Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Mahlaqa Chanda: Forgotten Urdu poetess before Ghalib, her tomb gets facelift in Hyderabad

By Shams Ur Rehman Alavi

Mahlaqa Chanda had already compiled her first collection of poetry and attained fame when legendary Urdu poet Mirza Ghalib was just a year old.

Recently I had the opportunity to visit Mahlaqa's tomb which remained neglected for long.

It was heartwarming to see that the tomb is being renovated at a time when Mahlaqa's poetry is once again drawing attention.

Mahlaqa's couplets represent the prevalent poetic taste of the era:

ham se kare hai yaar bayaaN apnii chaah kaa
haazir haiN ham bhii gar ho iraada nibaah kaa

Mahlaqa was a devout Shia and her devotion towards Hazrat Ali is visible in innumerable ghazals.

paiGhaam sabaa jaa ke mere yaar se kahnaa
betaab huuN us Ghairat-e-gulzaar se kahnaa

Chanda's divan has numerous such asha'ar. For example:

Mahlaqa's tomb
The truth was that Mahlaqa was an extraordinary artiste. Ironically she was even termed a tawaif in the sense of prostitute, which is a grave injustice to her.

Mahlaqa was a poetess, a celebrity classical singer and renowned danseuse of her era.

They briefly stayed at a place, Devalia, before shifting to Burhanpur, and later settling in Aurangabad where Mahlaqa was born.

Her intellect and literary taste were widely regarded. She was renowned for her mastery on dhrupad apart from khayal tappa.

A prominent personality, she lived in Khasa Mahal with hundreds of khadims at her disposal.

Mahlaqa's estate was spread over Syedpalli, Chanderguda, Chandapeth, Ali Bagh and several other areas.