Bashir Badr, a fine poet, has lately become an embarrassment for the entire Urdu fraternity.
His excessive bragging and boastful statements suggest that he is bordering megalomania.
In a recent interview published in a prominent Hindi daily newspaper, Badr, said that if Mir and Ghalib were alive even they would be jealous of his popularity. Though the interviewer didn’t ask him, he repeatedly said that he owns plush house that has over ten rooms on both the floors.
Badr is the Chairman of Madhya Pradesh Urdu Academy and got the post due to sycophantic ways. When asked why the Academy has stopped publishing books and helping writers who are living in penury, he said that he was not aware of that.
When he was asked that a veteran poet like Raza Rampuri is seriously ill and needs financial support but why the Academy wasn’t bothered, Badar didn’t care to answer. Flying off at a tangent, Badr said that he considerd Atal Bihari Vajpayee as his father.
He kept on saying things like, “I make lot of money, earn thousands for a single couplet” and that he is “the last poet in the line of great poets of Urdu that is a language borne out of Sanskrit”.
Ironically, Badr has been sycophantic to such an extent that he once famously said that he can even clean the floor of the BJP office. It was in return that he was offered the post of Urdu Academy chairman.
In interviews, he keeps on stressing that there is no photograph of his father in his house but Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s photographs are present in every room.
During his tenure the MP Urdu Academy has stopped all work. There are few function, hardly any seminars, no campaigns for Urdu or efforts to appoint Urdu teachers, except a couple of mushairas every year.
No doubt, Bashir Badr is a fine poet. His collections of poetry have earned him name and fame. But he is neither the most representative poet of his era, nor a poet of stature of Shaharyar and Ahmad Faraz, let alone Ali Sardar Jafri, Majrooh, Kaifi Azmi or Janisar Akhtar.
However, his statements claiming that he is better than Ghalib and Meer, have hurt his image. Publicly and even among poetic fraternity he is now looked down upon. Many of his couplets are said to be work of old masters with lesser fame which he allegedly changed to suit his needs.
The literary societies who used to invite him for mushairas, stopped inviting him because of his demand for more fee. He also used to force them to send two tickets so that he could take his wife along.
Still, despite all these allegations and controversies, he was considered a fairly good poet. But in the last couple of years, his growing megalomania had made him almost a pariah in Urdu poetry circles.