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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