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Wednesday, June 07, 2006

The Urdu Poet Who Got Inside Courtesan's 'gharara': Mischievous 'Maulana', his antics and idiosyncrasies

Representative photo: A Gharara-clad woman
The immensely loveable Suha Mujaddidi was a unique Urdu litterateur in the sense that he was just 4 feet. Unless someone knew him, they mistook him for a 10-11 year-old boy.

Suha was too fair and looked like chubby child. Owing to his tremendous talent and knowlege he was fondly called Maulana Suha.

Another aspect of his life that attracts me was his colourful personality. Once on a visit to Lucknow, the group of litterateurs went to renowned tawaif-turned-radio artiste Gauhar Jaan's kotha.

Upon seeing her teenaged daughter, Suha rushed towards her and in a fraction of second entered into her gharara [similar to lehanga]. 

There was no electricity then and the mother-daughter kept screaming. 'Haai, bhutna ghus gaya hai' [the dwarf devil has entered].

Everybody was laughing and when after sometime they were told that it not a bhutna but a real man, a poet, the former courtesan got relieved. Soon they were giggling.

Another eminent cleric was part of the group that had went to the former courtesan's kotha. I wouldn't name him, the fact is that any scholar can be colourful.

THE NAUGHTY SCHOLAR

In fact, his name is taken with utter respect, as he is now considered a great personality among the Ulema [clergyman].  In those pre-partition days Aalims could also be quite funny and interesting. One doesn't need to make a serious or arrogant face if he is a scholar.

Now a days, a religious man can't afford to be as naughty or mischievous openly. Suha was married to a tall and huge Pathan woman and he was an exponent of 'gaali' [Urdu laced with choicest Persian expletives].

The Maulana often hurled newly-invented gaalis. When angry, his amazonian wife, often lifted him and make him sit on the high loft in their house. He would beg not to repeat the mistake and when brought down, again started abusing.

Master of Abuses, Expletives in Urdu

Khair, Suha was a complex and interesting personality. He often begged women for 'bosa' [kiss]. Often tawaifs and someother elder women who were charmed by his boyish looks obliged him. He never cared for princes, rajas and nawabs and spoke his mind, even abused the mighty nawabs.


[Though in a list of Indians who gave innovative 'gaali' Suha can't find a place easily. Nizam, Abdul Rab Nishtar and Hamidullah Khan were on the top of an oral list compiled and reproduced often in Urdu books of the past].

Example:

A Nawab: Maulana mehfil mein khalal mat paida kijiye
Suha: Mehfil ki to MKC*
Nawab: Maulana mere viqaar/vaqaar ka to khayaal rakhiye, aap ki zubaan...
Suha: Aap kee viqaar ki MKC aur aap ki bi MKC aur.....
Nawab: Haaieen.......[shell-shocked]
Suha, walks out, leaving everybody stunned

But then the rulers of the erstwhile princely states who played host to him were also aware of his literary stature. Ironically, Suha died in misery. In a government hospital waitinf for medicines and proper medical care. The literary world cried and there was a feeling of outrage.

Bhopal Nawab Hamidullah Khan faced lot of criticism. The last rites were conducted by the state. But few remember Suha today. His Sharah-e-Ghalib was a pioneering work in that era. Ah! They were scholarly, they were social, lovable and also had all traits--positive and negative--which humans have.

Zameen kha gayee aasmaa.n kaise kaise



*MKC is the Urdu variant of m**%*r f%**er

8 comments:

SB said...

Somehow I dont find any taste and appreciation or any amusement in such corny behaviour - even if it happens to be a philosopher or a great writer...

history_lover said...

Reminds us of the era of decadent nawabs of old.
Although perhaps I should'nt be judgemntal I agree with sb that because someone is of literary bent you should'nt excuse such corny behaviour .

Hammad said...

nice one...

indscribe said...

Litterateurs are also human beings, often more sensitive and have complex personalities, grappling with deprivation on one hand and applause on the other. However, is is better than leading dual lives wearing a mask. What one is, he is.

sb said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
indscribe said...

SB made another comment on the post. Unfortunately he misunderstood the word deprivation and probably got confused with depravity and that's why wrote depravation (which is no word at all). The correct word is deprave behaviour and depravity. I was talking about mahroomi (deprivation) while trying to analyse. Probably that was why he flew off at a tangent. I am sorry for deleting the comment but please sb read carefully before commenting.

sb said...

Adnan
I am not sure why you made so much of a small spelling mistake. Unfortunately, blogspot comment entry doesnt do a spell check - like most tools we are used to nowadays.
Spelling issue aside, I still stand by my point. Creative persons using such garbs to justify corny or unethical behaviour isnt justifiable. Deprivation and acclaim together are no reason for someone to get weird. Recently saw such a creative person on a TV debate (post Rahul Mahajan) episode justify the common use of drugs in their parties with the excuse that creative people need it. To my common sense, its depravity in the garb of a license derived out of creativity. Remember the Danish cartoonist who crossed the line and depecited prophet or the Indian artist who painted nude godesses - all under license of creativity. Its no different...

indscribe said...

No dear, I don't justify that at all.