Monday, June 23, 2008

Nida Fazli's poetic journey: Urdu poets' profile and poetry

Today Nida Fazli is considered a big name in Urdu poetry especially after the deaths of entire generation of veteran Urdu poets in the last couple of years. But this is not to belittle Nida's contribution to literature.

Along with Shaharyar and Ahmad Faraz (Pakistan), Nida is among the rare Urdu poets who have achieved fame across the sub-continent and outside. Nida Fazli has been writing lyrics for Bollywood movies but he didn't let this affect his literary output.

apnii marzii se kahaaN apne safar ke ham haiN
ruKh havaaoN ka jidhar ka hai, udhar ke ham haiN

waqt ke saath hai miTTii ka safar sadiyoN se
kisko maaluum kahaaN ke haiN, kidhar ke ham haiN

Success hasn't come the easy way. It has been a life, full of struggle for the Gwalior-born poet. He is often bitter that critics (and also poetry lovers) made fun of him back in the late sixties, because of the particular couplet:

sooraj ko chonch meN liye murGha khaDaa rahaa
khiDkii ke parde khiinch diye raat ho gayii

It was a simple couplet written at the height of modernist movement that highlighted the difference between urban and rural life style. Living in air-conditioned rooms, one doesn't come across the birds and the sounds of nature.

Living amid towering skyscrapers and moving in cars you don't get to see the sight of moon which used to be an every day experience in villages where lying on the cot in open, moon was a 'rafeeq' (companion).

The ghazal has other couplets also but people didn't bother to read them or react to them:

raste mein voh milaa thaa maiN bach ke guzar gayaa
uskii phaTii qamiis mere saath ho gayee

naqsha uThaa ke koii nayaa shahar DhunDhiye
is shahar meN to sab se mulaqaat ho gayee

It is the loss of home that haunted Nida in the early part of his poetic journey. After independence, Gwalior had witnessed more bloodshed that any where else in Central India. Most of his family memebrs migrated to Pakistan.

Thus 'ghar' remains an elusive dream for him despite the comforts of later years, apart from 'child' who is always present in his poetry:

bachchoN ke chhote haathoN ko chaand sitaare chhune do
chaar kitaabeN paDh kar yeh bhii ham jaise ho jaayenge

A humanist to the core, Nida's poetry has often stunned the traditionalists:

masjidoN meN sajdoN kii mashaaleN huiiN roshan
liye chiraaGh galiyoN meN kheltaa Khudaa dekhuuN

He asks God to come down to earth and help people out:

Nile gagan par baiThe kab tak chaand sitaaroN se jhaankoge...
khaali hai aaTe ka kanastar geNhuu ban kar usmeN aao
TuuT gaaa hai maaN ka chashma sheesha ban kar use banao
gum sum haiN aangan mein bachche, ban kar gend unhein bahlaao...

Nida has read a lot. Unlike other poets who restrict themselves to reciting their own poetry, Nida has read Latin American literature, East Asian, European and African poetry. He pores over Kabir, Wali Dakhani, Amir Khusro, Rahim and classical poets.

Nida is no longer the struggler. He now lives a comfortable life in Mumbai. He has learnt the tricks of the trade. He used to criticise Ali Sardar Jafri but has also picked up some of those habits.

He knows what sells. When TV channels' crew comes to him for interview, he exactly gives soundbytes which they want. He blasts globalisation for all the ills, though he is also a beneficiary of it and loves all the luxuries which modern day lifestyle offers.

He wants to be known as Nazir Akbarabadi of this era. But sophisticated Nida despite wearing it on his sleave, has shed the 'phakkad-pan' far behind. Still, he has his place secure in the annals of Urdu language and literature.

Read Nida Fazli's selected ghazals and Nazms in Urdu, Roman and Devnagri scripts at Best Ghazals & Nazms. Click