Renowned Urdu poet Syed Aal-e-Raza ‘Raza’ is considered to be among the finest poets of his era. He was born on 10th June 1896, in Unnao district and his father, Syed Mohammad Raza was one of the first five judges of the Awadh Chief Court in 1928. Raza obtained his BA from Canning College, Lucknow in 1916, and passed LLB from Allahabad in 1920 and started practicing law in Lucknow. In 1921 he moved to Pratap Garh, where he continued to practice till 1927. After 1927, he relocated to Lucknow.
Raza started writing poetry while he was located in PratapGarh But, it was 1922, when he religiously started writing Ghazals and, corresponding through letters, he became a pupil of Aarzu Lakhnavi and received corrections from him. In 1929, the first collection of his ghazals named, ‘Nawa-e-Raza’, was published from Lucknow and in 1959, the second collection, Ghazal-e-Mo.alla, was published from Karachi. Raza recited his first Marsiya (elegy) on 3rd April 1939 at Nazim Sahib’s Imam Barha, Lucknow, in a gathering which saw a host of Lucknow scholars, writers, poets and connoisseurs of poetry. Both of his Marsiyas were published simultaneously in 1944 from Lucknow.
Towards the end of his life, he had forsaken Ghazal composing and wrote only quatrains, salaams and Marsiyas. He wrote about 80 quatrains, 45 Salaams, and 20 Marsiyas. Raza left Lucknow in 1948, his friends tried to stop him but their compassion and love were not able to curb his determination and eventually, he moved to Karachi. In Noor Bagh, Karachi, Raza recited his Marsiya ‘Shahadat Se Pahle’, eventually becoming Pakistan’s first Marsiya-composer. Raza was also extremely instrumental in establishing and encouraging the Marsiya-composing tradition in Karachi. Raza passed away on March 1, 1978, and is laid to rest at Ali Bagh cemetery in Karachi.