Never miss a story

Get subscribed to our newsletter


×
poetryofallamaiqbalimages.blogspot.com

While civilian governments were in place with irregular spells of military rule, Pakistan’s polity has not been very kind towards its people through most of the country’s history. But a spirit of opposition always existed despite all attempts of repression– and a few undaunted Urdu/Punjabi poets were right in the front line.

A hybrid language that developed to let the subcontinent’s disparate persons communicate with each other while it was used (in a more refined version) by the elite. Urdu with its courtly background and wide intelligibility is well suited for expressing protest– with courtesy! And, poets were quick to use it– though they suffered for their effrontery!


Urdu’s first satirist Jafar Zatalli’s ridicule of Aurangzeb’s inept successors led to one of them, Emperor Farrukhsiyar, condemning him to death in 1713. His fate didn’t deter his literary successors.

In modern times, “Shair-e-Mashriq” Allama Iqbal, in “Shikwa” (1909), addressed his protest to the highest authority conceivable (“Shikwa Allah se khakam badahan hai mujh ko”) and Faiz Ahmed “Faiz” displayed quite an anti-authoritarian stance. For example, ‘Ham Dekhenge’ and Iqbal Bano’s live and spirited rendition in 1985 was at the height of Zia-ul-Haq’s reign.

When Iskandar Mirza and Ayub Khan’s military coup ended Pakistan’s first turbulent spell of democracy. The new dispensation came under attack by poets too. In 1959, a year after Ayub assumed sole power, a poet in a ‘mushaira’ being broadcast live from Rawalpindi declaimed: “Kahin gas ka dhuan hai/Kahin golion ki baarish/Shab-e-ahd-e-kam nigahen/Tujhe kis tarah sarahein.”

The programme was abruptly taken off, the director transferred and the poet was jailed. It would be the first but certainly not the last prison term for Habib Ahmad “Jalib” (1928-93).

He attacked Ayub’s 1962 constitution in “Dastoor” with its uncompromising refrain: “Aise dastoor ko/Subh-e-be-noor ko/Main nahi maanta, Main nahi jaanta” (reprised in subsequent stanzas: “Zulm ki baat ko/Jahl ki raat ko/Main nahi maanta, Main nahi jaanta”, “Is khule jhoot ko/Zehn ki loot ko/Main nahi maanta, Main nahi jaanta” and finally “Tum nahi charaagar/Koi maane magar/Main nahi maanta, Main nahi jaanta”)

The prevalent crony capitalism inspired: “Bees gharane hai abaad!/Aur croroon hai nashaad!/Sadr-e-Ayub zindabad!”
In Yahya Khan’s time, Jalib, addressing his portrait at a mushaira, said: “Tujhse pehle wo jo ek shaks yahaan takht-nasheen tha/Usko bhi apna khuda hone ka itna hi yaqeen tha.” A latter work bemoaned: “Dakuan da je saath na dende pind da pahredar/Aj pairaan zanjeer na hondi jeet na hondi haar/Paggan apne gal wich pa lo turo pet de bhar/Chadh jaye, te mushkil lehndi bootan di sarkar.”

In Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto’s time, the peremptory summons to a prominent actress to perform for the Shah of Iran at the Prime Minister’s Sindh mansion led to the iconic: “Larkane chalo/Warna thaane chalo/Apne hoton ki laali lutane chalo/Warna thaane chalo/Jism ki lauh se shame jalane chalo/Warna thane chalo/Gaane chalo/Warna thaane chalo.”

Zia-ul-Haq was pilloried in “Zulmat ko Zia” (literally darkness to light): “Is zulm-o-sitam ko lutf-o-karam/Is dukh ko dawa kya likhna/Zulmat ko zia, sar sar ko saba/Bande ko khuda kya likhna”.

Jalib’s Punjabi counterpart was Chiragh Deen “Ustaad Daman” (1911-84), alegend of pre and post 1947 Lahore whose creed was: “Istage te hoyi te asi Sikandar honde han/Istage ton thale uthriye te asi Qalandar honde han/Jab ‘Daman’ ulajh jaaye hukumat se/Te asi chup-chap andar honden han.”
He made his first trip to jail, when at a mushaira early into the Ayub era, and he recited: “Sadde mulk diyan maujan hi maujan/Jithe dekho faujan hi faujan.”

Further trouble came when Daman questioned Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto: Jaanaa hai/Qaum da tu kaddi phloos jaanna hai”, “Ae ki kari jaanaa, ki kari jaanaa/Kadi Shimle jaanaa hai, te kabhi Murree jaanaa/Ae ki kari jaanaa, tada tar jaanaa hai, tada toos jaanaa hai/Jithe jaanna hai, ban ke tu jaloos jaanna hai/Kadi Cheen jaanaa, kadi Roos jaanna hai/Kadi ban ke Amriki jasoos jaanaa/Oye ki kari jaanaa/Laae khes jaanna, khichi dari (as recited by new “Khabar Naak” host Naeem Bokhari in a recent episode). A police raid on his house and ‘bombs’ were found.

Daman also provided the best requiem for 1947. “Bhanve mouhon na kahiye, par vicho vich/Khoye tusi vi o khoye asi ve aan” and ending: “Lali akhiyan di payi das di ae/Roye tusi ve o, roye asi ve aan”. Its recital during his India visit reduced Pandit Nehru to tears.

The point is lost if we treat them as Pakistani poets only and forget the larger message of politicians. Their hubris is not confined to their country but has wider application in the region and especially now!
(Vikas Datta, IANS)


Popular

Pexels

Narakasura's death is celebrated as 'Naraka Chaturdashi' popularly known as Choti Diwali

Diwali is arguably one of the most auspicious and celebrated holidays in South Asia. It is celebrated over the span of five days, where the third is considered most important and known as Diwali. During Diwali people come together to light, lamps, and diyas, savour sweet delicacies and pray to the lord. The day has various origin stories with the main them being the victory of good over evil. While the North celebrates the return of Lord Rama and Devi Sita to Ayodhya, the South rejoices in the victory of Lord Krishna and his consort Satyabhama over evil Narakasura.

Narakasura- The great mythical demon King

Naraka or Narakasur was the son of Bhudevi (Goddess Earth) and fathered either by the Varaha incarnation of Vishnu or Hiranyaksha. He grew to be a powerful demon king and became the legendary progenitor of all three dynasties of Pragjyotisha-Kamarupa, and the founding ruler of the legendary Bhauma dynasty of Pragjyotisha.

Keep Reading Show less
Wikimedia Commons

Safety-pins with charms

For all the great inventions that we have at hand, it is amazing how we keep going back to the safety pin every single time to fix everything. Be it tears in our clothes, to fix our broken things, to clean our teeth and nails when toothpicks are unavailable, to accessorize our clothes, and of course, as an integral part of the Indian saree. Safety pins are a must-have in our homes. But how did they come about at all?

The safety pin was invented at a time when brooches existed. They were used by the Greeks and Romans quite extensively. A man named Walter Hunt picked up a piece of brass and coiled it into the safety pin we know today. He did it just to pay off his debt. He even sold the patent rights of this seemingly insignificant invention just so that his debtors would leave him alone.

Keep Reading Show less
vaniensamayalarai

Sesame oil bath is also called ennai kuliyal in Tamil

In South India, Deepavali marks the end of the monsoon and heralds the start of winter. The festival is usually observed in the weeks following heavy rain, and just before the first cold spell in the peninsula. The light and laughter that comes with the almost week-long celebration are certainly warm to the bones, but there is still a tradition that the South Indians follow to ease their transition from humidity to the cold.

Just before the main festival, the family bathes in sesame oil. This tradition is called 'yellu yennai snaana' in Kannada, or 'ennai kuliyal' in Tamil, which translates to 'sesame oil bath'. The eldest member of the family applies three drops of heated oil on each member's head. They must massage this oil into their hair and body. The oil is allowed to soak in for a while, anywhere between twenty minutes to an hour. After this, they must wash with warm water before sunrise.

Keep reading... Show less