Seemab Akbarabadi (Urdu: سیماب اکبرآبادی), born Aashiq Hussain Siddiqui, was a renowned Urdu poet belonging to the Daagh School. He hailed from Agra where his family had lived for nearly three hundred years.

Early Life

Seemab Akbarabadi, a descendant of Abu Bakr Siddiqui, the First Khalifa of Islam, was born in Imliwale makaan of Kakoo Gali, Nai Mandi, Agra, as the eldest son of Mohammad Hussain Siddiqui, who was himself a Urdu poet, author of several books, a disciple of Hakim Amiruldin Attaar Akbarabadi, and an employee of the Times of India Press, Ajmer. Seemab had said that his fore-father had migrated from Bukhara sometime during the reign of the Mughal Emperor Jahangir and made Agra his home, however, according to Mohan Lal his great grand father had migrated from Bokhara during Aurangzeb's reign. Seemab learnt Persian, Arabic and logic from Jamaluddin Sarhadi and Rashid Ahmed Ganguli. The untimely demise of his father in 1897 forced Seemab to give up his studies and seek a livelihood first in Agra and then in Kanpur before joining Railways service at Ajmer from where he resigned in 1922 and returned to Agra. In the year 1923 he founded Qasr-ul-adab, a publishing house. He had 4 sons and 2 daughters and the youngest son, Mazhar Siddiqui, continued his work in Karachi and published many unpublished works of Seemab Akbarabadi.

Literary Life

Seemab began ghazal writing in 1892 and in 1898 became a disciple of Nawab Mirza Khan Daagh Dehlawi (1831–1905) to whom he was personally introduced by Munshi Nazar Hussain Sakhaa Dehlawi at the Kanpur Railway Station. After founding " Qasr-ul-adab " in the year 1923 with Saghar Nizami as its editor, he started publishing the Monthly " Paimana ". Thereafter, in the year 1929 he started the Weekly " Taj " and in 1930 the Monthly " Shair ". The publication of " Paimana " was stopped in 1932 when Saghar Nizami separated from Seemab and moved to Meerut. " Shair " continued to be published long after Seemab’s death, managed and edited (since 1935) by his son, Aijaz Siddiqi, and " Wahi-e-manzoom " published by his son Mazhar Siddiqui from Karachi was graced by HIJRA AWARD on 27th of Ramzan by the then President of Pakistan, Genaral Zia-Ul-Haq.

Seemab never enjoyed comfortable financial position. But though he was short in stature, he always appeared immaculately dressed in a neat sherwani and white wide payjama with a Turkish topi covering his head. He did not support a beard. Seemab wrote in all literary formats and on all social and political aspects; like Iqbal and Hali he too was a crusader who spoke from the heart. In 1948, he went to Lahore and then to Karachi in search of a publisher for his monumental work, " Wahi -e - Manzoom ", an Urdu translation in verse form of the Quran. He failed to find a publisher. Seemab did not return to Agra for in 1949 he suffered a massive paralytic stroke from which he never recovered and died on 31 January 1951. His translation of the Quran was published thirty years later.


Beginning with the publication of his first collection of poems," Naistaan ", in the year 1923,and up to 1982 in all seventy five books of Seemab Akbarabadi came to light, these included twenty two of poetry and " Loh-e-mahfooz " (1979)," Wahi-e-manzoom " (1981) and " Saaz-e-hijaz " (1982) published long after his death.He is more known by his ghazals particularly by those sung by Kundan Lal Saigal. He wrote far more than what is contained in these books. He also wrote short stories, novels, dramas, biographies & critical appraisals and was acknowledged as a master of Urdu, Persian and Arabic language & grammar. According to one count there were 375 disciples of his, more prominent being Saghar Nizami (1905–1983), Mehr Lal Soni Zia Fatehabadi (1913–1986), Raaz Chandpuri (1892–1969), Bismil Saeedi (1902–1972), Altaf Mashhadi (1914–1991)), Zia Jalandhari (1923 - ), Nissar Itawi, Shifa Gwaliori (1912–1968), Nazish Pratapgarhi (1924–1981) and Turfa Qureshi and Hafiz Mazhar ud din (1914–1981). Many of his unforgettable ghazals were put to music and sung by noted singers such as Kundan Lal Saigal and continued to charm the listeners. Today, they are a part of Indian Light Classical music. Seemab's thoughts are enshrined in solemn and sublime chastity.


A lot has been said and written about Seemab Akbarabadi. The most important works on his life and literary contribution are,- 1)" Dastan-e-chand " written by Raaz Chandpuri, 2)" Islah-ul-islah " by Abar Ahsani Ginnauri, 3)" Khumkhana-e-Javed " Vol 4 by Lala Sri Ram, 4) " Zikr-e-Seemab " and 5)" Seemab banaam Zia ", both by Mehr Lal Soni Zia Fatehabadi, 6)" Seemab Akbarabadi " by Dr.Manohar Sahai Anwar M.A.Ph.D., 7)" Rooh-e-Mukatib " by Saghar Nizami, 8)" Seemab Ki Nazmiya " Shayari by Dr. Zarina Sani M.A.PhD. and 9)" Seemab aur Dabistan-e- Seemab " by Dr. Iftikhar Ahmed Fakhar M.A.Ph.D., Former Head of Urdu and Persian Deptt.,M.J.College, Jalgaon. The last named two books are doctoral dissertations on Seemab Akbarabadi's life and works.

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