For decades, 'Shauq' Jalandhari was the driving force behind literary and cultural activities in Chhattisgarh, once the eastern part of Madhya Pradesh.
Shauq Sahab who is credited for giving a new dimension to Urdu poetry by adding Christian* imagery and in process enriching the 'shayari', is now settled in Jharkhand [carved out of Bihar].
Read the couplet:
mujahid haiN sadaaqat ke hameN Dar kyaa shahaadat ka
saliibeN* dekh kar bhii apnii jii-daari nahiiN jaati
...and the reference to Hazrat Isa [Jesus] is quite clear in his poetry
mujhse Khuda ke vaaste mazhab na poochhiye
jis dar ka huuN maiN, uskii bhikaari hai zindagi
Shauq Sahab was born in Jalandhar in 1930. He spent decades in Chhattisgarh after settling in Raipur, post- independence. This is the part of central India where Urdu language and literature suffered heavily after partition, due to exodus of the large number of Urdu speakers [mostly Muslims].
One of his couplets:
Ye meraa sar hai neze par uchhalo jis tarah chaho
ki har ek daur meN yaaro bulandi par rahaa huuN maiN
kal shab tere khayaal kii aisi havaa chalii
yaadoN ka pur-bahaar shajar jhuumtaa rahaa
shauq-e-parvaaz meN par jab se nikaale hamne
aasmaanoN meN kai chaand uchhale hamne
ameer log kahaaN milte haiN GhariiboN se
samandaroN ne nadii kii taraf nahiiN dekhaa
sunahre kal ki basharat hai mere she'roN meN
ki maiN ne guzri sadi ki taraf nahiiN dekhaa
|Literary journal 'Asbaaq' published special issue on him|
For a long period, he remained associated with the All India Christian Urdu Writers Association [also termed as Anjuman Masihi Musannifin-e-Urdu].
Former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee also honoured him for his contribution towards literature.
Poet Nazir Fatehpuri pays him tribute in his long Nazm [the first letter of each couplet adds to Shauq sahab's name], two couplets from which I am producing here:
Aabruu-e-sukhan ka milaa hai laqab.....
...Ibn-e-Maryam ke shaidai tujhko salaam
Zakhm-khurda ko marham hai tera kalaam
Pune-based literary journal Asbaq recently published a special issue dedicated to Shauq Sahab's life. Though there was never a poets of different faiths in Urdu, and there are still eminent Hindu, Christian, Sikh, Zorastrian (Parsi) and Jain Urdu poets, the presence of non-Muslim Urdu writers is less among youngsters.
Kya hazrat-e-Shauq ka maslak hai, yuuN to haiN kaliisaaii lekin
mandir meN bhii aksar milte haiN, masjid meN bhii aksar jaate haiN
Shauq Jalandhari has been a big influence on Urdu poets and budding writers in Chhattisgarh. Poets and writers in the region are unanimous about his effort in keeping the Urdu culture alive in Raipur for four decades.
When the Chhattisgarh Urdu Academy was constituted, he became its Vice-chairman. 'Shauq' dedicated his life to social work and charity. Today he leads a contented life with his family in Ranchi. We wish this soldier of Urdu a long life that he would continue to enrich the literature for many more years to come.