Saturday, December 31, 2005

The demise of Urdu poets Moin Ahsan Jazbi, Umar Ansari and closure of Shabkhoon

Is it the occasion to talk about death when we are ushering into the New Year? But 2005 was the year that took Moin Ahsan Jazbi away from us.

The last of the great and popular Urdu poets of the Taraqqi Pasand Tehreek [Progressive Writers' Movement] Jazbi, who was a close friend of Majaz, left for heavenly abode.

Besides, veteran Urdu poet Umar Ansari, the doyen of Urdu literature in Uttar Pradesh also passed away. He was the man whose couplet...

Mere haathon ke taraashe hue patthar ke sanam
Aaj bhagwan ban ke baithe hain butkhaon mein

....had become universally popular in Urdu world almost a decade before independence. Ever since, Umar Ansari kept the 'shamaa' of classical poetry alive in Lucknow, for almost six decades. These are great losses for us.

Once, hoping to get the job of a schoolteacher in Punjab, Jazbi had managed to get into train through a friendly railway official. Having just a few coins, he reached the school to find that the job was already given to a person.

With nothing to eat and no money in his pocket, Jazbi, in sheer desperation wrote a ghazal that is rememberd for its poignant lines:

Marne ki duaayen kyoon mangoon, jeene ki tamanna kaun kare
Yeh dunia ho ya woh dunia, ab khwahish-e-dunia kaun kare

Jab kashti saabit-o-saalim thi, sahil ki tamanna kisko thi
Ab aisi shikasta kashti par sahil ki tamanna kaun kare

This ghazal is recalled as much as his legendary nazm 'Maut' [Death]. Some of the stanzas of the long verse are often quoted even in this era and poetry lovers will always remember Jazbi for writing these unforgettable lines:

Apni soyii huii dunia ko jagaa luu.n to chaluu.n
Apne Ghamkhane mein ek dhuum machaa luu.n to chaluu.n
Aur ek jaam-e-mai talkh chadhaa luu.n to chaluu.n
Abhi chalta huu.n, zara khud ko sambhaluu.n to chaluu.n

Meri aankhon mein abhi tak hai muhabbat ka ghuruur
Mere honton ko abhi tak hai sadaqat ka ghuruur
Mere maathe pe abhi tak hai sharaafat ka ghuruur
Aise wahmon se abhi khud ko nikaloon to chaluu.n

Read Jazbi's works in Urdu, Hindi and English at BESTGHAZALS

Shabkhoon: A magazine, a movement

Shamsur Rahman Faruqi's Urdu literary monthly Shabkhoon that began publication in the mid-sixties was closed this year. This has been a big jolt for Urdu literature in India.

Faruqui's magazine not only established the modernist trend in Urdu poetry but also brought new writers and poets on the scene. In the most difficult circumstances, the magazine was published regularly. Shabkhoon had its detractors.

But it also set new trends. Hundreds of past issues of this magazine will become collector's issues in future and the magazine will always be remembered as a trend-setter in Urdu world.