Jan Nisar Akhtar (18 February 1914–19 August 1976) was an important 20th-century Indian poet of Urdu ghazals and nazms, and a part of the Progressive Writers’ Movement, who was also a lyricist for Bollywood.
His career spanned four decades during which he worked with music composers including C. Ramchandra, O.P. Nayyar, N Dutta and Khayyam and wrote 151 songs. Notable among them were songs from his breakthrough film, AR Kardar’s Yasmin (1955), Aankhon hi Aankhon Mein in Guru Dutt’s CID (1956), Yeh dil aur unki nigahon ke saaye in Prem Parbat (1974) and Aaja re in Noorie (1979) and his last song, Ae Dil-e-naadaan, in Kamal Amrohi’s Razia Sultan (1983).
His poetry works include Nazr-e-Butaan, Salaasil, Javidaan, Pichali Pehar, Ghar Angan and Khaak-e-dil. The latter (“The Ashes of Heart”) was a poetry collection for which he was awarded the 1976 Sahitya Akademi Award in Urdu by Sahitya Akademi, India’s National Academy of Letters.