Renowned Urdu Poet Munawwar Rana Passes Away at 71 in Lucknow

Urdu Poet Munawwar Rana

Munawwar Rana, the distinguished Urdu poet known for his significant contributions to literature, breathed his last on Sunday night at the Sanjay Gandhi Postgraduate Institute of Medical Sciences (SGPGI) Hospital in Lucknow. He was 71. Rana had been battling a prolonged illness, encompassing cancer, kidney issues, and heart-related ailments, over the past several months.

The news of Rana’s demise was confirmed by his family. His daughter, Sumaiya Rana, shared that the poet would be laid to rest on Monday. Rana’s son, Tabrez Rana, provided details of his father’s medical journey, stating, “He was hospitalized for 14 to 15 days due to illness. He was first admitted to Medanta in Lucknow and then to SGPGI, where he breathed his last around 11 p.m. on Sunday.”

Survived by his wife, four daughters, and a son, Munawwar Rana was born on November 26, 1952, in Rae Bareli, Uttar Pradesh. He gained widespread recognition for his work in Urdu literature, particularly for his ghazals. Rana’s poetic style was characterized by its accessibility, often incorporating Hindi and Awadhi words while avoiding Persian and Arabic, making his work resonate with Indian audiences.

His most celebrated poem, ‘Maa,’ showcased the virtues of motherhood within the traditional ghazal form.

Over the course of his illustrious career, Rana received numerous awards, including the Sahitya Akademi Award in 2014 for his poetry book ‘Shahdaba.’ However, he returned the award a year later, expressing concerns over rising intolerance in the country.

Other notable awards bestowed upon him include the Ameer Khusro Award, Mir Taqi Mir Award, Ghalib Award, Dr Zakir Hussain Award, and the Saraswati Samaj Award. His literary works have been translated into several languages.

Rana spent a significant part of his life in Kolkata and played an active role in mushairas, both in India and abroad. Apart from his literary endeavors, he was involved in political developments in Uttar Pradesh. His daughter Sumaiya is a member of the Samajwadi Party (SP), led by Akhilesh Yadav.

Despite his literary acclaim, Rana often found himself embroiled in controversies due to his statements. Notable instances include expressing support for the Taliban and drawing comparisons with Maharishi Valmiki. He also faced criticism for endorsing the murder of Samuel Paty in Paris in 2020 over a controversy related to Prophet Mohammad.

Munawwar Rana’s demise marks the end of an era in Urdu literature, leaving behind a legacy that will be remembered for its poetic brilliance and the controversies that surrounded it.

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