Sheikh Ayaz, The Romantic and Revolutionary Poet

Mubarak Ali Sheikh alias Sheikh Ayaz son of Sheikh Ghulam Hussain born on 2 March 1923 at Sheikh Mohallah, Shikarpur city. His mother tongue was Sindhi and his ancestors also settled in Sindh since many centuries. He acquired his qualification up to Intermediate from his native town and completed BA, LLB from Karachi where he also started practice of law in 1950. His father was also educated persons and a qualified lawyer. Sheikh Ayaz started writing in early age and his first nazm was published in magazine during 1937. Sheikh Ayaz started with poetry on Sindhi Nationalism and socialism but he turned himself to write poetry about Allah and his blessing even, he also wrote naats. He could speak, write and read in English, Arabic, Urdu, Sindhi, Punjabi and Persian languages.

Sheikh Ayaz formally entered in literature world during 1946 when he wrote short stories which appeared in a popular magazine.  He started writing poetry under guidance of Kheyal Das and constantly wrote from 1947 to 1997, besides taking short break on partition when many of his Hindu friends migrated to India. Partition saddened him due to separation of his friends but suddenly he merged his ideas with Urdu speaking migrants from India and resumed his poetry in Urdu.

He wrote more than 50 books on poetry, biography, plays and short stories in Sindhi and Urdu. He translated Shah Jo Risalo in Urdu, which boosted up him in overall South Asia and especially in Pakistan.  His poetry major role in development of progressive thoughts in country, particularly in province, where there was already very strong imprints of Shah Latif’s mystic poetry. He was a lawyer but he had also served as Vice Chancellor of Sindh University.

Sheikh Ayaz also remained jail mate of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, former PM, during regime of General Ayub Khan. In prison with Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, he promised Sheikh Ayaz for making him VC of Sindh University and Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto appointed Shaikh Ayaz VC of Sindh University on 23 Jan 1976. However, he was discharged from the post in 1980, later he started again his law practice.

Sheikh Ayaz is one of the major voices through poetry and his career spanned almost six decades which covered wide range of poetry, ranging from the traditional poetry i.e wa'i,nazm, "azad nazm"  and ghazals to plays in verse. He also wrote short stories, essays, Operas , travelogues, diaries, translated Shah Jo Risalo in Urdu. He also wrote poetry in Urdu language which was published in two books i.e  Booye Gul, Nala-i-dil". Boi gul was his first book of Urdu poetry whereas" Bhounr Bhire Akas” was his first book of Sindhi poetry.

His love for people of Sindh and Sindhi language is clearly shown in his poetry and has motivated Sindhi youth to thrust for change. He is also regarded as a "romantic and revolutionary poet”. In 2018, a public university was established at Shikarpur and named as Sheikh Ayaz University. Recognizing his services in literary, he was awarded Sitara-i-Imtiaz and Sitara-i-Jurat.

He provided jobs to the first female story writer Sumera Zareen, famous columnist Abdul Qadir Junejo and well-known Sindhi Singer Allan Faqir and many others. It is learnt that he had owned 100,000 books in his personal library. All these books were burnt when protesters attacked his house at Sukkur during ethnic riots in 90s. Later, he prepared new library in his house in Karachi. However, despite the library, his room and bed were so filled with books that there would be space on his bed to sleep.

He had married with Iqbal Begum who was also a famous poet of Sindhi Language. Sheikh Ayaz expired on 28 Dec 1997 in Karachi and was buried at Bhit Shah, nearing to Shah Abdul Bhitai Shrine. He was suffering from cardiac-arrest. He left behind two sons and one daughter in his family.

It is pertinent to mention that that Sheikh Ayaz had wished in his autobiography for his burial in Shikarpur’s “Alif Shah Shaheed graveyard,” adjacent to grave of his sister, “Subhan” or in Clifton beside sea. Since, famous writer and columnist Nasim Bukhari criticized decision made by Sheikh Ayaz’s family regarding burial in Bhit Shah and expressed it a loss for people of Shikarpur.

Post a Comment