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Monday, March 31, 2008

Stamp on Majaz Lakhnawi: Poet of romance & revolution

The postal department of the government of India, has issued a stamp on romantic-revolutionary poet Majaz (1911-1955).

It is a befitting tribute to the great poet who wrote the first verse on India's tricolour and also penned the famous Tarana-e-Aligarh.

Apart from his magical poetry, another important aspect is that he addresses [and looks at] women as an intelligent companion--a 'hamsafar'.

Majaz is also remembered for his Nazm [verse] 'Aawara' which had become the voice of youth in his generation and thereafter.

The Nazm that starts with the lines, 'Aye Gham-e-dil kyaa karuuN, Aye wahshat-e-dil kyaa karuuN' has been sung by Talat Mahmood and Jagjit Singh, both in their own distinct styles. Now, coming back to the stamp on Majaz Lakhnawi.

One can see the Tile Wali Masjid, the parts of Imambara and the skyline of Old Lucknow in the background of the stamp. It is this City where he grew up and where lost his life on the roof of a liquor shop on a winter night, abandoned by companions.

And where fifty years later people still recall his tragic demise. Majaaz Lucknowi couldn't marry his lady love, who instead chose a civil servant rather than an unemployed poet. Twice he was treated for mental breakdown and ultimately died at a young age.

He was barely 44 but was undoubtedly the most loved poet in India. Unfortunately he was forgotten soon after his death though Urdu world still fondly remembers this great poet. Vice-President Hamid Ansari formally released the stamp on March 18.

The stamp and the 'first day cover' were released in the presence of Majaz's youngest sister Hameeda, who has recently penned her autobiography in Urdu, and Majaz's nephew lyricist Javed Akhtar [son of Safia Akhtar, who was Majaz' sister].

I had earlier written a post on Majaz: 'The Keats of Urdu poetry'

Also, you can read Majaz' ghazals and nazms at BESTGHAZALS.NET


Anser Azim said...

I admire his poetic excellence. He wrote the famous lines of our University Tarana. He was a great treasure of Urdu poetry. But its an open question what he achieved from his own writings. Died unattended on a wintry night? Was he a role model for people of his Time? I just pity upon his life and suicidal drinking habits. He left his family in pain and grief with his untimely death and Urdu poetry in particular lost a great poet. Why and for What?? Keats died of tuberculosis and his family died of the same disease untreated. Whereas Majaz most likely succumbed to liver cirrhosis. What a loss!! and a lesson for future poets. I do not know how this gandagi has infiltrated in Urdu poetry and amongst Urdu poets and adibs. I hope and pray that Drugs and Alcohol abuse should discussed amongst the present poets and adibs!! All my adna opinion!!
anser azim, Chicago

indscribe said...

Anser Azim Sb

I think it was the tragedy of those times. That generation of poets got such fan following but there were no monitory benefits.

They were shattered and their idealism died with partition.

Majaz was very sensitive and had seen murders and killings during partition riots when he was in Mumbai, and got disillusioned.

The status of Urdu also got terribly affected. In those days Mushairas didn't offer money that could sustain a person

Poets like Majaz had tough time getting jobs and whenever Majaz tried to quit drinking, such 'fans' who wished to be known as Majaz's drinking partners, offered him liquor.

It must have been tough for him. On one hand girls longed for him but despite his sisters' efforts, he couldn't get married.

It was a tragedy for that generation. And a person as sensitive as Majaz fell in the abyss and couldn't come out.