July-September 2002 Issue
Fusion of multi
tiny specks of Pranav which pervades the Universe in the shape of OM. A
drawing by Late Radha Krishen Kaul (Kotha), retired Asstt. Engineer of
Bal Garden, Srinagar (Originally of Rainawari). Shri Kotha passed away
in September 1994 at Delhi
... Manmohan Kaul-Achkan
Nineteenth Century India, particularly
Delhi, was the highest point in the growth of Urdu literature. The climax
came in 1857 AD which today we call first battle of Indian Independence
(then called Mutiny), Bahadur Shah Zafar, the last Moghul king, himself
a poet of some significance, was imprisoned and banished to Burma (now
Mynamar). He pathetically concluded one of his poems with this couplet:
Hai kitna badnaseeb Zafar,
dafan ke liye
'How unlucky is (Bahadur Shah) Zafar, just
for burial, he could not get two yards of land in his beloved country.
(Lit: Lane of his beloved)'
Do gaz zameenj bhi na milee kooi yar
The famous masters like Sauda, Zauk,
Galib etc. lived their lives. Some poets moved to Lucknow. Special mention
may be made of Mir Taqi Mir. On arrival in Lucknow, he went to a Mushaira
(Symposium) dressed in his outdated attire by the then Lucknow standards.
He was jeeringly asked, "Hazrat, aapka watan"? He replied with this couplet:
Kya bood bash poocho ho Purab
'What residence you are asking me? Oh you
residents of East (Lucknow id East of Delhi). Just because I am poor, you
are laughing at me. Delhi was a selected city of the world, in which only
elite of the world lived. Time has ravaged the city and I am a resident
of that city.'
Hum ko garib jaan kay, hans hans pukartay
Dilli jo ek shahar tha, alam main intikhab
Rehtay thay muntkhib kis rozgar kay
Falak nay ussey loot kay weeran kar
Hum rehney waley hain ussi ujday diyar
Next day, the whole city was agog
with the news that Mir Sahib had arrived. The local Nawab promptly sent
him Rs. 200 per month as a Pension.
Some poets moved to Deccan (Hyderabad)
and some stayed in Delhi, till their own sunsets.
Urdu language continued to prosper
in U.P. (then United Provinces of Agra and Audh), Delhi, Punjab (which
included present Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and of course J&K State
- where the State's official language continues to be Urdu). Then came
Indian Independence. Till early fifties, Hindi was unknown. The Hindi zealots
introduced highly Sanskritised Hindi, which went over the heads of average
people. Lots of jokes used to be prevalent. What is the Hindi word for
'Handkerchief'? Reply: Mikha marzana vastrakhand. What is the equivalent
of a 'Necktie'? Reply: Kantha Langot. What is the word for 'Rail
Signal'? Reply: Agni vahana gamana agamana suchak loh patika. This
was not the language Gandhi and Nehru had in mind. But who would listen?
AIR became the touchstone for Hindi words. Thanks to Hindi Film Industry,
they had to sell their pictures to people in the street. So they stuck
to bazari language. For instance 'Shadi shuda' is a wholly Persian/Urdu
word for a married person. In today's Hindi, nobody uses the correct Hindi
word Vivahit. Similarly other words like Guftagu (Dialogue/Conversation),
(Identical), Rubaru (Face to face). These are all Persian and thereby
Urdu words. But then any language is enriched by borrowings from other
languages. English is replete with words borrowed from Greek and Latin.
Some French words are used in their original form viz: Debris, Buffet,
A la carte etc. In fact Algebra, Alcohal are Arabic words.
Now Urdu is slowly dying out. Even
Muslims of U.P. don't read it any more. Muslims from Tamil Nadu, Karnataka,
Gujarat had never learnt the language ab initio. Whole of northern India
except J&K State has switched to Hindi. In Kashmir also, those who
have to deal with the rest of the country, have of necessity to learn Hindi.
In fact among the Muslims of Kashmir too, the ones with greater foresight
and width of vision, put their children through rudimentary Hindi. Perhaps
in future Urdu language would be taught optionally as French and German.
The Urdu aficionado of future will have to look towards Pakistan for the
growth of this language.
19th and 20th Centuries of Christian
Era have left behind a rich legacy. The future generations will wonder
at the 'Parwaz-i-Takhayul' (Flight of imagination) of all time greats
of Urdu Literature viz. Sauda, Mir Dard, Mir Taqi Mir, Insha, Momin, Hali
Galib and of course Iqbal. (Incidentally Iqbal's grandfather was a Kashmiri
Pandit converted to Islam. His father was a tailor in Sialkot and mother
a housewife, but deeply religious. His 'Saare jahan se accha Hindoostan
hamara' is on the lips of every Indian. Some believe that he originally
conceived the idea of Pakistan and others say the idea was implanted in
him by our 'do-good' friends - the British. He died in 1938 AD.
The contribution of Kashmiri Pandit
community has not been less. Who does not know about Pandit Brij Narain
Chakbast, who translated Ramayana into Urdu poetry. Earlier there was Pandit
Daya Shankar Kaul, a resident of Agra, who had written a Diwan (Compendium)
His Takhalus (Pen name) was Naseem. He was a Munshi in the Army. His preceptor
was Khwaja haider Ali 'Atash', originally of Delhi but settled in Lucknow.
When Pandit Sahib went to show him his Diwan, Atash advised him to reduce
it. 'Ye padega kaun' was Atash's remark. His poetry has received
great praise from his Guru and other critics. In fact this writer has found
his mention in a book devoted to all time greats. His son, most likely,
Pandit Dwarika Nath Kaul was an established Poet from his Maktab (School)
days. Infact he is even today remembered about his repartee :
Sheikh ne masjid bana mismar
His spot reply
Agey ik surat bhi thi, ab saaf
And the most difficult one:
Kafir hain jo bande nahin Islam
Laam ke manand hain gesu Ghanshyam
Alas he died very young, around 28 years,
possibly because of TB.
Kafir hain jo banday nahin is lam key
There is a joke doing the rounds.
Urdu was born in U.P., grew in Punjab, became rich in Hyderabad and died
in Madras (Chennai).
(Source:AAb-i-Hayat by Maulana Molvi Mohammed
Hussain Azad, Dehlvi (Urdu).