Ada Jafarey

Ada Jafarey, widely recognized as the First Lady of Urdu poetry, was born in Badayun, UP, India on August 22, 1924 and was named Aziz Jehan by her mother. Her poetic quest, which spans over seven decades, started when she wrote her first verse at the age of 9 years. Poetry handwritten by her in her first bayaz dated back to when she was 13 years old is still preserved. Her compositions were published in leading Urdu literary periodicals of pre-partition India, like Rooman, Shahkar, Adab e Lateef, Adabi Dunya and Naya Daur. Her poem Bayzaari was included in the collection “Best Urdu Literature” edited by Krishen Chander which was published in Bombay prior to independence. Encouragement in her childhood and early youth from her mother and then, after marriage, from her husband Nurul Hasan Jafarey kept her literary spark going and she published her first book Main Saaz Dhundtee Rahee in 1950. In addition to an autobiography and research work, Ada has published five collections of poetry.

For her contributions Ada Jafarey was awarded the Adamjee Award in 1967 for her second poetic collection Shehr e Dard. In recognition of her work, the Government of Pakistan awarded her the Tamgha e Imtiaz in 1981. She was a member of the Pakistan Writers Guild and since 1984, a member of the Governing Body of the Muqtadra Qaumi Zaban (National Language Authority). She was also member of the editorial board of Qaumi Zaban, a journal of the Anjuman-Taraqi-e-Urdu. She received the Baba e Urdu Award from the Pakistan Academy of Letters in 1994, and the Qaid e Azam Literary Award in 1997. She was also the recipient of the Hamdard Foundation of Pakistan’s Certificate of Merit. The Government of Pakistan conferred upon her the Pride of Performance Award for Literature in 2002. Ada was the recipient of the Kamal e Fan Award by the Pakistan Academy of Letters in 2003.