|IFTIKHAR NASEEM 'IFTI'|
However, it was only recently that I got to read his collection of verses Narmaan [Hermaphrodite], which is undoubtedly among the most important books published in Urdu or any other South Asian language lately.
Though I don't have the courage yet to put some of his verses dealing with homosexuality on my blog, his poetry in classical mould is no less enchanting. Here is a selection from some of his couplets which I like.
Ifti is now a well-known international figure due to his work for gay rights. Personally, I have nothing to do with his sexual preferences. Earlier, I too had the perception that the there was something wrong with gays. I was told that gays were probably perverts who lured teenaged and even young boys.
But the difference between pederasty and gays became evident to me later. Otherwise Urdu classical poetry is full of homosexuality starting from the era of Khuda-e-Sukhan Meer Taqi Meer to 20th century's Firaq Gorakhpuri.
When I read his autobiography, I felt stunned like many others. It was too disturbing. Ifti has suffered enormously, faced brickbats for speaking truth. Atleast, he did not live a false life. He did not hide the truth about himself which many gays in the sub-continent do and marry girls who suffer all their lives.
IN ROMAN ENGLISH:
is qadar bhii to na jazbaat pe qabuu rakho
thak gaye ho to mere kaandhe pe bazuu rakho
KaTi hai umr kisii aabdoz* kashti meN
Safar tamaam hua aur kuchh nahiiN dekha
Udaas baam, khulaa dar pukaarta hai mujhe
Jila-watan huuN mera ghar pukaarta hai mujhe
Taaq par juzdaan meN lipti duaa'eN rah gaeeN
Chal diye bete safar par ghar meN maaeN rah gaeeN
Chalte chalte aa gaya huun aisii manzil par jahaN
Chand mujhko aasmaaN ka ek darwaaza laga
Koii jo puuchhe to kah denge usne bheje haiN
Wagar-na phool khud apne liye khareede haiN
Read his poem 'Mere baba' [My father] in Urdu, Hindi and Roman scripts AT THIS LINK