ĀZĀD, MOḤAMMAD-ḤOSAYN, scholar and writer in Urdu and Persian, born about 1834 in Delhi. Āzād cultivated literary and Islamic studies under his father, Mawlānā Moḥammad-Bāqer, a leading journalist in north India, and under the poet Moḥammad-Ebrāhīm Ḏawq. After the Mutiny of 1857, which resulted in his father’s execution by the British, he left Delhi and finally settled in Lahore, where he was employed by the Punjab Education Department. In 1867 he became secretary to the Anjoman-e Panjāb, a literary society founded in 1865 by Dr. G. W. Leitner, the director of the government college, aiming at inducting realistic themes in Urdu poetry. His journeys to Central Asia (on a secret mission for the government of India) and Iran in 1865 and 1883 gave him insight into the life of those regions. In 1887 the British government of India honored him for his services to literature and education. He died at Lahore in 1910.

Āzād’s literary interests touch upon history, biography, literary criticism, journalism, and story-telling, making him an outstanding figure in the nineteenth-century history of Urdu and Persian literature in India. His prose writings are noted for their picturesque style.

Works. The better known of his nearly seventeen published works in Urdu are: Qeṣaṣ-e Hend (Lahore, 1872, repr. Lahore, 1961, Karachi, 1962), a collection of stories from Indian history; Neyrang-e ḵayāl (Karachi, 1961 ), a collection of allegorical stories in moral science adapted from the essays of Samuel Johnson and Joseph Addison (Tārīḵ-eadabīyāt-e mosalmānān-e Pākestān wa Hend IX, pp. 308ff.); Āb-e ḥayāt (Lahore, 1881, 1950, Fayżābād, 1966), a history of Urdu poetry written in a colorful style; Soḵandān-e Pārs (Lahore, 1907), dealing with Indo-Iranian philology, traditions, and the development of Persian prose style (M. Ṣādeq, Āb-e ḥayāt kī ḥemāyat mayn [Ṣādeq, in the defence of the Āb-e ḥayāt], Lahore, 1967, pp. 382-84); Darbār-e akbarī (ed. Mīr Momtāz ʿAlī, Lahore, 1898, ed. Moḥammad-Ebrāhīm, Lahore, 1910, Lucknow, ca. 1965), a biographical work on some courtiers of the emperor Akbar of India (ibid.); Negārestān-e Pārs (Lahore, 1922) on nearly thirty-six Persian poets of Iran and India from Rūdakī to Ārzū. The Dīvān of Ḏawq Dehlavī, edited by Āzād, carries useful notes. A selection of Āzād’s articles has been published by Āḡā Moḥammad-Bāqer, Maqālāt-e Mawlānā Moḥammad Ḥosayn Āzād, Lahore, 1966. His Dīvān was published under the title Naẓm-e Āzād, Lahore, 1910.



Tārīḵ-eadabīyāt-e mosalmānān-e Pākestān wa Hend, ed. S. F. Maḥmūd and ʿE. Barelvi, Lahore, IX, 1972, pp. 308ff.

B. A. Saksena, A History of Urdu Literature, Allahabad, 1927, pt. 2, pp. 46ff.

Moḥammad-Yaḥyā Tanhā, Sīar al-moṣannefīn, Delhi, 1924, pt. 2, p. 158.

Shaikh ʿAbd-al-Qāder, New School of Urdu Literature, Lahore, 1921, pp. 31-49.

Ḡolām Ḥosayn, Oriental College Magazine, Lahore, May, 1962, p. 139.

M. Šafīʿ, “Šams-al-ʿolamāʾ Mawlānā Moḥammad Ḥosayn Āzād,” ibid., February, 1961, pp. 19-29.

Dāʾerat al-maʿāref-e eslāmī, Lahore, 1972, pp. 110-14.

M. Bāqer, Supplement to the Oriental College Magazine, Lahore, February, 1939.

M. Ṣādeq, Muhammad Husain Azad: His Life and Work, Lahore, 1965.

Idem, History of Urdu Literature, London, 1964, pp. 288-302.

Jahān Bānū Begom, Moḥammad-Ḥosayn Āzād, Hyderabad (Deccan), 1940 (in Urdu).

Rażawī Masʿūd Ḥasan, Āb-e ḥayāt kā tanqīd moṭālaʿa (A critical Study of the Āb-e ḥayāt). Lucknow, 1953.

EI2, Supp., p. 107.

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 آزاد، محمد حسین azad, mohammad hosayn aazaad,mohammad hosein azad,mohamad hossein


(K. N. Pandita)

Originally Published: December 15, 1987

Last Updated: August 18, 2011

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Vol. III, Fasc. 2, p. 171