Born In: 1875
Born In: Mohan, Unnao, Uttar Pradesh, India
Died In: 1951
Career: Poet, Journalist, Politician, Freedom Fighter
Maulana Hasrat Mohani is best known for his collection of poems in Urdu and his fearless spirit in achieving freedom for the country. In addition, Hasrat Mohani was an eminent journalist and a politician to reckon with in the Indian parliament. Born as Syed Fazl ul Hasan, he later changed his name to Hasrat Mohani. Maulana Hasrat Mohani was one of the most versatile personalities to have graced pre-independent India. His poems in the Urdu language are still celebrated for the wonderful romantic feeling that they generate. Hasrat Mohani, along with other poets, is said to have ushered in an era of modern Urdu poetry in the early twentieth century. His political works are still spoken about as essential to achieving freedom for the country from the British rule.
Maulana Hasrat Mohani was born in the year 1875 in the town of Mohan in the Unnao district of Uttar Pradesh as Syed Fazl ul Hasan. Hasan was one of the toppers in his school. He was celebrated by all his teachers as not only a good student but also a hardworking and intelligent one. He passed his first state level exams with flying colors, following which Hasan enrolled at the Aligarh Muslim University, first as student. Naseem Dehlvi and Tasleem Lucknawi were instrumental in inculcating the talent of composing beautiful poetry in Hasan. Physically, he was short in stature with a typical appearance that brought him a lot of attraction. However, soon his attitude and caliber garnered him respect and admiration, thus transforming him from Syed Fazl ul Hasan to Maulana Hasrat Mohani.
As a Litterateur
When Hasrat Mohani became a teacher at the Aligarh Muslim University, he enjoyed the company of Molana Shaukat Ali and Molana Mohammad Ali Johar as his colleagues at the centre of learning. It was during his teaching years that Maulana Hasrat Mohani penned most of his important works, such as the 'Kulliyat - e - Hasrat Mohani' (his book of poetry), 'Nukaat - e - Sukhan' (explanation of different aspects of poetry), 'Sharh - e - Kalam - e - Ghalib' (explanation of famous poems written by Ghalib) and Mushahidaat - e - Zindaan (the poet's observation when he was behind bars). The well known Ghulam Ali's ghazal 'Chupke Chupke Raat Din' was written by Maulana Hasrat Mohani.
As a Politician
As a politician, Maulana Hasrat Mohani's chief aim was to participate in all such activities which would lead to the end of the British rule in India and thus, establish freedom for the country. He was one of the most courageous freedom fighters that the Indian national struggle had seen. Realizing the popularity of Maulana Hasrat Mohani among the common masses and his ability to mobilize the common man, the British put him in jail on several occasions. In the year 1921, in the role of the presiding chairman of the All India Muslim League, Maulana Hasrat Mohani demanded the complete independence of his country from the British.
Hasrat Mohani believed in the Communist principle and thus played a major role in establishing the Communist Party of India. Even in his role as politician and freedom fighter, Hasrat Mohani used writing as his tool to suppress the British and reach out to the common man. His article in the 'Urdu - e - Mualla' magazine protesting against the policies of the British in Egypt deeply angered the colonial rulers of India who took immediate action by sending him to prison. Maulana Hasrat Mohani's love for his country was genuine and he dedicated all his life to the betterment of the nation. Therefore, unlike several other Urdu poets, Hasrat Mohani chose to live on in India rather than move to Pakistan post independence.
After 1947, in order to reward his contributions towards the freedom of the country, the government decided to make Maulana Hasrat Mohani a member of the constituent assembly which was given the task of drafting the constitution of independent India. But Hasrat Mohani was intelligent enough to see the politics behind choosing him in the role. He was sure that the move was made to give greater representation to the minority Muslims; a fact which Hasrat Mohani felt was hypocritical and unnecessary. It was his variety of experiences in politics that served as the inspiration for Maulana Hasrat Mohani to write a couple of his poems which were a hard-hitting truth on the political situation of India under British rule.
Death and Commemorations
Maulana Hasrat Mohani died on May 13, 1951. He was a resident of Lucknow at the time of death. The Hasrat Mohani Memorial Society was set up by Maulana Nusrat Mohani after the great litterateur's death in 1951. Pakistan has made the versatile Hasrat Mohani immortal by establishing the Memorial Hall and Library in Karachi. The Hasrat Mohani Colony in the Korangi area of Karachi is dedicated to the freedom fighter and poet. The Hasrat Mohani Memorial Society still conducts meetings on the death anniversary of Maulana Hasrat Mohani to pay the nations respects to the stalwart.
1875: Maulana Hasrat Mohani was born.
1921: Became the first person to demand complete independence from British rule.
1947: Refused to move to Pakistan after partition following independence.
1951: Hasrat Mohani died on May 13.
1951: Posthumously, The Hasrat Mohani Memorial Society was established in Karachi after his death.