Abdul Hameed Adam

(10 April 1910 - 10 March 1981 / Punjab / British India)

Biography of Abdul Hameed Adam

Abdul Hameed Adam poet

Abdul Hameed Adam (Urdu: عبدالحمید عدم) (takhallus: Adam عدم) was a famous Urdu poet of his time. He was born on 10 April 1910 in Punjab, India (in the part of Punjab which is in Pakistan now). Most of the researchers think that he was born in Talwandi Musa Khan, District Gujranwala. However, in one of his own articles published in the "ghazal number" of the literary magazine Fanoon from Lahore, he writes that: since my father was living in Lyallpur (now Faisalabad) in April 1910, my arrival took place there (translation is KhamoshTamashais).

Early Life and Education

He first used the takhallus Akhtar (اختر), then switched to Adam. He was first educated at Gujranwala. Then the family moved to Lahore لاہور. He was enrolled at Islamia High School, Bhati Gate, Lahore, where one of his schoolmates was Meerza (Mirza) Adeeb, a respected Urdu prose writer. According to Meerza Adeeb, young Abdul Hameed was a very good student and his knowledge of Islamiyat was excellent.

When Abdul Hameed was 16 years old, his father passed away in 1926. One of his relatives (later his father in law) supported him and following his Matriculation (10th Grade), got him employed at the Military Account Department, Rawalpindi, in 1927/1928 as a clerk. Soon Abdul Hameed got married. In 1941 he passed the highest exam of his department with distinction.

Personal Life

During the Second World War, he was sent to the Middle East, where he served in Iran and Iraq. In Iraq he fell in love with an Iraqi girl, got married with her, and brought her with him back to India after the end of the War. He was posted to Pune (Poona, Maharashtra, India) where he became excessively involved with friends and started drinking. He would come home very late and disputes started with his Iraqi wife. The second wife soon returned to Iraq and thereafter Adam remained loyal to his first wife till her death in 1978/1979.

Adam by then had himself become chronically ill and he passed away on 10 March 1981. He started writing poetry in his late teens (in late 1920's). It was a time when Akhtar Shirani and Hafeez Jallandhari had captivated people and nazams (poems) were more popular than ghazals.

Poetic Theme

Naghma-e Zaar, a work of Hafeez Jallandhari with "abhi to mein jawaan hoon" had just been published. So it would be safe to assume that he was influenced by such poetry.

Adam is a master of short meters and simplicity of ideas which touch the heart. He is himself characterized by his friends as a simple, straightforward, and honest man. I feel that every young man/woman who understands Urdu and has access to his poetry loves it. He shunned publicity.

He adeptly and fluently uses words like kharaabaat خرابات, adam عدم, mey مے, khirad خرد, hashr خرد (all coming to Urdu from Farsi/Arabic), etc. Farsi terms are blended well. His verses are beautiful and full of musical rhythm.

Works and Publications
There are about four dozen published collections of his Urdu poetry. The first, Naqsh-e Davaam, was published in 1934. It consists mostly of nazams (as opposed to ghazals), and the style is mostly that of Hafeez Jallandhari, Akhtar Shirani, and Josh Malihabadi (all masters of Urdu poetry of that time). He later turned to ghazals. He also wrote masnawis (long poems) and qataats (quatrains).

His publications include Dastaan-e Heer (1959) and a masnawi on Pakistans political history, Jhoot Such (1972). Most of his works are collections of his ghazals.

He was so adept in writing poetry that he could complete a ghazal in a few minutes. The last three works were published following his death. His philosophy is of being patient and content in life and not make difficult for others by being greedy. The suffering and sorrows of the have-nots are expressed very efficiently and in a personal manner.

Abdul Hameed Adam's Works:

Naqsh-e Davaam (1934), Dastaan-e Heer (1959), Jhoot Such (1972)

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