Aurangzeb Khan or Qateel Shifai (Urdu: قتیل شفا ئی ) was an Urdu poet From Pakistan. He was born in Haripur, Hazara Division, British India (now Pakistan).
He adopted Qateel Shifai as his pen name in 1938 under which he was known in the world of Urdu poetry.”Qateel” was his “takhallus” and “Shifai” was in honour of his ustaad (master) Hakeem Mohammed ‘Shifa’ whom he considered his mentor.
Due to his father’s early death, Qateel was forced to quit his education. He started his own sporting goods shop. Being unsuccessful in his business he decided to move to Rawalpindi, where he started working for a transport company and earned about 60 Rupees a month. In 1946, he was called to Lahore by Nazir Ahmed to work as the assistant editor of the monthly ‘Adab-e-Latif’, a literary magazine published since 1936. His first ghazal was published in the Lahore weekly ‘Star’, edited by Qamar Ajnalvi.
In January 1947, Qateel was asked to pen the songs of a film by a Lahore based film producer. The first film he penned the lyrics for was “Teri Yaad”. After working for some time as assistant lyricist to some of the famous poets/lyricists of the time, he eventually became a regular film lyricist and won numerous awards in due course. Over 20 collections of verse and over 2,500 songs for Pakistani and Indian films were published. His poetry has been translated into numerous languages including Hindi, Gujarati, English, Russian and Chinese. He also produced a film in his mother language—Hindko—in 1970. It was the first Hindko film which was named “Qissa Khwani”. The film was released in 1980.
He died on 11 July 2001 in Lahore. The street on which he lived in Lahore has been named Qateel Shifai Street after him. There is also a sector of Haripur city that has been named after him – Mohallah Qateel Shafai. He received the ‘Pride of Performance Award’ in 1994 for his contribution to literature, ‘Adamjee Award’, ‘Naqoosh Award’, ‘Abbasin Arts Council Award’ and ‘Amir Khusro Award’ in India.
Here is a ghazal penned by him and made very popular by the late Jagjit Singh:
sadma to hai mujhe bhii ki tujhse judaa huu.N mai.n
lekin ye sochtaa huu.N ki ab teraa kyaa huu.N mai.n
I too am sorrowful that I am separated from you; Then again I wonder, now who am I to you
bikhraa padaa hai tere hii ghar mein teraa vajuud
bekaar mehafilonn mein tujhe Dhuundhtaa hoon main
Your identity lies scattered in your own home; Such a waste that I search for you in gatherings and parties
Main Khudkhushii ke jurm kaa kartaa hoon aitaraaf
apne badan kii qabr mein kab-se gadaa hoon main
I admit to the crime of suicide; I have long been buried in the coffin of my own body
kis-kiska naam laoon zabaan par ki tere saath
har roz ek shaKhs nayaa dekhataa hoon main
Which all names should I bring to my mouth, as with you
Every day a new person I get to see
kya jaane kis adaa se liyaa tuune mera naam
duniyaa samajh rahii hai ke sab kuchh teraa hoon main
I wonder with what charm you took my name
The whole world now understands, that I am everything for you (I am your world)
le mere tajrubon se sabak ae mere raqiib
do chaar saal umr mein tujhase badaa hoon main
Learn from my experiences, my rival in love
I am, after all, two to four years older to you
jaagaa huaa zamiir vo aaiinaa hai “Qateel”
sone se pahale roz jise dekhataa hoon main
An awakened conscience is that mirror, Qateel (name of poet)
Before I go to sleep, I see it every day
Link to the ghazal sung by Jagjit Singh: