Legendary Urdu poet and academician Prof Shaheryar was presented India’s highest literary honour Jnanpith Award for the year 2008 in New Delhi on Sunday.
Presenting the award, megastar Amitabh Bachchan said, “Like Rahi Massom Raza, Shaheryar also believed in breaking the imaginary wall between Hindi and Urdu. He is a real mascot of Hindi-Urdu culture.”
In the form of songs in ‘Fasle’, ‘Anjuman’, ‘Gaman’ and ‘Umrao Jaan’, Shaheryar has given unique gift to the film industry, Bachchan said.“Today I feel honoured because I got the opportunity to give this prize to Shaheryar sahab,” the veteran actor said.
Shaheryar said, “I feel great that from now on my name will be taken with eminent writers like Mahasweta Devi and Firak, who also got the Jnanpith.”
Shahryar was born in 1936 in a Muslim Rajput family in Uttar Pradesh’s Bareilly district. His poetry strongly expresses an “ideological non-commitment”.
His actual name is Akhlaq Mohammed Khan and ‘Shaheryar’ is the pen name. He received his early education at Bulandshahr and later studied at Aligarh Muslim University.
He received Sahitya Academy Award in 1987 for the collection of poetry “Khwab ka Dar Band Hai”.
Shahryar played a major role in shaping Urdu poetry of the current era.