A master of Dehlvi Urdu idiom and the famed 'Taksaali zabaan', he hadn't penned poetry for the last 16 years due to a paralytic stroke that had rendered him bed-ridden. Then, for many years, he couldn't recognise his own writings, let alone compose poetry.
No wonder TV channels and newspapers seemed oblivious to the extent of loss for literary world. But in recent years, Shuja had recovered to an extent and was attending cultural events. People were expecting that he would be penning poetry once again.
Sadly, the silence turned eternal.
ek uskaa saraapa hai ki bas meN nahiiN aataa
kyaa haalat ho gayii, mere andaaz-e-bayaaN kii
It's not pure emotion but Shujauddin Sajid was worthy of being called the poet laureate of Delhi. This is not an exaggeration. Nusrat Zaheer in his editorial page column wrote an obituary titled 'Miyaan, Dilli Khamosh Ho gayi...', the words spoken to him by Farooq Argali at the graveyard.
Truly, it's a huge loss for the Dehli's culture as well as poetry.
raat usne dasht-e-jaaN ko gulistaaN kar diya
hamne bhii har usuul ko qurbaan kar diyaa
But the reality was that Shuja never compromised on his principles:
thoRaa sa badal jaaye to bas taaj ho aur taKht
is dil ka magar kyaa kareN, sunta nahiiN kambaKht
I remember Shuja Khawar's recital in poetic meets in mid-80s that were shown on Doordarshan. And then his name Shujauddin Sajid, the Deputy Commission of Police (DCP), Delhi appearing in news papers. In later years he had dropped 'Khawar' and called himself just 'Shujaa'.
|Shuja reciting his couplets in early years.|
Shuja quit the job in late 80s. Now we expected him to devote himself to literature. After all, here was a poet whose poetic calibre was acknowledged by literary giants and critics, like Firaq Gorakhpuri, Qurratul Ain Hyder & Zo Ansari, all least generous in their praise for others.
Apart from ghazals, he also wrote Nazms. Shuja was also known for use of 'muhaavras' in his couplets:
aab voh aai jo chehre par aduu ke baad-e-wasl
aur paani, voh jo merii aarzuoN par phiraa
The 'Qalandar' poet cared little about name or fame. It is not that he wasn't aware of tricks of the trade. An immensely lovable person, Shuja remained firm on his beliefs and walked the path he chose in literature, without siding with any of the major groups.
haalat use dil kii na dikhaai, na bayaaN kii
Khair usne na kii baat, to hamne bhii kahaaN kii
hue mahruumiyoN ke jab ham aadii
to us zaalim ne chilman hi haTaa dii
Last year when I saw his photograph, I was stunned. He was a pale shadow of his past. It was due to his innate mental toughness he had managed to come a long way from the period when he couldn't even understand his own words after the stroke.
poNhchaa huzur-e-shaah, har ek rang ka faqiir
poNhchaa nahiiN jo, thaa vahii 'poNhchaa huaa' faqiir
|Shuja Khar (Third from right)|
Urdu Academy had organised a grand programme in his honour, 'Ek Shaam Shuja Khawar ke Naam'. Eminent litterateurs termed a poet who took forward the tradition of Mir Taqi Mir, Ghalib, Zauq, Yagana Changezi in Delhi.
Speakers recalled how words and phrases appeared in his command. In the jam packed Aiwan-e-Ghalib academy hall, Shuja's admirers' presence and enthusiasm proved that he had lived all these years in their hearts.
maut ki azaadiyaaN bhi aisii kuchh dilkash na thiiN
phir bhii hamne zindagii kii qaid ko kaaTa bohat
The cardiac arrest proved fatal. Dehli ka baanka shayar chala gaya. Who is there to carry the Dehlvi poet's legacy? Despite the fact that I loved his poetry, I couldn't post his works except one ghazal. Now I intend to put up his ghazals selected couplets soon at my poetry site Best Ghazals.