Abdul Qavi Desnavi (Urdu: عبدالقوى دسنوى), November 1, 1930 - July 7, 2011) was an Indian eminent Writer, Critic, Bibliographist, Linguist and Scholar of Urdu language. He has authored more than 50 books on Urdu literature. His books also translated in other languages. His important work was about Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, Mirza Ghalib, Allama Muhammad Iqbal and litterateurs of Bhopal. He was recipient of several awards . He received Senior Fellowship from the Union Ministry of Culture, Govt. of India. His great treatise was a voluminous book on one of India’s frontline freedom fighter and first Union Education Minister Maulana Abul Kalam Azad over 900 pages titled "Hayat-e-Abul Kalam Azad" which he penned in the year 2000. It was acclaimed nationally and internationally.
Desnavi was born on November 1, 1930 in village Desna of block Asthawan in Nalanda district Bihar. He was belonged to the family of Great Muslim scholar Syed Sulaiman Nadvi, who was one of the eminent historian and biographers of the Islamic prophet Muhammad, during his times. He was the 2nd son of late Prof. S.M. Saeed Raza, who was Professor of Urdu, Arabic and Persian languages in St. Xavier's College, Mumbai. His elder brother was Prof. Syed Mohi Raza and younger brother was Syed Abdul Wali Desnavi.
Many scholars,poets and teachers of today such as lyricist Javed Akhtar, Poet Mushtaq Singh, Prof. Muzaffar Hanfi, Selani Silwatte, Prof. Khalid Mehmood, Prof. Mohammed Naumaan Khan, Prof. Afaq Husain Siddiqui, Poet Iqbal Masood, Dr.Iqbal Masood Nadvi, Ahsam Uddin Farooqui, Khurshid Akhtar, Mohammed Naseem, Dr. Qamar Ali Shah, Prof. Yaqoob Yawar, Molana Sharafat Ali Nadvi, Prof. Arjumand Bano Afshan etc. were under his tutelage during their student days in Bhopal and are now sparkling in the Urdu world. Under his guidance many students attained PhD degrees.
Desnavi had his primary education in Arrah town of Bihar state. After completing his Graduation & Post Graduation in First Division from St. Xavier's College, Mumbai, he joined Department of Urdu in Saifia Post Graduate College in February 1961. He became Professor and Head of the Urdu Department of Saifia P.G. College. He was well-known literary figure in India and in the Urdu world. He retired in 1990. He was also holding many honorary positions as,
• Additional Principal of Saifia Post Graduate College, Bhopal,(1983–1985).
• Secretary of Madhya Pradesh Urdu Academy, Bhopal, (1991–92).
• Elected Member Majlis E Aam Anjuman Taraqqui Urdu (Hind), New Delhi (1979–1984).
• Member of All India Anjuman Taraqui Urdu Board, New Delhi, (1977–1978).
• Member of Program Advisory Committee, All India Radio, Bhopal (1978–1979).
• Member Executive Council, Barkatullah University Bhopal, (1980–1982).
• Chairman of Board of Studies,Urdu, Persian & Arabic, Barkatullah University Bhopal, (1977– 1980) and (1984–1985).
• Dean Faculty of Arts, Barkatullah University Bhopal, (1980–1982).
• Member Working Committee, Taj-ul-Masajid, Bhopal (1997-2007)
• Shibli Award, Mumbai, 1957.
• Senior Fellowship, Ministry of Education & Culture, Government Of India for 4 Years, 1979-1983.
• Awarded Sanad “Imteyaz Meer” All India Meer Academy, Lucknow 1981.
• Nawab Siddique Hasan Khan Provincial Award, Bhopal 1986.
• Bihar Urdu Academy Award, for recognition of Urdu services (1988–89) and (1989–90)
• All India "Parvez Shahidi Award" West Bengal Urdu Academy, Calcutta 1998.
• Ek Aur Mashriqi Kutub Khana Publisher, Jamiat Tulba, Desna, 1954.
• Qadir Nama-E—Ghalib 1971.
• Anis Numa 1973.
• Nazr e Sajjad (1974)
• Hindustan Main Iqbaliat 1976.
• Talash o Taasur Publisher, Naseem Book Depot, 1977.
• Mirza Salaamat Ali Dabeer 1977.
• Bachon Ka Iqbal 1978.
• Iqbaliat Ki Talash Makataba Jamia, 1984.
• Armoghan e Saifia, 1986.
• Mahanama Lisan-un-Sidque 1988.
• Talash-i-Azad,Shaqsiyat,Khidmat,Chand Jhelkian Maktaba Jamia-New Delhi, 1990.
• Masreen wa Mutaliqat Azad, Publisher Nai Awaz Jamia Nagar New Delhi.
• Dur Dais Se 2005
Books Translated in other Languages
• Abul Kalam Azad Hindi language Translated by Janki Prashad sharma, Publisher Sahitya Akademi(1987)
• Abul Kalam Azad Punjabi language Translated Inder Singh Raz Publisher Sahitya Akademi (1988)
• Abul Kalam Azad English language Translated Syeda Syedain Hamid Publisher Sahitya Akademi(1991)
• Abul Kalam Azad Maithili language Translated Fazlur Rehman Hashmi Publisher Sahitya Akademi Academy(1994)
Awards on Books
• Sat Tahriren, Uttar Pradesh Urdu Academy Lucknow, 1975.
• Uneesween Sadi Mein Iqbal, Bihar Urdu Academy Patna, 1977.
• Motala-E-Khotoot Ghalib, Bihar Urdu Academy Patna, 1979.
• Motala-E-Ghobar-E-Khatir, Bihar Urdu Academy Patna, 1981.
• Iqbaliat Ki Talash, Bihar Urdu Academy Patna, 1984.
• Abul Kalam Azad Academy, Bihar Urdu Academy Patna, 1987.
• Yadgar e Suleman, Maghribi Bengal Urdu Academy Calcutta, 1984.
• Talash e Azad Uttar Pradesh Urdu Academy Lucknow, 1991.
• Talash e Azad Bihar Urdu Academy Patna, 1991.
• Talash e Azad West Bengal Urdu Academy Calcutta, 1993.
• Urdu Shairi Ki Gayarah Awazain Uttar Pradesh Urdu Academy Lucknow, 1993.
• Urdu Shairi Ki Gayarah Awazain Bihar Urdu Academy Patna, 1993.
Illness and Death
Prof. Desnavi died at about 5 am on 7 July 2011 in a private hospital where he was admitted following complaints of old age related diseases. He is survived by his wife, three sons and four daughters and a large number of relatives and literary friends to mourn his loss. He was buried to rest in Bada- Bagh graveyard in the evening after “Maghrib” prayers wherein a large number of literary personalities and elite of the town participated in his funeral procession.