The poet William Wordsworth was born in 1770. By   the time of his death in 1850 he had produced some of English poetry’s greatest works and influenced future generations of poets. Daffodils was composed in 1804, two years after he saw the flowers walking by Ullswater on a stormy day with Dorothy.

William Shakespeare (born and died on the same date, 23 April, 1564-1616) was an English poet and playwright widely regarded as the greatest writer of the English language, and as the world’s preeminent dramatist. He wrote approximately 38 plays and 154 sonnets, as well as a variety of other poems. He is often considered to be England’s national poet and is sometimes referred to as the “Bard of Avon” or the “Swan of Avon”.

Faiz Ahmed Faiz was born in Sialkot in 1911, educated in Pakistan with a double Masters in English Literature and Arabic Literature. He lectured in India and Pakistan both and also joined British India Army as a Lt. Colonel. He moved to Pakistan in 1947. Faiz was an avowed communist and was associated with Communist Party in Pakistan. Faiz spent much of the 1950s and 1960s promoting the cause of communism in Pakistan. During the time when Faiz was editor of The Pakistan Times, one of the leading newspapers of 50s, he lent editorial support to the Communist Party.

English – born poet, Waystan Hugh Auden, whose world   view developed from youthful rebellion to rediscovered Anglo-Catholicism.   In his work Auden reconciled tradition and modernism. Auden is widely   considered among the greatest literary figures of the 20th century.

Mirza Asadullah Baig Khan (27 December 1796 — 15 February 1869), was a renowned classical Urdu and Persian poet of the subcontinent. He is considered to be the most dominating poet of the Urdu language. Ghalib’s early education has always been a matter of confusion. There are no known records of his formal education, although it was known that his circle of friends in Delhi were some of the most intelligent minds of the time. Around 1810, he was married into a family of nobles, at the age of thirteen. He had seven children, none of whom survived (this pain has found its echo in some of Ghalib’s ghazals). There are conflicting reports regarding his relationship with his wife. She was considered to be pious, conservative and God-fearing while Ghalib was carefree, unconventional without any scruples, and arguably not very religious, in the strict sense of the word. Ralph Russel says, “If his (Ghalib’s) language had been English, he would have been recognised all over the world as a great poet long ago”. One of the verses, “Bandagi men bhi vuh azada o khud-bin hain ki ham Ulte phir ae dar e kaba agar va na hua”, translated by Ralph as, “We serve You, yet our independent self regard is such, we shall at once turn back if we would find the Kaba closed”

Sahir Ludhianvi, A colossus amongst indian film lyricists, his pen was, at its best, pouring out bitter but sensitive lyrics over the declining values of society, the senselessness of war and politics, and the domination of materialism over love. Whenever he wrote any love songs, they were tinged with sorrow, due to realisation that there were other, starker concepts more important than love.

Plato was not the first thinker or writer to whom the word “philosopher” should be applied but the subject of philosophy, as it is often conceived—a rigorous and systematic examination of ethical, political, metaphysical, and epistemological issues, armed with a distinctive method—can be called his invention.

One of my all time favorites is “Thornbirds” by Colleen McCullough (1978). The whole book is summarised in the first and the last paragraphs and I have read just these two paragraphs probably a hundred times in my life so far and intend to read them again and again.


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