The Poetic Legend Ada Jafri Passed Away

Ada Jafri passed away

The Poetic Legend Ada Jafri Passed Away

ادا جعفری وفات پاگئیں۔ وہ ایک عظیم اردو شاعرہ تھیں۔

Ada Jafari was the first lady of Urdu Poetry, she passed away yesterday on 12nd March 2015. May her soul rest in peace forever.

First Lady of Urdu Poetry Passed Away

The Poetic Legend Ada Jafri Passed Away

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Ada Jafarey
ادؔا جعفری (Urdu)
A medium close-up photograph of a light-skinned, middle-aged woman, wearing a teal-coloured, patterned sāŗī, with a matching colī; shot taken from her right

Ada Jafarey in 1987 (Karachi)
BornAziz Jahan
22 August 1924
Badayun, U.P., British India
Died12 March 2015 (aged 90)
Karachi, Pakistan
Pen nameAda Jafri
OccupationPoet, author
NationalityBritish Indian (1924–1947)
Pakistani (1947–2015)
PeriodModern Era
  • Ghazal
  • Free verse
  • Short essay
  • Haiku
SubjectIncluding Feminism
Notable works“Maiṉ Sāz Ḍhūṉḍtī Rahī” (1950)
‘S̲h̲ahr-i Dard’ (1967)
Notable awards
  • Pride of Performance (ribbon).gif Pride of Performance
  • Medal of Excellence (ribbon).gif Medal of Excellence
  • Adamjee Adabi Award
SpouseNurul Hasan Jafarey (m. 194795)
  • Sabiha Jafarey
  • Azmi Jafarey
  • Aamir Jafarey

Literature portal

Ada Jafarey[a] (PP, TI) often spelt Ada Jafri[1] (22 August 1924 – 12 March 2015) was a Pakistani poet who is regarded as the first major Urdu poet who published as a woman[1][2][3][4] and had been called “The First Lady of Urdu Poetry”. She was also an author[5] and was considered a prominent figure in contemporary Urdu literature.[1][2][6] She had received awards from Pakistan Writers’ Guild, the Government of Pakistan and literary societies of North America and Europe in recognition of her efforts.[2]


  • 1 Life
    • 1.1 Early life
    • 1.2 Married life
    • 1.3 Later life
    • 1.4 Family
    • 1.5 Death
    • 1.6 Character
  • 2 Literary career
    • 2.1 The first female poet
    • 2.2 Style
    • 2.3 Genre
    • 2.4 Works
  • 3 Awards
  • 4 Feminist views
  • 5 Critical reputation
  • 6 See also
  • 7 External links
  • 8 Notes
  • 9 Citations


Early life

Ada Jafarey was born on 22 August 1924, in Badayun, U.P. Her birthname was Aziz Jahan.[b][1][2][7] Her father died when she was three, and her mother reared her.[5] She started composing poetry when she was twelve[1][2][7] years old, under the pen name of Ada Badayuni. She spent her early life within impassable social bounds.[7][6]

Married life

She married Nurul Hasan Jafarey[c] on 29 January 1947, in Lucknow, India. After her marriage, she took her pen name Ada Jafarey. Her husband, Nurul Hasan, was a top-ranking civil servant of the Federal Government of India. Ada Jafarey also moved with her husband to Karachi after the independence of Pakistan in 1947.[2] Her husband was a littérateur himself who wrote columns for both English and Urdu newspapers. He also served as the president of the Anjuman-i Taraqqi-i Urdu. Nurul Hasan, a major inspiration to her writing, died on 3 December 1995.[1]

Later life

She had been residing in Karachi, Pakistan.[1] She used to frequently travel back and forth between Karachi and Toronto, playing an active role in promoting Urdu.[2]


Ada Jafarey and Nurul Hasan Jafarey had three children, Sabiha Jafarey, Azmi Jafarey and Aamir Jafarey.[8] Sabiha Jafarey is married to Zubair Iqbal and is settled in Potomac, Maryland, US. They have three children Sabah Iqbal, Yusuf Iqbal and Sameer Iqbal.[8] Azmi Jafarey and his wife Shua Jafarey are now settled in Andover, Massachusetts, US. They have two sons, Faaez Jafarey and Aazim Jafarey.[8] Aamir Jafarey, and his wife, Maha Jafarey, together with their daughter Asra Jafarey, lived with Ada Jafarey in Karachi.[8] Ada Jafarey has two great grandchildren, Sabine Rana and Rizwan Rana, children of Sabah Iqbal Rana and her husband Fawad Rana.[8]


Ada Jafarey died in the evening of 12 March 2015 in a hospital in Karachi where she was being treated,[9] after a long illness at the age of 90.[7][10][11] The Pakistani Minister for Information, Broadcasting and National Heritage, Pervez Rashid, the Governor of Sindh, Dr. Ishratul Ebad Khan, and the Pakistani Prime Minister, Mian Nawaz Sharif, expressed sorrow over the death of Mrs. Jafarey. All of them praised her work in the field of Urdu poetry and prayed for her soul.[12][13][14]


Ada Jafarey was humble, polite and austere.[7]

Literary career

The first female poet

Ada Jafarey was part of a traditionally conservative society where women were not allowed to think and express independently.[2] But she was bold enough to express herself.[6] Despite having traditionality ingrained in her personality, she took part in modern art.[1] She holds the title of the First Lady of Urdu Poetry.[d][1][2][15] Her mother, and her husband Nurul Hasan Jafarey, encouraged her to keep on her literary activities in spite of social difficulties.[1][2] She was the student of great poets like Akhtar Sheerani and Asar Lakhnavi and used to get her poetry checked and corrected by them.[7]


Ada Jafarey writes in a more or less gender-neutral mode,[16] though her works include feminist themes like discrimination and dehumanisation of women and of them being viewed as sexual objects.[3][7] Her personality seems absent from her poetry.[1]

Ada Jafarey wrote of her experiences as a wife and mother in a modified traditional idiom, but also noticed the lack of fulfilment that accompanied these relationships.[3]


Ada Jafarey’s works are mostly Ghazals,[5] but she also experimented with āzād naz̤m,[e][17] as well as Urdu Haiku.[5] She had mastered both genres of Urdu poetry, naz̤m and ghazal.[7] In her ghazals, she took the pen name, ‘Adā’.[f] She has also written a few maẓāmīn.[g][5]


Ada Jafarey published her first collection of poems, “Maiṉ Sāz Ḍhūṉḍtī Rahī” [h] in 1950. Her book, ‘G̲h̲azal Numā’,[i] containing short essays with short biographies and brief commentaries on the work previous Urdu poets was published in 1987.[7] Besides, she published five collections of Urdu poetry (‘S̲h̲ahr-i Dard’, ‘G̲h̲azālāṉ, Tum to Wāqif Ho!’, ‘Ḥarf-i S̲h̲anāsāʾī’, ‘Safar Bāqī’, and ‘Mausam, Mausam’),[j][11][15][18] in addition to her autobiography (“Jo Rahī so BeK̲h̲abrī Rahī”),[k][18] and forty research papers.[1][2] She also published her collection of Urdu Haiku, Sāz-i Suk̲h̲n Bahānā hai[l][5][15] Her ghazal, Hoṉṭoṉ pih kabhī un ke merā nām hī āʾe[m][15] was sung and popularised by Ustad Amanat Ali Khan.[7][10][11][18] The first couplet of that ghazal is:[15]

ہونٹوں پہ کبھی ان کے، میرا نام ہی آئے
آئے تو سہی، برسرالزام ہی آئے


Hoṉṭoṉ pih kabhī un ke, merā nām hī āʾe
Āʾe to sahī, barsar-i ilzām hī āʾe


Ada Jafarey was awarded the Adamjee Literary Award by the Pakistan Writers’ Guild in 1967 for her second poetic collection, S̲h̲ahr-i Dard.[n][2] In recognition of her work, the Government of Pakistan awarded her the Medal of Excellence in 1981.[2] She received the Baba-e Urdu, Dr. Maulvi Abdul Haq Award from the Pakistan Academy of Letters in 1994,[10] and the Quaid-e Azam Literary Award in 1997.[1] She was also the recipient of the Hamdard Foundation of Pakistan’s Certificate of Merit.[1] She was the recipient of various international awards from literary societies in North America and Europe.[2]

The Government of Pakistan conferred upon her the Pride of Performance Award for Literature in 2002.[2][18] She was the recipient of the Kamal-e Fan Award for lifetime achievement in literature by the Pakistan Academy of Letters in 2003. She was the first woman recipient of the award since the literary prize was established by the Pakistan Academy of Letters (PAL) in 1997.[1]

Feminist views

Ada Jafarey is a supporter of feminism.[6][7] She expressed her views thus:[o][4]

میں نے مردوں کی عائد کردہ پابندیوں کو قبول نہیں کیا، بلکہ اُن پابندیوں کو قبول کیا جو میرے ذہن نے مجھ پہ عائد کی ہیں۔۔۔ میں سمجھتی ہوں کہ بات کو بین الستور کہنا زیادہ مناسب ہے کیونکہ رمز و کنایہ بھی تو شاعری کا حُسن ہے۔

Translation: I did not accept the restrictions imposed by men, rather accepted only those restrictions which my mind has imposed upon me… I think that saying things from behind a veil is more appropriate because symbolism and allusion are the beauty of poetry, too.

Critical reputation

Various critics say that Mrs. Jafarey’s poetry is full of politeness of expression. She combines both old and new thoughts in a very unique artistic way through her poetry.[7]

Qazi Abdul Ghaffar, in his introduction to Ada Jafarey’s collection of verses, particularly mentioned her name in the field of feminist way of expression.[6]

The Urdu poet and critic, Jazib Qureshi, said:
“Ada Jafarey is the first and only lady poet who carries in her poetry the eternal colours of Ghalib, Iqbal, and Jigar.


  1. Please make a correction. Ada Jafarey died at home with her family around her. She wasnt being treated at the hospital.


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