Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Pandit Hari Chand Akhtar's claim on Pakistan and his Urdu couplets

Hari [Green] Chand [Moon] Aktar [Star]
Pandit Hari Chand Akhtar was a popular Urdu poet. His wit [like poet Majaz] has also been part of Urdu folklore. His ghazal with the following couplets finds place in every standard collection of Urdu poetry.

shabaab aaya, kisii but pe fidaa hone ka waqt aaya
merii dunyaa meN bande ke Khudaa hone ka waqt aaya
unheN dekhaa to zaahid ne kahaa iimaaN kii yeh hai
ki ab insaan ko sajdaa ravaa hone ka waqt aayaa

Read the complete ghazal in Urdu, Hindi and Roman here

Hari Chand Akhtar's poetry gives you a glimpse of the era when taking liberty with Sheikh [or Pandit] were a distinct feature of Urdu literature. Once sitting amongst some Muslim League sympathisers in a poetic meet, Akhtar got irritated over the cries of Pakistan. 

'Who will be a greater Pakistani than me?', asked Hari Chand Akhtar. 'My name پنڈت ہری چند اختر symbolises the flag of your would-be-Islamic state', declared Pt Hari Chand Akhtar. He meant that Hari (Sanskrit=God) in common parlance would mean Green, Chand would stand for Moon [Crescent] and Akhtar is the Urdu word for Star

Together they formed the Pakistai flag [Crescent and star in green background]. 'Nobody can claim Pakistan more than me', he said. Everybody turned silent now. These were poets who were secular and humanist to core. [Akhtar was his pen name]