Anarkali | KitaabNow


  • Author: Syed Imtiaz Ali Taj
  • ISBN: 9693502574
  • Publisher: Sang-e-Meel Publications
  • Format: Hardback – 164 pages
  • Language: Urdu

Author Biography

Syed Imtiaz Ali Taj (1900–1970) was a dramatist who wrote in the Urdu language. He is remembered above all for his 1922 play Anarkali, based on the life of Anarkali, that was staged hundreds of times and was adapted for feature films in India and Pakistan, including the Indian film Mughal-e-Azam (1960).

He was the son of Sayyid Mumtaz Ali (1860 – 1935), who was also known as Shams-ul-Ulema (Sun of the Scholars), in recognition of his pioneering contribution to Urdu drama. His mother Muhammadi Begum lovingly nicknamed him ‘Mera Taj’ (my crown). His forefathers had moved to Lahore following the 1857 revolt in Delhi. When Imtiaz started writing, he adopted the name “Taj”. During his student days, his literary skill came to the fore as he translated and directed many English plays, sometimes acting in female roles at a time when girls were not encouraged to act. After studying in Lahore, he first worked in his father’s publishing house, Dar-ul-Ishaat Punjab.

He then went on to contribute to the children’s journal Phool, founded by his father on 13 October 1909 and the women’s magazine Tahzeeb-e-Niswan; he wrote for Phool in association with Ghulam Abbas Ahmed and Ahmad Nadeem Qasmi. He was a co-founder (together with Maulana Abdul Majeed Salik) of the literary journal Kehkashan. In addition to his many translations of Shakespeare’s plays into Urdu, including A Midsummer Night’s Dream as Sawan Rain Ka Sapna. He also wrote a number of plays himself, the most notable being Anarkali and Chacha Chakan, which continue to be performed today.

After Pakistan gained independence in 1947, he hosted the daily feature Pakistan Hamara Hai (Pakistan is ours) on Radio Pakistan. It continued as one of the most popular radio programmes for several years.

On 19 April 1970, Imtiaz Ali Taj was murdered while asleep in his bed by unknown assassins. His wife, Hijab Imitiaz Ali, was seriously wounded, when she tried to rescue him.


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