Jaun Elia: The Magnificent Poet and Scholar of Pakistan

Jaun Elia: The Magnificent Poet and Scholar of Pakistan

Jaun Elia (Urdu: جون ایلیا‎, 14 December 1931 – 8 November 2002) was a renowned Pakistani Urdu poet, philosopher, biographer, and scholar. He was the brother of Rais Amrohvi and Syed Muhammad Taqi, who were the active journalists and psychoanalysts. He was fluent in the languages of Urdu, Arabic, English, Persian, Sanskrit and Hebrew. One of the most notable modern Pakistani poets, popular for his unconventional ways, his specific trademark is because of the fact that he “acquired knowledge of philosophy, logic, Islamic history, the Muslim Sufi tradition, Muslim religious sciences, Western literature, and Kabbala.”

Early life of Jaun Elia

Jaun Elia was born on the day of 14 December 1931 in Amroha, Uttar Pradesh, India. He was the youngest of his siblings. His father, Shafiq Hasan Elia, worked in art and literature. Shafiq was also an astrologer and a poet.

During his youth, Pakistan became an independent Muslim state. Being a communist, Elia was averse to the idea, but ultimately accepted it as a compromise. He shifted to Pakistan in the year of 1957, and decided to live in Karachi city.

Personal life

He was married to renowned columnist Zahida Hina, but separated from her later on.

World view

Jaun Elia claims that he was born on 13th of Rajab, the birthdate of Imam Ali. He also claimed to be from a Syed family (descendants of the Islamic Prophet Mohammad). He had also studied at Deoband School of Islamic Jurisprudence.

But despite that he didn’t recognize himself with a sect or religion. He termed himself an agnostic. His political views allied closely with communism. He considered himself to be a migrant and an anarchist.


On the day of 8 November 2000 he was awarded Presidential Award for Pride of Performance from the Government of Pakistan for his commendable services in Urdu literature.


Poetry collections

  • Shayad (1990)
  • Ya’ani (2003)
  • Gumaan (2004)
  • Lekin (2006)
  • Goyaa (2008)

Inshaye aur Mazaameen

  • Farnood (issued by Khalid Ahmed Ansari)

Prose work (mainly translations)

It is not known to several people that Jaun Elia was not just a poet but was also an editor and a translator, particularly of old Sufi, Mutazili and Ismaili treatises.

  • Masih-i-Baghdad Hallaj,
  • Jometria,
  • Tawasin,
  • Isaghoji,
  • Rahaish-o-Kushaish,
  • Farnod, Tajrid,
  • Masail-i-Tajrid,
  • Rasail Ikhwan al Safa

Above are few of his translations from the languages of Arabic and Persian. Not just did he translate these books but also introduced various new words in Urdu language, perhaps more than any other bastion of the language.




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