Sunday, December 18, 2005

Irteza Nishat: Urdu poet from Mumbai to Mirreekh [Jupiter]

Irteza Nishat
I really admire the poetry of Irtiza Nishat*, a Mumbai-based Urdu poet. In case you have not heard about him, here is a couplet of him.

Aasmaa.n, Mirreekh tak jaane ke baad
Chaai ki dukaan lagta hai mujhe

I hope you are not bewildered. That was on a lighter note. But a few more couplets I would like to share:

Sabse dilchasp yahi gham hai meri basti ka
Maut pasmaanda ilaqe mein dawa lagti hai

[This is the biggest irony of my locality/Death looks like a medicine in a backward city]

That was a rough translation so that the meaning could be conveyed.

How Irteza has depicted the real pain of the poor. Those who can't afford the cost of treatment and for whom death appears to be an easy way to get rid of the suffering. It is couplets like these for which Irteza Nishat is known for. 

Mustahaq ke haq se kamzarfon ke saaghar bhar diye
Naqd ke naa-ahl paimaano yeh tumne kya kiya

This couplet is directed towards the critics. Here the poet rues that the deserving were left unattended while they were busy filling the goblets of undeserving ones. That's true to a large extent as poets who didn't take interest in PR [public relations] and keeping critics in good humour, were confined to periphery of literature.

Mohabbat mein hamesha martabe neeche utarte hain
Sadaf se abr gauhar baar zer-e-aab milta hai

Anwar Khan termed him a poet of 'barahna asloob' [poet of naked realities]. Nishat sahab writes a daily piece of poetry in Urdu newspaper Inquilab under the pseudonym, Alif Noon. These four-liners have wit, sarcasm and harsh criticism in the form of poetry.

Read one of his daily Qitas, which was published when a Muslim leader had made a nonsensical and emotional appeal. To mock him, Irteza Nishat wrote these lines:

Ek se ek hai Rustam ke gharane wala
Hai koi Qibla-Awwal ko chhuDaane wala?
Aur ek naara-e-takbeer ba-awaaz e buland

Aur phir koi nahin samne aane wala

[*He spells his name as 'Irteza', not Irtiza]