Mustafa Zaidi (Urdu: مصطفیٰ زیدی) (1970–1930) was a progressive Urdu poet whose work and literary accomplishments remain popular and relevant today. He was born on 16 October 1930 in Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh (UP), India to Lakhte Hasnain and Binte Haider.
Mustafa Zaidi’s first book of nazms, Zangeerein/Roshni (Chains/Light), was published in Allahabad in 1949, under the pseudonym “Tegh Allahabadi” (Sword of Allahabad), when he was just nineteen. Zangeerein was endorsed by two legendary Urdu poets Josh Malihabadi and Firaq Gorakhpuri, who became mentors for young Tegh Allahabadi. The second edition was published as Roshni in Lahore in 1950. After moving to Pakistan, the poet dropped his pseudonym “Tegh Allahabadi” and continued to write poetry as “Mustafa Zaidi”.
Mustafa Zaidi is believed[by whom?] to have been murdered in an apartment in Karachi where he was residing, and his body was found alongside Shahnaz Saleem — a popular socialite — who was initially charged with murder. After a media circus and a prolonged and complicated court case, the cause of death was deemed to be suicide. The mysterious circumstances and controversies leading to Mustafa Zaidi’s death on October 12, 1970, at age 39 made regular headlines in newspapers in Pakistan and threatened to overshadow his legacy as a poet.