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Friday, November 13, 2009

A veteran poet's immortal couplet: LamhoN ne khataa ki thi, sadiyoN se sazaa payee...

This is a couplet that is recited by heads of states and is heard in speeches in parliaments but the poet is not as widely known.

yeh jabr bhi dekha hai taarikh ki nazroN ne
lamhoN ne khataa kii thii, sadiyoN ne sazaa paayii

Translation is impossible as the beauty of the couplet can't be translated in another language though it means that 'History has been a witness to this tragedy that mistakes of moments have brought sufferings to mankind for millennia'.

Like several other popular and oft-repeated couplets, it has also acquired a unique status and is used to describe decisions [like partition] that altered the course of history and changed destiny of countless citizens for centuries.

Interestingly, poet Muzaffar Razmi, 73, is alive and lives in his hometown, Kairana, a prominent town in Muzaffar Nagar in Western part of Uttar Pradesh. The couplet is part of the ghazal that has five 'ashaar' but other couplets of the ghazal are hardly known.

The first couplet [matlaa] is:

mahruum-e-haqiqat haiN saahil ke tamaashaaii
ham Duub ke samjhe haiN daryaaoN kii gahraaii

Another couplet of Razmi:

mere daaman mein agar kuchh na rahegaa baaqi
agli nasloN ko duaa de ke chalaa jaaungaa

In the words of eminent poet late Rafat Sarosh, this couplet that was written in a moment of almost divine revelation, expresses the essence of mankind's experiences over several millennia.

Good couplets travel fast across the world. Razmi's couplet was first recited on the Urdu Majlis programme of All India Radio, many decades ago. It got instant popularity and turned into a 'zarbul misl' sher that is quoted quite often in conversations and conventions.

Had Razmi been living in Delhi or Mumbai, TV crews would have queued up at his residence for interviews. But he lives a contented life in his hometown. His collection of poetry was released by Prime Minister sometime back.

However, Muzaffar Razmi Kairanvi is at least fortunate that in his life time he is admired in poetry circles to some extent and is known as the man who wrote this couplet. Many other poets didn't live enough to see their poetry or couplets get such popularity.

Worst it the case of some poets whose couplets were 'hijacked' and wrongly attributed to others. There is a long list of such poets. Meanwhile, read similar posts about less known poets and famous couplets that were posted on this blog earlier. [Muzaffar Razmi's photo and some information about him courtesy website Kairana.net]

1. Popular couplets, Unknown poets

2. Five immortal couplets of a little-known poet

3. Confusion over couplets: Six Urdu 'ashaar'

4. Famous couplets, forgotten poets


Muzaffar Razmi passed away in his hometown Kairana on September 19, 2012 after a brief illness. Razmi was 76. He is survived by three sons and two daughters. 


Danish said...

"yeh jabr bhi dekha hai taarikh ki nazroN ne
lamhoN ne khataa kii thii, sadiyoN ne sazaa paayii"

It's good to get introduced to such amazing lines.

Faroha Liaqat said...

"yeh jabr bhi dekha hai taarikh ki nazroN ne
lamhoN ne khataa kii thii, sadiyoN ne sazaa paayii"

I have heard this couplet a lot from Indian Muslims, more so when I visited India recently. They quote it to explain their feelings about partition. I appreciate the beauty of this couplet but I cannot understand, as a Pakistani, how does it describe partition. It may be the view from your side, but from our side of the border, that lamha was the best lamha in recent history

Amit J said...

Funny coincidence...just a couple of minutes ago I was reading an article about a conversation between Mr.Manmohan Singh And Pervez Musharraf,and Manmohan Singh used this very couplet.And minutes later,I come to your site and voila!...what do I see?...keep up the good work and looking forward to revelation of many more forgotten gems of urdu poetry...

Amitabh said...

yeh jabr bhi dekha hai taarikh ki nazroN ne
lamhoN ne khataa kii thii, sadiyoN ne sazaa paayii

Its true in case on India. :-(

How do we know said...

wow.. thanks so much for letting us know the poet.. i always used to wonder.. itni zaheen baat likhi kisne hai!

Kagaz ki kashti said...

"yeh jabr bhi dekha hai taarikh ki nazroN ne
lamhoN ne khataa kii thii, sadiyoN ne sazaa paayii"

best describetion the painful history of partition...

@Faroha: Pakistan Allah ke bharose bana tha, aur Allah ke bharose hi chal raha hai aj tak.... nothing good that "lamha" brought for it. Had it been a part of India today, it would have seen more of progress, prosperity & peace!

Faroha Liaqat said...

@ Kaghaz ki kashti

As far as the peace and prosperity are concerned if we were a part of India now, we would not have had the peace of mind and the satisfaction that comes from living in one's own land....haan ye sach hai k Pakistan ab tak chal Allah k bharosay p raha hai....and this completely signifies the Pakistani attitude

indscribe said...

@ Faroha: I appreciate the fact that like any citizen of a sovereign nation, you take pride in it, and perhaps rightly so.

But, frankly, it's surprising if you say that you don't understand the pain of partition.

It was the biggest human tragedy in the world, millions killed, innumerable Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs could never reach their destinations.

Lakhs of families got divided. Think of it from a humanitarian perspective. Siblings who remained on either side of border couldn't meet the rest of family for their lives.

In those days there were no cell phones or internet, even letters were read by security agencies and then only they reached, if at all, they did.

Even if you forget all this human suffering, it's difficult for a Pakistani to forget partition and simply take pride in it, until the Biharis (Urdu-speakers) were let down and left in no man's land.

The Biharis who still live in camps and whom Pakistan is not willing to take back. And those who recite the couplet,

'Watan tha to azadi dhoondta thaa,
Ab azad hoon to watan dhoondta hoon.'

Faroha Liaqat said...

Well, I do understand the pain of partition for the familes involved in it. My own family migrated from UP and I know what they went through. But strangely, it just strengthened our resolve to serve our new adopted land and die for it, because we were justified in our decision to leave for Pakistan by seeing the havoc that was wreaked at taht time.Anyhow, that was a decision people had to make, either to leave or not to, and I am sure very few Pakistani migrants have ever regretted why they left their homes. If one takes a decision, one has to live with the consequences as well and if the consequence was a seperation between families, taht was a decision many took wilfully. Some chose to depart, some not. Frankly, if I weigh the scenario in a scale and anyone asks me if I ahd the ability to go back in history, I would favour partition everytime and every one here thinks so. From my recent visit in India, I have found that this is the major difference in the attitude of the Indian and Pakistani Muslims. All Indian Muslims term the partition as wrong, all pakistanis term it as the best thing to have happened.

As far as the Biharis are concerned, taht's true they were left stranded. It was a faulty decision on the part of the Government. after all, they were our own people.

jay said...

Great shayri. Poets are great human beings who bring out in beautiful words what we all humans feel, but for us, its hard to put in words.
@ Faroha Liaqat: about India-Pakistan, gadey murdey ukhadney sey kya faiyda?
Its all psychological game. Pakistanis think that they can say it million times that partition was good as i think subconsciously they think it serves a few purposes. One: they think they are making Indians feel bad stating that the country was divided or somewhat implying they divided the country. Second: Now they are a separate country, does anybody expect them to say, OH IT WAS A BLUNDER? They have to console themselves too. Well, as indescribe stated rightly, it was a painful incident, but we new generations need to move forward. New Indians don't really care much as long as a pakistani comes and starts shooting aam aadmi on the streets.Only then the past comes back haunting us. Otherwise, who cares. Sometimes it seems that alot of Pakistanis are just obsessed with the idea that India is always looking to attack Pakistan and there are some fanatics on our side too who simply cant keep their mouth shut. Well, i dont think aam aadmi cares about these things from day to day life. Everybody has so many problems in their own lives, nobody cares about this politics. But as the world is shrinking more and more, countries which base themselves on one religion, one language or any "oneness" may have problems as their level of tolerance is very minimum. Even some hindu organizations who may believe in "oneness" will have decreased tolerance. But look at Indian muslims, they have lived with other communities for centuries and yet not one of them has been accused of any wrong doing in the world while on the other hand Pakistans(fill in the blanks please, doesnt make me happy stating harsh facts). Not that Indian muslims need a proof or evaluation of "being good" and by saying that, im not saying muslims are bad or something. Im not muslim and i think everybody should just judge themselves. Every religion, race, country has bad people. Religion has not much to do with bad people, lekin, truth is truth, indian muslims are distinctive. Countries made on the idea of "ONENESS" cant bear somebody else unless they have very good and great education system so people can question their government and religious leaders.
Indians muslims are Indians, sons and daughters of the same soil we all Indians are made of and Pakistanis are Pakistanis, its a reality. Genetically and culturally we may be just the same but 2 different countries now.
@indescribe: Dont you think that its almost impossible to expect a Pakistani to question partition? Dont you think that will be an existential question for themselves? Religion cant be the sole or ultimate force that can bind ppl together, whatever religion it may be. Would you bind more with hindu/christian etc who is from your state, gali-mohalla, school-college friend or bind more with a muslim from e.g African country? i mean, of course, you could be muslim & have that common within you, but there are way too many other binding things in us humans. Talking about human suffering of the partition, not everybody is sensitive about it; for pakistanis creation of a nation based on religion is the ultimate fruit whatever the cost had been, they cant questin their "wajood". Its just the coping mechanism they have to use as nobody has answers to these things.

Faroha Liaqat said...

@ Jay

I agree with you in not wanting to rake this matter up. I just mentioned it here because every 2nd person was raking the same matter up just last month when I was in India and I was amazed that it's been 60 years, why not forget it. We are not the same people anymore culturally. We have seperate identities, so it's better to accept the reality.

You are also right on one other point. I feel more affinity with a Hindu or Christian or Sikh of Pakistan than any Muslim in India, because we share the same identity. These things are just not explained easily, but that's the feeling I got even in Indian Muslims company. I felt alien somehow; I felt like a foreigner in India which I was.

As far as the concept of countries based on oneness is concerned, I think my argument of identifying more with a Pakistani Sikh or Hindu defeats the substance of what you said. It's not about Muslims anymore; it's about being a nationalist Pakistani now. And why would I blame partition? It has given us everything. It's not just a coping strategy. It's a very self-satisfying feeling

I think this is a useless discussion, so we would better stop it

jay said...

@Faroha, its a very complicated issue, thats why i had said there are no answers. Im sure if i say something you will bring out some similar story or may be something more dramatic story. Ghar ka bhi batwara hota hai, yeh toh duniya kee reet hai. Lekin, one of my relatives had to move from Gujranwala @ partition, leaving everything behind. And the tragedy is they wanted to stay in Pakistan but were forced out if they wanted to remain alive. Aisey ek din mein border ke paar sabko NAPAK bana diya.And the old man died wishing to be in his place he had built with his hands. So the word Pakistan in itself is based on kinda hate or prejudiced giving the idea that the ppl on other side of the border are NAPAK. Im sure it happened on this side of the border too, ppl had many stories. But Pakistan is becoming dangerously fanatic which may be called nationalistic but to a dangerous level. Germans and Japanese were nationalistic too in world wars. God forbid, can you imagine ppl going from india and start shooting in your country? What is holding ppl back in India? Its the intrinsic nature of being Indian, and of course being Pakistani you lost it in 1947, only based on the statement you have some other identity. But that wont be fair to say you lost "indianess" inside you, centuries old civilization. I think pakistanis will never have any identity if they try to run away from their past. They even feel pain saying they were INdian once, can you say it? look around you, how many ppl will be ready to say it. So while everything 50 years ago was Indian, by that mean i dont mean Indian=hindu etc., and since you were made based on religion you have new identity now. What is your identity? Pakistani? what is pakistani? the most you can say is "ISLAMIC STATE OF PAKISTAN". By saying all the above, i dont really intend to compare pakistan with INdia, they are one of the same, ek sey badh kar ek, ek seir doosra sawa seir. But i just get amused that there is so much insecurity lies somewhere that every pakistani has to dance with "oh we are different, we are pakistani, we are nationlist" while i come short of asking, what are u really talking about? what do u mean? Well, whatever you nationalistic policy is, i wish you very good luck lekin when i see pakistan i cant help remembering lines i guess written by a Pakistani poet, may be the word are not correct but here it is:
Pehle watan tha toh aazadi dhoondtey the,
Ab aazadi hai toh watan dhoondtey hain.
May be when you were in india your perceptions or anticipations made you feel that way. I have pakistani friends and we speak the same regional langauge, and i feel he is more close to me rather than a person from say some other part of INdia. And yet we both know we are 2 different nations, what does it really matter? He tells me he was taught that never trust an Indian/jew and i tell him that im all of the above. I told him i was never taught in school that i shouldnt trust a pakistani. On what basis Indian govt can teach this,we have everything muslim/hindu/jew/sikh/christian; Of course,India is not a perfect democracy by any standards, but better than many. But me and my friends always clicked very well.Whats more closer than speaking the same mother tongue, its such an instant bonding. Of course, then other things matter such as nature of person etc etc. I dont click with everybody who speaks my language. So its the maturity of your perspective as how you want to see things too,rather than a preset attitude and prejudices. Its upto you how you like to be seen. And not everybody in the world will be nice. Not every Indian will be nice to me or every pakistani will be bad to me. Simple as that.

Faroha Liaqat said...

@ Jay

Whoever did this to that old man, did wrong. No one should be forced to leave their country if they don't wanna leave and I know the place where it happened was Gujranwala. Although teher are many Hindu and Sikhs living in Pakistan now and I feel close to them because of the common bond between us.
As far as your other idea is concerned, that no Pakistani would like to be told they were Indian once, that's true. I don't know why it is so, but it's just that the word is synonymous with abuse....It's not just hatred; it's like being reminded of a situation in life we would hate to be reminded of...We simply don't like it.
Yes, borders cannot stop people from being friends. I have many Indian friends as well, and that includes some of the people I feel closest to....It's not about people; good and bad people exist everywhere....It's just that we are friends accepting that we r from different countries and we agree to disagree on certain things. That's how it should be

jay said...

@ Faroha Well, im not here to convince you of anything. You proved my point, "preset notions and perceptions". You said, the name of India is "synonymous with abuse".What else can i say........... Introspection is a great tool. of course, i should practice than preaching anything. Would u teach the same to your kids? Would it go on just like this? Would you stop somewhere and ask yourself, what am i saying? Or would you follow the same rat-race? Your words, "It's not just hatred; it's like being reminded of a situation in life we would hate to be reminded of...We simply don't like it." You have left me speechless, thinking how ppl think, whats going on in their minds. Im going to stop here, who knows what else may come out of your statements which will be more scary, yes, sometimes its good to stay in denial for me day-dreaming that its not all that bad but tragically people often prove me wrong. Of course, perceptions are realities.

Nyayman said...

The unforgettable partition of Hindustan
,might have provoked the poet to write these lines.But through these lines he has caged the parrot of universal suffering!