Ghulam Nabi Azad criticised for oath in English, Urdu speakers upset

Ghulam Nabi Azad

Ghulam Nabi Azad

Senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad has faced criticism from Urdu speakers for taking oath in English.

Azad, a former Union Minister and an ex-Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir, was expected to take the oath in Urdu, the official language of the state which he belongs to.

Besides, Indian Muslims predominantly speak Urdu and are emotionally attached to it. The Urdu Development Organisation (UDO) has condemned Azad’s decision to take oath in English, which is not his mother tongue either.

UDO office-bearer Bahrul Uloom has urged other Muslim leaders who are supposed to take oath during the next cabinet expansion, to express their love for Urdu, which is one of the official languages of India.

Azad was sworn in as a cabinet minister by president Dr Pratibha Patil after the recent Lok Sabha elections gave a decisive victory to Dr Manmohan Singh-led Congress government. In the past, Muslims have generally taken oath in Urdu.

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Sajid Sajni: The last poet of Rekhti

First an astonishing Urdu couplet:

talaaq de to rahe ho ataab-o-qahar ke saath
meraa shabaab bhii lauTaa do mere meher ke saath

[Sajid Sajni]

While Classical Urdu ghazal was called ‘Rekhta’, the poetry written in woman’s voice by men was termed as ‘Rekhti’. In the late 18th and early 19th century, in a deadent sultanate of Oudh, poetry in woman’s voice was penned by poets as a form of protest.

It was promptly dubbed Rekhti (opposed to Rekhta). Sa’adat Yaar Khan Rangin is credited as its creator. Though Insha, Jurat and Jan Sahib were other exponents.

In this genre, men wrote poetry in a feminine voice, using the idiom of women (begumati zubaan) and addressed another woman (bhabhi, baaji, aapa, ammi, saheli et al).

It gave a voice to women to express their grievances in their own language, except that it was written by men. Later it degenerated and was never recited in genteel soirees or homes. The genre died in the middle of 19th century

But Sajid Sajni revived it and refined it. He gave it a healthy direction apart from his sharp wit, satire and humour. Sajid Sajni was born in Lucknow in 1922 and settled in Bhopal in 1946.

[Article courtesy: Nasir Kamaal]


Eminent Urdu poet Mazhar Imam’s literary journey

rashk karte haiN jeetne vaale
hamne is taraH maat khaaii hai
[Mazhar Imam]

Here is a selection of some of the couplets of eminent Poet Mazhar Imam:

Mazhar Imam's Urdu coupletsRenowned poet Mazhar Imam has been one of the leading Urdu poets of the sub-continent for over half-a-century.

He was born in 1928 in Bihar’s Darbhanga district. His father Syed Amir Ali was a post master. Imam did his post-graduation in Urdu and Persian before going to Pune for diploma from TV and Film Institute.

In 1951, he joined a daily newspaper Karvaan that was published from Kolkata (then Calcutta). He remained jobless for sometime before he became a schoolteacher for Rs 60 per month. Later he joined All India Radio and remained associated for over three decades. Mazhar Imam is considered the founder of Azad Ghazal genre in Urdu poetry.


Allama Jamil Mazhari and his poetry

Legendary Urdu poet Jamil Mazhari

Legendary Urdu poet Jamil Mazhari

Allama Jamil Mazhari is a name that is taken with utmost respect in Urdu circles. The complete works of this legendary poet have recently been published.

The voluminous Kulliyat-e-Jamil Mazhari is a must for every bibliophile. The first part has over 200 Nazms. Educational Publication House has printed it.

A leading poet of his generation, Allama Jamil Mazhari never cared about name or fame. And this is one reason, he was often neglected by critics.

hamiiN the apne liye aap ek hijaab Jamil
ham uTh gaye to zamane ne hamko pahchaana

Jahangir Raza Kazmi, Hasan Shakil Mazari, Husain Khurshid Mazhari and Afzal Hasan Jafri have compiled this unique book. Another famous couplet of the poet:

baqadar paimaana-e-takhayyul suruur har dil meN khudii ka
gar na ho ye fareb-e-paiham to dam nikal jaaye aadmii ka

Interestingly, the other day Hindi blog Mohalla had mentioned Allama Mazahri and his visit to meet Jawaharlal Nehru. As per the anecdote, Allama was tired because of the long journey from Bihar and slept while sitting on the chair.

Though Dinkar and Suhail Azimabadi were alarmed, Nehru didn’t mind it and conversed in soft voice so as not to disturb his sleep.

Meanwhile, I must thank eminent poet Allama Ali Abbas Ummeed for letting me see the book and write a piece on it. This book can be obtained from Educational Publication House by sending an email to


Rahman Abbas’ Urdu novel released

An Urdu novel ‘Ek mamnua mohabbat ki kahani’ was released at a function in Mumbai recently.

Eminent writer Salam Bin Razzaq released the book. He hailed the novel as a major work set in the backdrop of Konkan region.

Razzaq said that the novel is set in Konkan but the story revolves around a village. He said that it’s heartening to see region-based works in Urdu.

Aslam Pervez, Muqaddar Hameed and Yaqoob Rahi were also present. The function was organised under the aegis of literary group Eteraaf.


Indian Muslims, Urdu and Communalism

Filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt

Filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt

Renowned filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt has appealed to the citizens to join hands to restore Urdu to its rightful place in India.

Recalling that his mother Shireen was a Shia Muslim who was married to a secular Hindu Brahmin, she had to hide her religion because she didn’t want her children to suffer and face communalism or develop comlex personalities, he writes in an emotional article in The Hindu.

He recounts how his father made Bollywood movies that had dialogues in Urdu but had shouted when he heard All India Radio’s Urdu service programmes on radio in the house.

Mahesh says that his father had termed it Pakistani radio and she meekly turned off the radio. Though she often visited Majlis, she raised Mahesh as a Hindu and told him stories about Hindu mythology.

It was later when he grew up, did he realised that he had a Muslim legacy which he needed to sport proudly. Mahesh Bhatt is sad that the state doesn’t promote learning of Urdu.

After the amendment of constitution, it is the duty of the government to ensure teaching the language at primary and secondary level.

He urges citizens to fight for the rights of Urdu populace. ‘It is the fundamental right of every Urdu speaking child to get education in his mother tongue and all Urdu lovers must force the government to act urgently.

Read the passionate plea of Mahesh Bhatt

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Demise of Urdu poets Rafat Sarosh, Fiza Ibn Faizi and other eminent writers

Recently two important Urdu poets, Rafat Sarosh and Fiza Ibn Faizi passed away.

Sarosh, who was born on April 8, 1924, in Nagina town in Bijnore district of Uttar Pradesh. He had spent long years of his professional life with the All India Radio (AIR).

He was 84. Sarosh’s auto-biographical work is considered an important literary masterpiece and gives us a peep into the life of writers of his generation. He passed away on November 30, 2008 and with him anothe pillar of Urdu poetry has fallen.

Another veteran poet Fiza Ibn Faizi passed away in January 2009. He 86. Faizi was a native of Maunath Bhanjan (Mau) district of Uttar Pradesh (UP).

He was considered a ‘qadir-ul-kalaam’ poet and had received numerous awards from across the Urdu world. At least, six poetry collections of Faizi had been published and acclaimed.

Last year several renowned poets like Hafiz Banarasi ( 1933-2008), Ahmad Faraz (1933-2008) and Saghar Nizami had left for heavenly abode.