Ahmad Nadeem Qasmi (Urdu: احمد ندیم قاسمی) born Ahmad Shah Awan(Urdu: احمد شاہ اعوان) on 20 November 1916 – died 10 July 2006, was an Urduand English language Pakistani poet, journalist, literary critic, dramatist and short story author. He wrote 50 books on topics such as poetry, fiction, criticism, journalism and art, and was a major figure in contemporary Urdu literature. His poetry was distinguished by its humanism, and his Urdu afsana (short story) work is considered by some second only to Prem Chand in its depiction of rural culture. He was also editor and publisher of the literary magazine Funoon for almost half a century. He received awards such as the Pride of Performance in 1968 and Sitara-e-Imtiazin 1980 for his literary work.
Qasmi was born in the village of Anga in Khushab District, British India. He graduated from a high school in Campbellpur in 1931, (now renamed Attock city in Pakistan), around the time when he wrote his first poem. Later he studied at Sadiq Egerton College in Bahawalpur. He graduated from the University of the Punjab, Lahore in 1935. He had a brother, Peerzada Mohammad Bakhsh Qasmi, and a sister. He became an active member of the Progressive Writers Movement as a secretary, and was consequently arrested many times during the 1950s and 1970s. He died on 10 July 2006 of complications from asthma at Punjab Institute of Cardiologyin Lahore.
Qasmi had a long career as a writer and editor. He edited several prominent literary journals, including Phool, Tehzeeb-i-Niswaan, Adab-i-Lateef, Savera, Naqoosh, and his own journal, Funoon. He also worked as the editor of the Urdu daily Imroze. Qasimi contributed weekly columns to national newspapers like Rawan Dawan and Daily Jang for several decades. His poetry has included both traditional ghazals and modern nazms.
In 1948, he was selected as the secretary general of the Anjuman-e-Taraqqi Pasand Musannifeen(Progressive Writers Movement) for Punjab. In 1949, he was elected the secretary-general of the organisation for Pakistan. In 1962, Qasmi published his own literary magazine Fanoon, with the support of writers and poets including Khadija Mastoor, Hajra Masroor, Ahmed Faraz, Amjad Islam Amjad, Ata ul Haq Qasmi, and Munnu Bhai . Qasami was the mentor of poet Parveen Shakir. In 1974, he was appointed secretary-general of Majlis-Taraqee-Adab, a literary body established by the government of West Pakistan in 1958.
In December 2011, Professor Fateh Muhammad Malik and noted columnist Ata ul Haq Qasmi arranged a seminar on the life and achievements of Ahmad Nadeem Qasmi at the International Islamic University, Islamabad. His literary work has been appreciated and admired by Urdu writers, poets and critics, although there is also criticism of his literary work and of his personality. Fateh Muhammad Malik is a long-time friend of Ahmed Nadeem Qasmi. In his book about the life and personality of Ahmed Nadeem Qasmi called ‘Nadeem Shanasi’, he gives the impression that it is evident from Qasmi’s letters to him that Qasmi had a buried disliking for Faiz and perhaps considered himself a poet greater than Faiz. “The letters also reveal that Qasmi had a narcissistic personality and an inflated ego when it came to his contemporaries. He consciously or unconsciously tried to belittle Faiz, though without much effect.”
An example of Qasmi’s writing style is:
A translation is:
- Chopaal (1939)
- Gandasa was also a source of inspiration for the legendary character of 1979 film Maula Jatt
- Kapaas ka Phool
- ghar se ghar tak