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Friday, June 23, 2006

Is Hindi literature less secular, not inclusive much?

Frankly I have never thought about it as much. But a journalist posed this query to me. He said that poems on Hindu festivals, culture and religious figures abound in Urdu.

Innumerable poets have written poems and their ash'aar represent the gana-jumni tehzib. Either it's Iqbal's verse in praise of Lord Rama where the poet terms Rama as 'Imam-e-Hind' or Mohsin Kakorvi's legendary 'Simt-e-kashi chala jaanib-e-mathura baadal' which is in praise of Prophet Muhammad but also shows his love for Lord Krishna, such verses are easily available and on the tip of Urdu-speakers' tongue.

But you hardly find any Hindi poetry praising Prophet Muhammad, Ali or any other aspect of Islam. Its not about Hindu or Muslim because Hindu, Sikh and Muslim poets of Urdu have equally written in abundance about each other's religions, festivals and prophets.

Hundreds of Hindu poets have written 'naat' expressing their love for Prophet Muhammad or marsias on battle of Karbala. However, Hindi poets have hardly touched these subjects. Though I remember two long poems about Muslims during the turbulent 90s but nothing like the kind of secular tradition as in Urdu.

For centuries Hindus and Muslims have lived together and shared the same culture but somehow Hindi seems to have lacked this tradition. Is Hindi literature less accomodating! Shouldn't Hindu and Muslim writers in Hindi need to look at this!