Jaun Elia ( Urdu: جون ایلیا ‎, 14 December 1931 – 8 November 2002) was a Pakistani Urdu poet, philosopher, biographer, and scholar. He was the brother of Rais Amrohvi and Syed Muhammad Taqi, who were journalists and psychoanalysts. He was fluent in Urdu, Arabic, English, Persian, Sanskrit and Hebrew. One of the most prominent modern Pakistani poets, popular for his unconventional ways, [13] his particular trademark is due to the fact that he "acquired knowledge of philosophy, logic, Islamic history, the Muslim Sufi tradition, Muslim religious sciences, Western literature, and Kabbala." [14]

Early life

Jaun Elia was born on 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 finally accepted it as a compromise. He migrated to Pakistan in 1957, and decided to live in Karachi. Poet Pirzada Qasim said:

Jaun was very particular about language. While his diction is rooted in the classical tradition, he touches on new subjects. He remained in quest of an ideal all his life. Unable to find the ideal eventually, he became angry and frustrated. He felt, perhaps with reason, that he had squandered his talent.

Personal life

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

World view

Jaun Elia says 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 did not identify himself with a sect or religion. He termed himself an agnostic. [15] His political views allied closely with communism. He believed himself to be a migrant and an anarchist.


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


Poetry collections

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

Inshaye aur Mazaameen

  • Farnood (published by Khalid Ahmed Ansari)

Prose work (mainly translations)

It is not known to many that Jaun Elia was not just a poet but was also an editor and a translator, especially 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 some of his translations from Arabic and Persian. Not only did he translate these books but also introduced several new words in Urdu language, perhaps more than any other bastion of the language. [16]


Jaun Elia passed away on November 08, 2002 and was laid to rest in Karachi, Pakistan.