To commemorate the occasion, I am reposting a remembrance of Faraz Sahib by my sister Atiya B. Khan:
I had the honor of meeting Ahmad Faraz 26 years ago in Washington. A local Urdu literary society, the Aligarh Alumni Association, had invited him to recite at a gathering they had organized in his honor—a Mushaira, or poetry reading. This was after he had left Pakistan under pressure from military strongman Zia-ul-Haq's government. My husband and I were asked by the Aligarh Alumni Association to host him for a week, but in that short time we became fast friends, so his stay turned first into a month and then it ended up being almost a year. This was the beginning of a lifelong relationship and he gradually became like a member of our family. We would visit with him at least once a year in Pakistan, and he visited us just as often. Though he became one of our closest friends, we always addressed him by the honorific name “Faraz Sahib” (Mr. Faraz) out of respect, and that is how I shall refer to him here.
As far as Urdu poetry goes, none of his contemporaries could touch Faraz Sahib, or even come close. The superiority of his poetry owes much to his personal qualities: the boldness of his thought, his willingness to fight oppression and his very costly (to himself) political activism, his rebellious nature, and of course his romantic worldview.