19. He was discharged on November 26 after recovering from the virus. “But due to steroids, he developed a fungal infection, mycosis, which further worsened his condition,” Faruqi’s nephew, Mahmood Farooqui, told PTI.

According to Mahmood, Faruqi had been insisting on returning to his home in Allahabad. “We reached here only this morning and within half an hour he passed away at around 11,” he said.

Faruqi was born on September 30, 1935, in Uttar Pradesh. In his five decade-long literary journey, he has written many books including, Ghalib Afsaney Ki Himayat Mein (1989), Kai Chaand The Sar-e-Aasmaan (2006) and The Sun That Rose From The Earth (2014).

Faruqi, along with his nephew Mahmood, notably revived the Dastangoi, a 16th-century Urdu oral storytelling art form. Dastangoi in Persian means to tell a Dastan, which were types of epics, usually oral in nature.

In 1996, Faruqi was awarded the Saraswati Samman for his work, She’r-e Shor-Angez, a four-volume study of the 18th-century poet Mir Taqi Mir. In 2009, the government of India conferred the Padma Shri on him.

Many took to social media to pay their tribute to the late poet, including Scottish historian and writer William Dalrymple, who called him, “one of the last great Padshahs of the Urdu literary world.”

Vivek Tejuja, the culture editor of lifestyle magazine Verve, wrote, “Shamsur Rahman Faruqi will be and should be read by one and all.”

Poet Ranjith Hoskote wrote, “Faruqi-sahab’s work has enriched – and will long continue to enrich – many of us.”

The social media handle of Dastangoi Collective, founded by Faruqi and managed by Mahmood, announced that Faruqi’s last rites were performed at Ashoknagar Nevada Qabristan at 6 pm on Friday, next to “his beloved Jamila”. Jamila was his late wife.