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Syed Amin Ashraf
Poet/Writer
--: Biography of Syed Amin Ashraf :--

 

Syed Amin Ashraf

Syed Amin Ashraf was a prominent Urdu Ghazal poet and critic. He earned his Ph.D. in English Literature from Aligarh Muslim University and later served the 
same Department. He produced three poetic collections and a critical compendium of essays in the form of a book. Several academic awards have been conferred on his poetic anthologies and numerous critical articles/books have come up extolling his poetic artistry. He died on 7 February 2013 (25th Rabiul Awwal 1434H) in Aligarh immediately following a cardiac arrest, and was laid to rest besides his father's grave near the shrine of Hazrat Ashraf Jahangir Semnani at Kichaucha Sharif.


Syed Amin Ashraf traces his lineage to a family of 'Syeds' of Kichauchha Sharif, a small town in the district of Ambedkar Nagar, East Uttar Pradesh, North India. He was born on 10 July 1930 in Kichaucha Sharif, the eldest child and son of his parents. His father was Hazrat Syed Habeeb Ashraf. He worked as a librarian in the village's library. He passed most of his time in learning and meditation. He could not complete his formal education at Firangi Mahal, a madrasa in Lucknow, where he was enrolled, due to the early demise of his father — whereupon the responsibility of earning livelihood for his family fell upon him and he had to return home to take care of his mother and younger siblings. But he mastered many subjects on his own, as he had the opportunity of referring books during his service as a librarian. He could compose poetry as well as solve problems of inheritance.


Syed Habeeb Ashraf was an expert on Ilmul Jafar and Ilmul Ramal (Islamic geomancy). He posted a letter to his eldest son Syed Amin Ashraf stationed at Aligarh, six months before his demise, in which he asked his son to be at home on a particular date (3 February 1972) for his burial. But Habeeb Ashraf felt aggrieved as Thursday and Friday are considered more auspicious days in Islam and the day of his demise emerged as Wednesday from his calculations. Syed Habeeb Ashraf was a devotee of his ancestor Hazrat Makhdoom Syed Ashraf Jahangir Semnani. He died on Thursday. His amulets were believed to be effective. He made only one or two disciples in his life. When few persons of his clan tried to usurp the right of the share holders in the offerings of the shrine, Habeeb Ashraf fought legally on behalf of them and won. This lawsuit is known by the name of Khanqah.

Syed Habeeb Ashraf was married to Syeda Saeeda, the daughter of a Unani doctor of the same village. Before her marriage she used to assist her father in the preparation of drugs in his dispensary and thereby acquired great expertise in Unani medicine, particularly of diseases of women and children; she dispensed prescriptions without charge. She also used to teach the reading of the Quran to children soon after the Fajr prayers at her home.

The couple had four sons and three daughters. The sons were named 'Syed Amin Ashraf', Syed Hameed Ashraf, Syed Waheed Ashraf and 'Syed Ashraf'. Their three daughters were 'Syeda Mahmooda', 'Syeda Masooda' and 'Syeda Raheen'. The second son 'Syed Hameed Ashraf', who died in a road accident in 1993, was a graduate in Shariah from Deoband and also studied at Aligarh Muslim University earning B.A., M.A. and M.Phil degrees in Arabic literature from the University. He taught at many Islamic madrasas in India. The other younger brother, Syed Waheed Ashraf, earned his doctorate degree in Persian and went on to become a professor of Persian at University of Madras. The youngest son, Syed Ashraf, studied Mechanical Engineering from Aligarh Muslim University and retired from Uttar Pradesh Irrigation department.

Syed Amin Ashraf had his primary schooling from the Village Madrasa itself. Syed Amin Ashraf took his B.A., M.A.,and Ph.D. in English literature from Aligarh Muslim University and later taught at the same department. The topic of his Ph.D. dissertation was Major themes and imagery in Sarojini Naidu's poetry. He wrote three poetic collections titled, 'Jadae Shab', 'Bahare Ijaad' and 'Qafase Rang', and there is a collection of his critical papers in the form of a book named 'Bargo Bar'. He received awards from Ghalib Academy, New Delhi and Uttar Pradesh Urdu Academy, Lucknow. Several critical essays on his poetry have been published.

Syed Ameen Ashraf is married to Syeda Ummehani Ashraf who belongs to the same clan. Ummehani Ashraf is currently Professor of Urdu at Aligarh Muslim University.

Poetry

'Jadae Shab', Educational Book House, Aligarh, (2000)
'Bahare Ijaad', Educational Book House, Aligarh,(2007)
'Qafase Rang', Educational Book House, Aligarh,(2011)

Prose

'Bargo Bar' Educational Book House, Aligarh,(2012)

Other Works

Selected English Prose by Syed Amin Ashraf, Sir Syed Book Depot, Jamia Urdu, Aligarh

Awards and Honours received

U.P. Urdu Academy Award on the book 'Bahare Ijaad', Lucknow(2007).
U.P. Urdu Academy Award for contribution to Urdu Poetry,Lucknow (2010).
Maikash Award from Maikash Academy, Aligarh (2010).
Ghalib Award from Ghalib Academy, NewDelhi (2011).
Nov 19, 2012 – 68. Sheri Nashist at the UGC ASC in honour of Dr. Syed Amin. Ashraf

With Thanks : Wikipedia


Some of his couplets:

halqa-e-shaam-o-sahar se nahiin jaane walaa
dard is deeda-e-tar se nahiiN jaane walaa

dekhtaa huuN muntashir shiiraaza-e-kaar-e-jahaaN
saa'at-e-naa-aafriida ki jhalak hai aur maiN

agar hazaar baras kii bhii zindagi hotii
to aarzuu yahii hotii ki aur jee lete

Ashraf sahab was aware of his literary standing. He said it it numerous couplets. In literary journal Kitabnuma, Dr Iffat Ara, wrote an obituary and she has also made a selection of his well-known 'ash'aar'.

munavvar aur mubham iste-aare dekh leta huuN
maiN sote jaagte, dilkash nazaare dekh letaa huuN

nasha-e-she'r uRaaye liye jaata hai mujhe
jaise rahvaar-e-sabaa, taKht-e-SulemaaN jaise

mauj-e-nasim ban ke ravaaN kuu-ba-kuu hue
ham bhii shariik-e-qaafla-e-rang-o-buu hue

Human beings don't get everything they wish for in life. An emotional, yet 'wazadar' person, he kept his pain to himself though it occasionally gets visible in his poetry. He did have a contended life and happy marital life. Yet, those who knew him, were aware about what he pined for and what kept him sad.

Jo milna hai vahi mil kar rahega
savaal-e-besh-o-kam bhii be-sabab hai

Amin Ashraf retired in 1990. It was only in later years that he took interest in publishing his works. Because of his command over Persian, one finds an enchanting quality in his couplets. Some of his couplets remind you of the legendary Irfan Siddiqui.

Ameen Ashraf maiN khud na-aashna lekin ye shohrat hai
butaan-e-shahar mein ek yaar-e-jaani main bhii rakhtaa huuN

koii sabab hai jo rahtaa hai Khauf-e-naadiida
muhiib saaya sa larzaaN hai farsh-e-jaaN par bhii

A 'qalandar' in the true sense, he lived life on his own terms.

ye maana aib bhii haiN saikRoN, kis meN nahiiN hote?
ameen ashraf, magar tujh sa qalandar ho nahiiN saktaa
[aib=weaknesses]

A couplet from the 'naat' genre:

Ye dil diwana hai uska, jo diwana Muhammad ka
AzaaN koii kahe, ruuh-e-Bilaali aa hii jaati hai

After his first collection 'Jaada-e-Shab' was published in 2000, the second divan 'Bahar Eejad' came out in 2007 and Qafas Rang appeared in 2011. He had a large social circle and not just because of poetry but also for his innate humane qualities that he would be remembered for a long time.

Yehi voh rishte haiN jo saath saath rahte haiN
Khud apnaa sayaa hai, yaadiN bhii haiN, muqaddar bhii

After his death in Aligarh on February 7 this year, across India programmes were held to pay homage to the poet. As per his wishes, his mortal remains were taken to his hometown and buried in the hospice premises of Sufi saint Makhdoom Ashraf Jahangir Samnani RH.

Syed Ameen Ashraf is no more. But his legacy lives on. He will always be remembered as a poet and an extraordinary human being. He always encouraged youngsters and treated everybody with respect. An extremely humble and modest person, he enriched classical Urdu poetry with his own experiences and unique idiom.

[*shab-e-taar; dark night, darkness]


With Thanks : anindianmuslim com


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