या मुझे अफसरे शाहा न बनाया होता – ज़फर

Bahadur Shah Zafar, the last Mughal king was also a poet. Though his literary standing was not as high as as his Ustad (Mohd. Ibhrahim Zauk) or his contemporaries Ghalib and Momin; his writings are much respected and appreciated. Zafar was a king (though in British raaj his kingdom did not extend beyond the red fort) and a freedom fighter.

This ghazal is one of his finest works specially when you read it in context to India’s freedom struggle and a helpless (and impotent when it came to doing anything for his country and men) king’s sentiments.

या मुझे अफसरे शाहा न बनाया होता
या मेरा ताज गदाया न बनाया होता

खाकसारी के लिए गरचे बनाया था मुझे
काश संगे-दरे-जाना न बनाया होता

नशा-ए-इश्क का गर ज़र्फ दिया था मुझको
उम्र का तंग न पैमाना बनाया होता

रोज़ मामूरा-ए-दुनिया में खराबी है ‘जफर’
ऐसी बस्ती से तो वीराना बनाया होता

अफसरे शाहा – शहंशाह
गदाया – भीख में मिला हुआ
खाकसारी – नम्रता, politeness
संगे-दरे-जाना – महबूब के दरवाज़े का पत्थर
ज़र्फ – योग्यता
तंग -छोटा, पैमाना – नाप actual meaning of paimana is wine goblet
मामूरा – शहर

Dr. Zarina Sani, my Ammi.

http://www.zarinasani.org goes live today. It is a website about mother-in-in law, Dr. Zarina Sani’s literary works.

I find it difficult to describe the range of emotions I went through while creating this site. I smiled, laughed, cried and marveled at the way she expressed herself. Through her writings I even got a glimpse of my husband’s childhood (मेरा फनकार)

Never having met her, I only knew her through my husband, Tarique , my brother-in-law Nadeem and the others in the family. My father-in-law would talk a lot about her to me and he regularly read out the poems she wrote. So I knew her as a wife, a mother, a sister and an aunt.

When I got a chance to go through her writings first hand, her poetry, her stories and her books, I discovered the woman in her. A strong, positive woman, deeply attached to her roots, family and beliefs. Her poetry touched me – she wrote from her heart and about the matters close to her heart; be it her children, her country, her love or her relationships.

Today would have been her 75th birthday; I have transcribed and put on her website 56 of her published poems. It will be my endeavor to keep updating the website often. I will update the poems with meanings of difficult words, will post some of the stories she had written and will publish online her literary works on Safdar Aah Sitapuri, Seemab Akbarabadi, Sadat Hasan “Manto” and Zia Fathehabadi.

Today, Through her poetry I am sharing her eclectic world with the world. I miss you, Ammi, but I also know that your blessings will always be with your children.

शक्ल धुधंली सी – एक अाज़ाद ग़ज़ल

Dr. Zarina Sani
Dr. Zarina Sani

शक्ल धुधंली सी है शीशे में निखर जायेगी,
मेरे अहसास की गर्मी से संवर जायेगी

अाज वो काली घटाओं पे हैं नाज़ां लेकिन,
चाँद सी रौशनी बालों में उतर अायेगी

जिन्दगी मर्हला-ए-दार-ओ-रस्ल हो जैसे
दिल की बेचारगी ता-वक्त सहर जायेगी

ज़ौक तरकीब से थी कोख़ सदफ़ की महरूम
कैसा अंधेरा है ये बात मगर अब्र के सर जायेगी

मोहनी ड़ाल रही है गुलतर की सूरत
ज़द पे अायेगी हवा के वोह, बिखर जायेगी

वक्त रफ्तार का बहता हुअा दरिया “सानी”
जिन्दगी अापके साये में नहीं, न सही फिर भी गुज़र जायेगी

— ज़रीना सानी

* अाज़ाद ग़ज़ल : जब ग़ज़ल के शेरों से मीटर की पाबंदी हटा दी जाती है मगर रदीफ और क़ाफिये की पाबंदी बरकार रखी जाती है.  ड़ा. ज़रीना सानी अाज़ाद ग़ज़ल की समर्थक थीं, अौर उन्होंने कई ऐसी ग़ज़लें लिखीं.

रदीफ: अशअार का वो शब्द जो दोनों मिसरों मे अाता है (शेर की हर पंक्ति को मिसरा कहते हैं)  (जायेगी, अायेगी)

क़ाफीया: वह शब्द जो शेर की हर पंक्ती में रदीफ के पहले अाता है (निखर, संवर, उतर)

मर्हला — destination
दार-ओ-रस्ल -gallows and prison
सदफ़ – sea shell
महरूम -deprived (here barren -the sea shell is without a pearl)
अब्र- clouds (rain clouds)

 

This aazad ghazal was published in the magazine “Kohsaar” in March 1980

तुम अपनी करनी कर गुज़रो

Very few poets move me as much as Faiz Ahmed Faiz does. His poetry pierces my heart, bleeds it and then heals it and inspires it. What can I say more.. I keep searching for words to describe my emotions, my feelings and then all I have to do is open a book and read Faiz Ahmed Faiz.

अब क्यूँ उस दिन का जिक्र करो
जब दिल टुकड़े हो जायेगा
और सारे ग़म मिट जायेंगे
जो कुछ पाया खो जायेगा
जो मिल न सका वो पायेंगे
ये दिन तो वही पहला दिन है
जो पहला दिन था चाहत का
हम जिसकी तमन्ना करते रहे
और जिससे हरदम डरते रहे
ये दिन तो कितनी बार आया
सौ बार बसे और उजड़ गये
सौ बार लुटे और भर पाया

अब क्यूँ उस दिन का जिक्र करो
जब दिल टुकडे हो जायेगा
और सारे ग़म मिट जायेंगे
तुम ख़ौफ़ो-ख़तर से दरगुज़रो
जो होना है सो होना है
गर हंसना है तो हंसना है
गर रोना है तो रोना है
तुम अपनी करनी कर गुज़रो
जो होगा देखा जायेगा

–फ़ैज़ अहमद फ़ैज़

Tanha

This aazad nazm is from a very old television serial “Tanha” I remember switching on the TV set just to listen to the beautiful title song written by Javed Akhtar. After a long search I finally found it on youtube.

देखिये तो लगता है
ज़िन्दगी की राहों में
एक भीड़ चलती है
सोचिये तो लगता है
भीड़ में हैं सब तन्हा

जितने भी ये रिश्ते हैं
काँच के खिलौने है
पल में टूट सकते है
एक पल में हो जाये
कोई जाने कब तन्हा

देखिये तो लगता है
जैसे ये जो दुनिया है
कितनी रंगी महफिल है
सोचिये तो लगता है
कितना ग़म हैं दुनिया में
कितना ज़ख्मी हर दिल है

वो जो मुस्कुराते थे
जो किसी को ख्वाबों में
अपने पास पाते थे
उनकी नींद टूटी है
और हैं वो अब तन्हा

 

पहले तुझे आना होगा…

मैं न कहता था मेरे घर में भी आयेगी बहार
शर्त इतनी थी कि पहले तुझे आना होगा
                                     —कैफी आज़मी

बोल कि थोड़ा वक्त बहुत है

बोल, कि लब आज़ाद हैं तेरे
बोल, ज़बां अब तक तेरी है
तेरा सुतवां जिस्म है तेरा
बोल, कि जाँ अब तक तेरी है
देख कि आहन-गर की दुकां में
तुन्द हैं शोले, सुर्ख हैं आहन
खुलने लगे कुफ्लों के दहाने
फैला हर इक ज़ंजीर का दामन
बोल, कि थोड़ा वक्त बहुत है
ज़िस्मों ज़ुबां की मौत से पहले
बोल, कि सच ज़िन्दा है अब तक
बोल, जो कुछ कहना है कह ले 

_ फैज़ अहमद फैज़

Speak up, while your lips (thoughts) are (still) free
speak up, (while) your tongue is still yours
Speak, for your strong body is your own
speak, (while) your soul is still yours
Look at blacksmiths shop
hot flames makes the iron red hot
opening the (jaws of) locks
every chain opens up and begins to break
speak for this brief time is long enough
before yours body and words die
speak, for the truth still prevails
speak up, say what you must.

Such strong and powerful urdu words of Faiz Ahmed Faiz, translating them into English does not bring out the power the verse contains.

Urdu Poetry Gems III – Father of Urdu Nazms :Nazir Akbarabadi

na gul apnaa, na khaar apna, na zaalim bagHbaaN apna
basayaa aah kis gulshan meiN, hum ne aashiyaaN apna
— Nazir Akbarabadi (1740-1830)

The first Urdu poet to introduced nazms to Urdu poetry, Nazeer can be said to be the “father of the Urdu nazms” He was much before Haali or Azaad who are generally given credit for being first to bring the form of nazms to Urdu. There is another reason to call Nazir “Father of the Urdu Nazms” ; he wrote nazms on almost all the topics that affect a human. He wrote about festivals, seasons, fruits, about life, just every conceivable topic. He also wrote some beautiful verses on some of the most gHair-shayaraana topics e.g. muflisi, koRhinamaH, paisa, rupaiaa, rotiyaaN, aaTa-daal, pankha and kakRhi among others.

His name was Shaikh Muhammad Wali he wrote with takHallus Nazir. Born in Delhi, during the attack of Ahmed Shah Abdali , he along with his mother came to Agra, and hence the name “Akbarabadi.” He was a teacher by profession, but he also tried his hands in all sorts of odd jobs.

For a generation Nazir was ignored, and when he was studied by critics, he was labeled as “poet of the people.” He wrote not only about love ( as his contemporaries were doing) but his canvas was vast and in his poetry he was able to depict all walks of life including their emotins, sorrows, joys and by his poetry he successfully brings to life even a lifeless object like kakRhi (cucumber), pankhiya (fan) and balaa (ear-ring).

On cucumber…
“farhad ki nigaaheiN, sheereiN ki hansliyaaN haiN?
MajnooN ki sard aaheiN, laila ki ungliyaaN haiN.”

On ear-ring…
“jab hilaati hai suraahi si woH gardan apni
nasha-e-husn ko karta hai do-balaa, balaa”

It was because of his choice of topics Nazir was ignored by the critics of his time. Later when critics of age picked him as a genius it was also because of his vast canvas.

Even though he mostly used common language in his poems. Some of his poems can be said to be “festival of words” which is not seen after him.

dikha kar ik jhamak dil ko nihayat kar gayaa bekal
pari-roo, tand-kHo, sarkash, haTeela, chaleela, chanchal
woH aariz aur jabeeN tabaaN keH hooN dekh uss ko sharmindaaH
qamar, kHoorsheed, zahraH, shamaa, sholaa, mushtari, mashal
kafooN meiN, ungliyoN meiN, laal-e-lab meiN, chashm-e-mai gooN meiN
hinaa aafat, sitam qandaq, masi jadoo, fasooN kajal
badan meiN jaama-e-zar kash, sarapa jiss peH zaib aawar
kaRhe bande chaRhe chhalay angooThi noor tan haikal

and listen to this music of words…

roz mazay se raat ko barsay menh jhamak jhamak
boonday paRheiN Tapak Tapak, pani paRha jhapak jhapak
jaam rahe chhalak chhalak, sheeshay rahe bhabhak bhabhak
hum bhi nashooN meiN kHoob chhak, lauT-tay thay bahak bahak

And see how efortlessly he flirts with his beloved 🙂

ai jaan idhar dekh,
Milne ka tere rakhte hain ham dhyan idhar dekh
aati hai bohot hamko teri aan idhar dekh

ham chahne wale hain tere, jaan idhar dekh
holi hai sanam hans ke ik baar idhar dekh
ai rang bhare logon re khandaar idhar dekh

Ham dekh lein tera ye jamal is ghadi ai jaan
aaye hain yahi karke khayal is ghadi ai jaan
tu dil mein na rakh hamse malal is ghadi ai jaan
mukhde pe tere dekh gulal is ghadi ai jaan

holi bhee yahi kehti hai ai jaan idhar dekh
milne ka tere rakhte hain ham dhyan idhar dekh

 

ऐ जान इधर देख
मिलने का तेरे रखते हैं हम ध्यान इधर देख
आती है बहुत हमको तेरी आन इधर देख
हम चाहने वाले हैं तेरे जान इधर देख
होली है सनम हँस के तू इक बार इधर देख
ऐ रंग भरे नौ-ग़ुल-ए-ख़्न्दान इधर देख

हम देख लें तेरा ये जमाल इस घड़ी ऐ जान
आये हैं यही करके ख़्याल इस घड़ी ऐ जान
तू दिल में न रख हमसे मलाल इस घड़ी ऐ जान
मुखड़े पे तेरे देख गुलाल इस घड़ी ऐ जान

होली भी यही कहती है ऐ जान इधर देख
मिलने का तेरे रखते हैं हम ध्यान इधर देख

— नज़ीर अक़बराबादी

Meri Mehboob kahin aur mila kar Mujhse

Many poets have described Tajmahal as a monument of love, have sung praises about its enchanting beauty and grandeur. People across the world see Tajmahal as a symbol of eternal love

Shaqueel Badayuni wrote:
EK Shahenshah ne banwake hasin taj mahal sari dunia ko muhabbat ki nishani de di
(An emperor buit Taj Mahal and gave the world an eternal symbol of love)

But here is a verse with a contrary view – the poet says “In building the Taj Mahal, an emperor has made a mockery of the love of all the poor lovers of the world”


Taj tere liye ek mazar-e-ulfat hi sahi
tujhko is vaadi-e-rangi.n se aqidat hi sahi
meri mehboob kahi.n aur mila kar mujhse

bazm-e-shaahi me garibo.n ka gujar kya maani.
Naqsh jis raah pe ho.n satvat-e-shaahi ke nishaa.n
us pe ulfat bhari rooho.n ka safar kya maani

Ye chamanzar, ye Jamna ka Kinara, ye mahal
Ye munaqqash dar – o – deewar, Ye mehrab, ye taq,
Ek Shahenshah ne daulat Ka sahara le kar,
Hum gharibon ki muhabbat, Ka Udaya hai mazaq

Mere Mehboob Kahin aur Mila Kar Mujhse.

(Sahir Ludhianvi)

I have tried to translate the verse here though, I must say, it is far more poetic when read in Urdu.

The poet urges his sweetheart that they meet at some other place – not Tajmahal.

(I agree) Tajmahal is the monument of love for you,
you have (a lovers) faith in its beautiful gardens (you believe our love will blossom here)
but my love, meet me elsewhere – not here.

In the congregation of royals, the impoverished have no meaning
Of what meaning is the lives of impoverished to the congregation of royals?
The road which is marked with the signs of imperial cruelty
the travails of lovers soul have no meaning

These gardens, the bank of river Jamuna, this palace
these intricate carvings on the doors, walls, arches and alcoves
An emperor, on crutches of wealth
has ridiculed the love of us commoners.

My love, meet me some other place (not here)