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By Vikas Datta
If we compare poetry to a landscape, it would be one that is constantly but gradually evolving with its contours keeping on changing. Features that may have once loomed large may later be barely indistinguishable from the remaining terrain. Urdu poetry is one such relatable aspect.
In English poetry, there were times when Sir Philip Sidney, John Donne, Alexander Pope, Robert Southey, Christina Rosetti or Edna St Vincent Millay (and many others) were the best-known but now may only be known to a handful of connoisseurs, or dedicated literary scholars. Urdu was no different.
Mirza Asadullah Khan ‘Ghalib’ is today the most well-known Urdu poet, but in his own time, his contemporary Sheikh Ibrahim ‘Zauq’ was much more well-regarded and followed though now virtually eclipsed. There were scores of others, much feted in their times, but now banished to the boundless void of obscurity – though hopefully not gone so far as they can’t be brought back into current consciousness.
Like, perhaps, this representative from an illustrious cultural city, and credited with being among those who gave a new lease of life to the ghazal.
In his time, Mirza Muhammad Hadi ‘Aziz Lakhnavi’ (1882-1935) was esteemed highly by both peers like Maulana Abdul Kalam Azad, Allama Shibli Nomani, Abdul Halim ‘Sharar’, the incomparable biographer of Lucknow, Mirza Muhammad Hadi ‘Ruswa’ of “Umrao Jaan” fame and Allama Mohammad Iqbal and Akbar Hussein Rizvi ‘Akbar Allahabadi’ who even wrote couplets – in Persian – extolling his art. But now, few will recall his name.
As his sobriquet indicates, Aziz chose to be identified with the “Dabistan-e-Lakhnau” or the Lucknow School of Urdu poetry. It was however often criticised for its “shallowness”, “undue focus” on linguistic acrobatics and wordplay, expression of sentiments, like love, at a basic, profane level, and a certain coarseness but is this criticism justified?
No, says prominent scholar Khaliq Anjum, who has brought out a selection of Aziz’s works, noting these features were never a representative of the whole school and are mostly seen in a part of the work of a trio of early 19th century poets associated with it. And then these characteristics can also be found in some associated with the rival Delhi school too. And Aziz, even if he dealt with issues of love, brought to it a certain refined sensibility to his verse, he says.
Details about the poet’s life are sketchy, but we know he was born in Lucknow in February 1882 to a family originally from Iran’s Shiraz, was the son of Mirza Mohammad Mehdi, studied at the city’s famed Firangi Mahal seminary, and later was private secretary to deputy commissioner Mirza Mohammad Abbas Khan.
In poetry, he was a protege of Syed Ali Naqi Zaidi ‘Safi Lakhnavi’ and his own proteges included Shabbir Hasan Khan ‘Josh Malihabadi’ and Nawab Jafar Ali Khan ‘Asr Lakhnavi’. His sole published work was his collection “Gulkadah” (1915), which drew appreciation from Iqbal when the second edition appeared in 1931, with him specially singling out this couplet: “Apne markaz ki taraf maayil parvaz tha husn/Bhulta hi nahi alam teri angdai ka”.
As said, Aziz wrote on love and all its phases in his characteristic style – be it its effect: “Aag to dil ki bujh lene do phir kuch puchna/Hosh kisko jo bataye kya raha kya jal gaya”, the sorrows of parting: “Thi subah aur sitaare kuch jhilmila rahe the/Bimaar-e-shaam-e-furqat duniya se ja rahe the”, its lingering pain: “Shama bujh kar rah gayi parvana jal kar rah gaya/Yaadgar-e-husn-o-ishq ek dil par daagh rah gaya” and so on.
He could be playful too: “Yeh mashvara bahm uthe hain charah jo karte/Ke ab mareez ko achcha tha Qibla-ruu karte” begins one ghazal and its second sher could be familiar to those in romance: “Zabaan ruk gayi aakhi sehr ke hote hi/Tamam raat kati dil se guftagoo karte” and the difficulties could be no better encapsulated as in the ending: “Pahunch ke hashr ke maidan mein haul kyun hai ‘Aziz’/Abhi to pehli hi manzil hai justju karte”.
Aziz could get lofty too: “Batla rahi thi ahl mohabbat ki justju/Jitna voh qareeb tha, itna hi door tha” or “Hujoom shauq ka bas qissa mukhtsar yeh hai/Ke main jo chahta hoon voh kaha nahi jaata” or even “Khuda mahfuz rakhe ishq ke jazbaat-i-kaamil se/Zameen gardun se takraai jahaan dil mil gaya dil se”.
This was brief selection with the hope it interests some towards Aziz, who is a delightful and thoughtful poet, and once wrote: “Kab akele is jahan se ham gaye/Le ke apne saath ek aalam gaye”.
Not many could claim this privilege! (IANS)
- Poems Of Love And War - NewsGram ›
- Today, December 27 marks the birth anniversary of Mirza Asadullah Baig Khan, also known by his pen name– Ghalib and Asad. Ghalib was born in Kala Mahal, Akbarabad, Mughal Empire (present day: Agra, Uttar Pradesh, India). - NewsGram - Lens to India from Abroad ›
- How Akbar 'Allahabadi' turned Akbar ‘Prayagraji’ - NewsGram - Lens to India from Abroad ›
High drama was witnessed in Kanpur Dehat for over an hour when a man, upset over his wife's alleged affair with a local man, climbed the tower with his children and threatened to commit suicide. The incident took place on Monday near Gandhi Nagar in Akbarpur, when the man threatened to commit suicide after throwing his kids down from a height of nearly 40-feet. Chaos prevailed around the area and the locals informed the police that rushed to the spot.
After about half-an-hour of convincing, the police managed to bring him and his children down. The man told the police that his wife's affair was going on with his neighbor. He had complained to the police, but no action was taken. Police said that as per the man, his wife had developed an illicit relationship with a man, living nearby their house. "As per the man, in his absence, his neighbor visited his house often. He said that he had reprimanded his neighbor many times, but to no avail," said the police.
The man had complained to the police, but no action was taken. | Pixabay
The man had also lodged a complaint with the police but no action was taken. On the other hand, Akbarpur police said that on the basis of the complaint, action for breach of peace has been taken against the neighbor accused of luring his wife. Circle officer (CO) Akbarpur Arun Kumar said that the police are trying to sort out the issue. "Whatever action is appropriate will be taken," the official added. (IANS/SP)
(Keywords : Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh, man, wife, alleged, affair, children, India, police, neighbor, complaint, suicide, accuse, drama.)
The US forces continued their bombardment of buildings and institutions in Syria's northeastern Hasakah province, as part of their alleged manhunt of Islamic State (IS) fugitives, state news agency SANA reported. The US forces are shelling buildings and public institutions on Tuesday in the vicinity of the Sina'a prison in the Gweiran neighborhood in Hasakah "on the pretext of hunting down IS militants who fled the prison," said SANA.
The Syrian Foreign Ministry has slammed the US airstrikes as civilian casualties have been reported. | Wikimedia Commons
The shelling came in tandem with waves of raids by the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) to homes in the surrounding areas, rounding up many civilians and taking them to unknown locations, the state news agency added. On January 20, IS inmates inside the Sina'a prison, which is controlled by the SDF, started a riot that was coordinated with IS militants from outside, who detonated the prison's gates with two booby-trapped vehicles, succeeding to free some prisoners.
The incident triggered clashes between IS and the SDF as well as US airstrikes on the areas, where the IS fugitives could have sought shelter in, Xinhua news agency reported. The clashes and airstrikes are still ongoing as the SDF has so far failed to contain the situation and storm the prison. The Syrian Foreign Ministry has slammed the US airstrikes as civilian casualties have been reported. Hasakah province is largely controlled by the US-backed SDF, while certain areas, particularly in the city of Qamishli, are still under the control of the Syrian government. (IANS/ MBI)
(Keywords: US forces, shelling, bombarding, syria, islamic state, civilian casualties, qamishli, tandem, syrian democratic forces)
The circulating avian influenza outbreaks, including in India, do not seem to pose the 'high' risk but surveillance and biosecurity measures are necessary to reduce spillover risk between poultry and wild birds, a UN-backed scientific task force said. Throughout the past autumn and current winter in the northern hemisphere, multiple avian influenza outbreaks, caused predominantly by the H5N1 HPAI virus, plus other subtypes, including H5N8, have occurred in India, the UK, the Netherlands and Israel with the ever recorded mortality of the Svalbard barnacle geese in Solway Coast.
The Scientific Task Force on Avian Influenza and Wild Birds, co-convened by the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS) and the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), on Monday recommended that surveillance and biosecurity measures are reinforced to reduce spillover risk between poultry and wild birds. The Task Force has convened and produced recommendations and guidance for authorities and managers of countries affected or at risk. Wild birds, including globally threatened species, are victims of HPAI viruses causing avian influenza. Affected sites also include areas of international relevance for conservation such as protected wetlands.
More than 2,400 migratory water birds died in the Pong wetlands in Himachal last year because of avian influenza. | Unsplash
It is essential that authorities with responsibility for animal health apply the One Health approach for communicating and addressing avian influenza. That means recognising the health of humans, domestic and wild animals, plants, and the wider environment and acting with a coordinated and unified approach. The Task Force reminds authorities of their international obligations to ensure their response to the pathogenic virus does not include the culling of wild birds, nor actions that would cause damage to natural ecosystems, especially wetlands.
Ruth Cromie, who coordinated the work of the Task Force and the production of the statement, said: "Avian influenza represents a One Health issue threatening health across the board. The highly pathogenic viruses are still relatively new in wild birds and this winter's high levels of mortality remind us of their vulnerability and that working to promote healthy wildlife benefits us all." H5N1 is currently the avian influenza lineage most found in Africa and Eurasia in both poultry and wild birds. The wide range of wild birds affected include wildfowl, waders, gulls, cranes, grebes, herons, pelicans, gamebirds, corvids and raptors (diurnal and nocturnal), in addition to sporadic cases in mammals such as red fox (Vulpes vulpes), Eurasian otter (Lutra lutra) and harbor Phoca vitulina and grey seal Halichoerus grypus.
Consider occupational exposure, e.g. those working on poultry culling operations. | Unsplash
In terms of human health, the currently circulating H5N1 HPAI viruses do not seem to pose the same zoonotic risk as the 'original' Asian lineage H5N1 (clade 2.2 and their derivatives plus clade 220.127.116.11b H5N6 viruses currently in China). In general, the risk can be considered low, recognising that some agencies now consider occupational exposure, e.g. those working on poultry culling operations, as low or moderate. In India, several instances of bird flu were reported in 2021. More than 2,400 migratory water birds, and almost half of them being endangered bar-headed goose, died in the Pong wetlands in Himachal Pradesh last year and that avian influenza (H5N1) was the cause.
Besides the bar-headed goose, the other species that died were the shoveler, the river tern, the pochard and the common teal. An 11-year-old boy died at All India Institute of Medical Sciences in Delhi last year due to avian influenza, country's first fatality. India reported the first outbreak of avian influenza in 2006. RSPB Scotland is calling for an emergency local moratorium restricting shooting on the Solway for the rest of the wildfowling season. It calls for urgent action to reduce the devastating impacts of avian influenza. New statistics from the most recent counts show that the UK is this winter experiencing the worst outbreak of this deadly disease on record, with migratory geese which 'over winter' on the Solway being the hardest hit.
According to RSPB Scotland, the latest population counts of the Svalbard barnacle goose show a drop in numbers from 43,703 in November last year to 27,133 in this month's count. This represents a decline of 38 per cent in the Svalbard breeding population of this species from winter 2020-21. CMS Executive Secretary Amy Fraenkel said: "Through late 2021 and early 2022 there have been numerous outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza H5N1, with severe impacts on migratory birds. "The CMS Secretariat responded by convening the Scientific Task Force on Avian Influenza and Wild Birds together with the FAO. We are pleased to share its advice and key recommendations for countries affected or at risk, and look forward to continuing our collaborative work to minimize risks to humans, poultry and wild populations of migratory birds." (IANS/SP)
(Keywords : avian, influenza, surveillance, United Nation, scientists, breeding, population, birds, affected, countries, poultry, migratory, health, issue, virus, responsibility, international, ecosystem.)