Firaq Gorakhpuri, (real name Raghupati Sahay (28 August 1896 – 3 March 1982), was a writer, critic, and, according to one commentator, one of the most noted contemporary Urdu poets from India. He established himself among peers including Muhammad Iqbal, Yagana Changezi, Jigar Moradabadi and Josh Malihabadi.
He was selected for the Provincial Civil Service (P.C.S.) and the Indian Civil Service (I.C.S.), but he resigned to follow Mahatma Gandhi‘s Non-cooperation movement, for which he went to jail. Later, he joined Allahabad University as a lecturer in English literature. It was there that he wrote most of his Urdu poetry, including his magnum opus Gul-e-Naghma which earned him the highest literary award of India, the Jnanpith Award, and also the 1960 Sahitya Akademi Award in Urdu. During his life, he was given the positions of Research Professor at the University Grants Commission and Producer Emeritus by All India Radio. After a long illness, he died on 3 March 1982, in New Delhi.
As a distinguished poet, Firaq Gorakhpuri was well-versed in all traditional metrical forms such as ghazal, nazm, rubaai and qat’aa. He was a prolific writer, having written more than a dozen volumes of Urdu poetry, a half dozen of Urdu prose, several volumes on literary themes in Hindi, as well as four volumes of English prose on literary and cultural subjects.
His biography, Firaq Gorakhpuri: The Poet of Pain & Ecstasy, written by his nephew Ajai Mansingh will be published by Roli Books in 2015.The book included anecdotes from his life and translations of some of his best work.
Firaq Gorakhpuri was known for his plain speaking and was never afraid to speak his own mind, that often annoyed many of his critics.
Here he is talking with some Hindi and Urdu writers about what is good literature.