Monday, March 10, 2008

Aawara - Majaz

Shaher ki raat aur main naashaad-o-nakaraa phiru
Jagmagaati jaagati sadakon pe avaara phiru
Gair ki basti hai kab tak dar badar mara phiru
Ai Gam-e-dil kyaa karu, Ai vehshat-e-dil kyaa karu.

Jhilmilate qumqumon ki raah mein zanjeer si
Raat ke haathon mein din ki mohani tasveer si
Mere seene par magar chalati hui shamasheer si
Ai Gam-e-dil kyaa karu, Ai vahashat-e-dil kyaa karu

Ye rupahali chhaaon ye aakaash par taaron ka jaal
Jaise sufi ka tasavvur jaise aashiq ka Khayaal
Aah lekin kaun jaane kaun samajhe ji kaa haal
Ai Gam-e-dil kyaa karu, Ai vehshat-e-dil kyaa karu

Phir vo Toota ik sitara phir vo chuyi phuljhadi
Jaane kis ki god mein aaye ye moti ki ladi
Hounk si seene mein uthi chot si dil par padi
Ai Gam-e-dil kyaa karu, Ai vehshat-e-dil kyaa karu

Raat hans hans kar ye kehti hai ke maikhane mein chal
Phir kisi shahnaaz-e-laalaarukh ke kaashaane mein chal
ye nahin mumkin to phir ai dost viraane mein chal
Ai Gam-e-dil kyaa karu, Ai vehshat-e-dil kyaa karu

Har taraf bikhri hui rangeeniya ranaiya
Har qadam par isharaten leti hui angdaiyan
Badh rahi hai god phailaaye hui rusavaiyan
Ai Gam-e-dil kyaa karu, Ai vehshat-e-dil kyaa karu

Raaste mein ruk ke dam le lun meri aadat nahi
LauT kar vaapas chalaa jaau meri fitrat nahi
Aur koi hamnava mil jaaye ye qismat nahin
Ai Gam-e-dil kyaa karu, Ai vehshat-e-dil kyaa karu

Muntazir hai ek tufaan-e-bala mere liye
Ab bhi jaane kitne darvaaze hai vaha mere liye
Par musibat hai mera ahed-e-vafa mere liye
Ai Gam-e-dil kyaa karu, Ai vehshat-e-dil kyaa karu

Ji mein aata hai ki ab ahed-e-vafa bhi tod du
Un ko pa sakta hu main ye aasara bhi chod du
Haan munasib hai ye zanjeer-e-hava bhi tod du
Ai Gam-e-dil kyaa karu, Ai vehshat-e-dil kyaa karu

Ek mahal ki aaa se nikala vo pila mahtaab
Jaise mullah ka amamaa jaise baniye ki kitaab
Jaise muflis ki javani jaise bevaa ka shabaab
Ai Gam-e-dil kyaa karu, Ai vehshat-e-dil kyaa karu

Dil me ek shola bhadak uthaa hai aakhir kya karu
Meraa paimana chalak uthaa hai aakhir kya karu
Zakhm seene ka mahek uthaa hai aakhir kya karu
Ai Gam-e-dil kyaa karu, Ai vehshat-e-dil kyaa karu

Muflisi aur ye mazahir hain nazar ke saamane
Saikdon changez-o-naadir hain nazar ke saamane
saikdon sultan jabar hain nazar ke saamane
Ai Gam-e-dil kyaa karu, Ai vehshat-e-dil kyaa karu

Le ke ek changez ke haathon se khanjar tod du
Taaj par us ke damakata hai jo patthar tod du
Koi tode ya na tode main hi badhkar tod duu
Ai Gam-e-dil kyaa karu, Ai vehshat-e-dil kyaa karu

Badh ke is indar-sabhaa kaa saaz-o-saamaan phunk du
Is ka gulshan phunk du, us ka shabistan phuk du
Takht-e-sultan kya, main saaraa qasr-e-sultan phunk du
Ai Gam-e-dil kyaa karu, Ai vehshat-e-dil kyaa karu

Ji mein aataa hai ye murdaa chaand-taare noch lu
Is kinaare noch lun aur us kinaare noch lu
Ek do ka zikr kya, saare ke saare noch lu
Ai Gam-e-dil kyaa karu, Ai vehshat-e-dil kyaa karu


Sand said...


Just felt you might like to appreciate this pen portrait which I translated! Sincerely hope you do. Would welcome your comments.

Have a good day,


A free flowing translation of the original Marathi article by Madhav Moholkar.
from his book "Geetyatri". Originally published in the Diwali issue of the

journal 'A Ba Ka Da Ee'.

Aye Gham-E-Dil Kya Karoo ...?

It was only after I stepped into Mumbai city that I truly understood
the poem 'Awara' by Majaz. I used to stay in Hotel Majestic, which was
located opposite Regal Cinema. And often during those early days in
Mumbai, I used to step out for long walks in the evenings. And at every
step, I remembered Majaz. Especially, when I strolled from Nariman
Point and went along the lights on Marine Drive to Chowpatty.

Majaz would have aimlessly walked around these streets - turning
wherever the heart pleased ... in an unfamiliar city of lights and
lonely lanes, his sole companion was - a heart overwhelmed with
unbearable grief ...

Shahar Ki Raat Aur Main, Naashaad-o-Naakaara Phiroo
Jagmagaati-Jaagati, Sadko Pe Awaara Phiroo
Gair Ki Basti Hain Kab Tak, Dar-Ba-Dar Maara Phiroo
Aye Gham-E-Dil Kya Karoo, Aye Vahshat-E-Dil Kya Karoo ...?

For the metropolis called Mumbai, Marine Drive was The Queen's
Necklace. For Majaz it was a sharp, gilt-edged sword which
pierced his heart:

Jhilmilaate KumKumonki Raah Mein Zanjeer-see
Raat Ke Haatho Mein Din Ki Mohini Tasveer-See
Mere Seene Par Magar Dehki Huee Shamsheer-see
Aye Gham-E-Dil Kya Karoo, Aye Vahshat-E-Dil Kya Karoo ...?

The night would smile and the house of wine would beckon Majaz.
And later he would even get seduced by the charms of some faceless,
nameless beauty. And then, there were times when none of that would be
possible ... Majaz would then drift to some isolated place ...

Raat Has Has Ke Yeh Kahti Hain Ki Maikhaane Mein Chal
Phir Kisi Shahnaaz-E-Lala-Rukh Ke Kashane Mein Chal
Yeh Nahi Mumkin To Phir Aye Dost, Veerane Mein Chal
Aye Gham-E-Dil Kya Karoo, Aye Vahshat-E-Dil Kya Karoo ...?

Another glittering Mumbai evening ...
The Taj Mahal Hotel ...
And the moon rising behind it ...

Majaz saw the moon differently ... for him ...

the moon was a Mulla's pagdi ...
a grocer's account book ...
the youth of a destitute ...
and the charms of a widow ...
All pale. All dull!

Ek Mahal Ki Aad Se Nikla Woh Peela Mahtab
Jaise Mulla Ka Amama, Jaise Baniye Ki Kitaab
Jaise Mufliss Ki Jawani, Jaise Bewa Ka Shabab
Aye Gham-E-Dil Kya Karoo, Aye Vahshat-E-Dil Kya Karoo ...?

When I first heard the strains of
'Aye Gham-E-Dil Kya Karoo, Aye Vahshat-E-Dil Kya Karoo ...?,

Talat's voice went straight to the heart ...
and Majaz's words found a permanent place.

I was in college then in 1953, and 'Thokar' starring Shammi Kapoor and
Shyama had just been released. The music was by Sardar Malik.

And I saw Shammi Kapoor walking down the streets singing ...
Aye Gham-E-Dil Kya Karoo, Aye Vahshat-E-Dil Kya Karoo ...?

The pathos of Majaz and my youthful heart ...
the combination was potent and I was hooked ...
Aye Gham-E-Dil Kya Karoo, Aye Vahshat-E-Dil Kya Karoo ...?

I tried to find out more about Majaz and discovered that he was
not a lyricist but a renowned poet in Urdu literary circles.
And Aye Gham-E-Dil Kya Karoo, Aye Vahshat-E-Dil Kya Karoo ...?
was not a song but two verses from his poem 'Awara' strung into
a song.

I immediately got a friend to write out the complete poem for me.
After that for many, many days and over long, long nights -
I was only reading the poem ... again and again, enjoying it
more and more, feeling it intensely and also trying to understand it.

And the Talat magic was now also at work ...
the musings of a Sufi mystic and the reverie of the beloved ...
had merged!

Yeh Rupahli Chhav, Yeh Aakash Par Taaronka Jaal
Jaise Sufi Ka Tasavvur, Jaise Aashiq Ka Khayal
Aah Lekin Kaun Samjhe, Kaun Jaane Jee Ka Haal
Aye Gham-E-Dil Kya Karoo, Aye Vahshat-E-Dil Kya Karoo ...?

And then Majaz expressed the very quintessence of all his
life and persona ...

In lines which almost shriek with helplessness ...

Raaste Mein Ruk ke Dum Loo, Yeh Meri Aadat Nahi
Lautkar Vaapas Chala Jaoo, Yeh Meri Fitrat Nahi
Aur Koi Humnawa Mil Jaaye, Yeh Kismat Nahi
Aye Gham-E-Dil Kya Karoo, Aye Vahshat-E-Dil Kya Karoo ...?

For me to take a breather ... that is not my habit.
To retrace my steps ... that is not my nature.
To get a companion or a co-traveller ... that is not my destiny
Aye Gham-E-Dil Kya Karoo, Aye Vahshat-E-Dil Kya Karoo ...?

For the next six years, Talat's strains became my soul companions.
Only in 1959, did I realize that every note of Talat had Majaz's very
soul enveloped in it.

A friend, Nishikant Thakar, gifted me Majaz's collection of poems.
I wonder how, but somehow I had realized by then, that Majaz had
written 'Awara' in Mumbai and written it with tremendous anguish
about the city.

But I had not seen Mumbai till then and the poem did not
make the kind of impact ... which it did after I experienced Majaz's

And then I found another astonishing aspect.

I was attending the 1957 Sahitya Sammelan in Aurangabad. One of those
evenings, I saw Pyaasa. And the film left its spell on me ... to the
extent that I saw it for four consecutive days, at times, even bunking
the literary sessions! And from the moment, I saw Pyaasa, till I got
Majaz's book, I used to believe that every line in Pyaasa was Sahir's
work. But when I read Majaz's book, the feeling of deja vu kept
occuring ... the heart averred that I had 'heard' these lines

And then once at midnight, the lines crashed through my deep sleep and
it suddenly struck me - Pyaasa! The Jaane Woh Kaise Log The Jinke ...
sequence ... YES!

The affluent publisher Ghosh has hosted a party.
Many renowned poets are present at the evidently highbrow event.
Vijay the poet is the 'naukar'.
And Mrs. Ghosh is Vijay's former love.
She is about to serve spirits to the guests when Ghosh
ticks her off ...
"Naukronke Hote Hue Tum Kyon Taqleef karti Ho Dear?
Vijay, Sochte Kya Ho ... Jaam Do ..."

And one shaayar presents his ghazal ...

Roodaad-E-Gham-E-Ulfat Unse, Hum Kya Kehte, Kyonkar Kahate?
Ek Harf Na Nikla Hotho Se Aur Aankh Mein Aansoo Aa Bhi Gaye ...
Uss Mehfil-E-Kaifi-Masti Mein, Uss Anjuman-E-Irfani Mein
Sab Jaam-Ba-Kuff Baithe Hi Rahe, Hum Pee Bhi Gaye - Chalka Bhi Gaye ...

How can I relate this tale of a lost love? What could I say?
Not a word escaped the lips, and the eye was full with tears ...
In the mehfil of of joy and frolic, the erudite, merely sat with their
goblets ...
But the wine - I drank ... and my goblet was also overflowing ...

The story of unexpressed love was none other than Majaz's ...
not just Sahir's.
And may be the saga of every poet in this world.

A senior poet then presents his sher ...

Kaam Aakhir Jazba-E-Beikhtiar Aa Hi Gaya
Dil Kuch Iss Surat Se Tadpa Unko Pyar Aa Hi Gaya ...

Vijay hears this and his feelings find their way in ...

Jaane Woh Kaise, Log The Jinke, Pyar Ko Pyar Mila ...

Clearly, Majaz belonged to the line of poets who got only sorrow in
return for their love.

Actually, any girl would have been swept off her feet by Majaz
who was a handsome and sensitive man, as well as a poet!

Ismat Chugtai once stated that there was a time when the girls in
Aligarh Muslim College threw lots with Majaz's name on their chits.
His poems were under their pillows - they often swore that if nothing
worked out, they would name their sons Majaz.

Amidst the tinkling bangles, girly giggles & flying dupattas -
wafted Majaz's poems! Nothing but Majaz was on the girl's minds!
And they also had questions galore - what does Majaz do, where does
Majaz live, is Majaz involved with some girl?

These were Majaz's college days as he completed his B.A. in Aligarh
Muslim University. After college, Majaz came to Delhi in 1936
and worked with All India Radio as Editor of their journal,
which Majaz had christened 'Aawaaz'.

And in Delhi, Majaz fell in love.
And as the story goes, he was jolted in love.

Nobody really knows what happened in Delhi - it is said that
a beautiful woman from Delhi's highbrow circles had a special
place in Majaz's tender heart. And that she was already married.

But Majaz's heart was shattered.
He left Delhi and carried those broken splinters back to Lucknow.

Rukhsat-E-Delhi Teri Mehfil Se Ab Jaata Hoon Main
Nauhagar Jaata Hoon, Nala-E-Lub Jaata Hoon Main

And after that Majaz seems to have entirely lost his balance -
there was no limit to his drinking.

In 1940, he got his first nervous breakdown.
He used to repeatedly say "One girl wants to marry me.
But my rival is constantly threatening to poison me."
Majaz's parents tried all kinds of treatments and managed to somehow
restore a sense of balance. And they thought of the remedy that
parents would normally think of. Find a girl and get Majaz to settle
down. But now the world looked at Majaz differently. He had acquired a
reputation of not being 'sane'. The world now saw his shortcomings.
The girls who were once his greatest admirers, were now terrified by
the prospect of a lunatic.

But for the sake of his parents and his sisters, Majaz had consciously
decided to behave 'normally.' One of Majaz's sisters - Safiya was
married to Jaan Nisaar Akhtar, the lyricist and poet and father of
Javed Akhtar.

For some time, Majaz worked with the 'Bombay Information Bureau.' He
later enrolled for a degree in Law at the Lucknow University. With
Sibt-E-Hassan and Ali Sardar Jafri, he also worked on a periodical
'Naya Adab'. He then joined Delhi's Harding's Library as Assistant
Librarian. His parents found a girl for him and just when everyone
thought that Majaz was about to tie the knot, the girl's father who
was a Government Servant, turned down the proposal.

That struck another blow! And in 1945, Majaz again lost his mental
balance. He used to go around talking about his greatness - a
megalomania of sorts ... he would make a list of great poets and
after Ghalib and Iqbal, he would put the name Asraar Ul Haq Majaz ...

His family left no stone unturned and with all kinds of medical
attention, Majaz recovered.

But he found life to be futile and could never overcome his
loneliness. He tried but could never lead a life like the ordinary
folk around him and he spent the rest of his life immersed in alcohol.
He drowned all the bitterness in the bottle ... till the end of his

Ham Maikade Ki Raah Se Hokar Guzar Gaye
Varna Safar Hayaat Ka Behad Taveel Tha ...

"Majaz had gone insane twice - he is drunk all the time and wanders
aimlessly." Sahir Ludhianvi introduced Majaz in this fashion in
the journal 'Savera' published from Lahore. Majaz was terribly hurt.
He responded like a true poet ...

Kuch To Hain Mohabbat Mein Junoon Ka Asar
Aur Kuch Log Bhi Deewana Bana Dete Hain!

One goes nuts in love and often some people also drive you so ...

But Sahir loved Majaz and both were true friends.
When everyone around taunted Majaz about his drinking,
Majaz was quick to lash out ...

Main Sharaab Peeta Hoon
Tum Kya Peete Ho?
Aadmi Ka Khoon?

Sahir could never forget these lines. In fact, he wanted to make a
movie on Majaz's life. He could not make the film but he made a
Rafi song out of these lines in Naya Raasta which was tuned by
N.Datta ...

Maine Pee Sharaab,
Tune Kya Peeya?
Aadmi Ka Khoon?

Majaz & Sahir came to Mumbai to try their hand in films. An
acquaintance fixed an an appointment for them with the Producer-
Director P.N.Arora, who was in the proces of making a film called
Hoor-E-Arab (The Arabian Beauty).

It was a boiling hot, summer afternoon and Arora kept the poets
waiting on a bench outside his air-conditioned cabin. Helen who was
then Arora's paramour entered the cabin. And the chances of the duo
meeting Arora were getting slimmer as they waited. Majaz was extremely
upset by the heat and this treatment. The acquaintance, who had lined
up the appointment appeared and said ...

"Aadaab Arz Hain Sahir Sahab! Aadaab Arz Hain Majaz Sahab !
Hoor-E-Arab Ke Gaanonki Kuch Baat Huee?"

"Jee Abhi Tak To Nahi" said Sahir.

"Kyon?" the acquaintance enquired.

"Kyonki", Majaz retorted wiping his brow, "Hoor to kab se andar hain,
aur hum to bahar Arab mein baithe hain!"

The pun and the repartee was indeed Majaz's forte.

The famed, revolutionary poet Josh Malihabaadi recounts this anecdote
in his autobiography "Yaadon Ki Baraat" which was banned by the
Government of Pakistan. He once advised Majaz on drinking.

"Dekho Majaz, Sharaab peene ka sahi tareeqa yeh hain, ki aahista
aahista pee jaaye. Main bees minute mein ek peg khatam karta hoon. Aur
hamesha ghadi saamne rakhkar peeta hoon. Tum Bhi ghadi saamne rakhkar
peeya karo !"

"Ghadi Rakhkar?" Majaz was sceptical, "Mera Bus Chale to Main GhadAA
rakhkar Peeya Karoo !"

Like Majaz was upset with Sahir he was also irked by Josh.

Majaz had been discharged froom the mental hospital and though he
looked normal, he was not entirely cured of his ailment. Josh did not
know this.

Majaz once called the Commissioner of Delhi and asked him for one
hundred rupees. When Josh heard this, he pulled up Majaz and remarked
that with this action of Majaz - the very dignity of poetry had bitten
the dust.

Majaz did not say a word but quietly wrote ...

Jo Guzarti Hain Kalb-E-Shaayar Par
Shaayar-E-Inquilaab Kya Jaane ...

What would the revolutionary poet know
about a tender romantic poet's heart !

Basically, Majaz was an extremely sensitive, romantic poet. From the
beginning he had a tremendous attraction for love and beauty. Even as
a child, if a beautiful lady visited his home, Majaz would forget
everything else and gaze at her for hours! Though Majaz's poetry
flowered under the guidance of 'Jazbi' and Phaani' - he had a
particularly soft corner for the romantic poet who wrote "Aye Ishq Hame
Barbaad Na Kar" - Akhtar Shirani.

The Urdu writer Prakash Pandit remembers a touching incident about
this. After the Indo- Pak partition in 1948, Sahir and Pandit had
started an Urdu journal 'Shahraah' in Delhi. They had just found a new
home in a Muslim basti of Delhi. The situation was rife with communal
tension at that time so both were quietly shifting to their new home
in the night. Sahir was shifting their belongings inside the house
and Prakash was staying guard outside.

Suddenly a good looking man with sharp features came staggering along,
very obviously drunk and he kept muttering ... "Akhtar Shirani Mar
Gaya ... Tu Urdu Ka Bahut Bada Shaayar Tha ... Bahut Bada" he kept
repeating these lines with agitated gestures ... Prakash was a little
unnerved ... Josh Malihabadi who also lived in the same neighbourhood
came along and recognized Prakash ... Josh immediately said ...
"Inhe Samhalo Prakash ... Yeh Majaz Hain."

Prakash Pandit saw the creator of Aye Gham-E-Dil Kya Karoo in such
circumstances ... as Majaz grieved over the passing away of Akhtar
Shirani ...

Actually Akhtar Shirani and Majaz had many aspects in common. The
poetry of both had the pathos of a directionless life as their central
theme. And of course there was liquor. And yet another was - the beloved.
Shirani wrtote about Salma or Azra whereas Majaz wrote about his
'Zohra-Jabee' These names were similar to the names of their real loves.

In real terms, although Majaz loved Akhtar Shirani, he had gone far
ahead of Shirani as a poet.

Although Majaz too wrote about Love and Beauty, his poems always
retained a a social consciousness. Instead of fantasizing a world of
Love and Beauty somewhere else, Majaz rebelled against the customs and
traditions which constrained these emotions. Although helpless himself,
he always wrote against the shackles of the religious establishment.

Yeh Majboori Si Majboori, Yeh Laachari Si Laachari
Ki Uske Geet Bhi, Jee Kholkar Main Gaa Na Saka
Hade Woh Kheech Rakhi Hain, Haram Ke Pasbaanone
Ki Bin Mujrim Bane Paigaam Bhi Pahuncha Na Saka

Despite Love being his central theme, Majaz expressed his anger
against social injustice with such a force that a senior Urdu poet
and critic Asar Lucknawi observed, "A Keats was born in Urdu poetry
too, but he was devoured by the conservative wolves."

Although he was a romantic like Keats, Majaz had looked at his own
personal highs and lows with a social perspective. No poet can stay
in the air for too long and at some stage gets his feet on the ground.
Majaz had introduced this progressive approach way before the
Progressive Writers Association was formed.

Khoob Pahchaan Lo Asraar Hoon Main
Jin Se Ulfat Ka Talabgaar Hoon Main
Khwaab-E-Ishrat Mein hain Arbab-E-Khirad
Aur Ek Shaayar-E-Bedaar Hoon Main
Aib Jo Haafeez-O-Khayyam Mein Tha
Haan Kuch Uska Bhi Gunhegaar Hoon Main
Hoor-O-Gil Ma Ka Yaha Zikr Nahi
Nau-E-Insaan Ka Parastaar Hoon Main

My name is Asraar (Asraar Ul Haq was Majaz's true name)
I am in search of love.
All intellectuals are dreaming. Asleep.
I am awake. And I am a poet.
Haafiz and Khayyam paid tributes to Beauty and Wine.
I too am a little guilty of that crime.
You will not find heavenly damsels and angels
In my writings ...
Because I am a worshipper of humanity ...

Majaz's writings always had a progressive strain.
It was never propaganda, but was a statement of his own
experience of it. And hence the progressive line of thought finds
an extremely sensitive & artistic expression in his work.

In the preface to Majaz's 'Aahang', the famous progressive poet Faiz
Ahmed Faiz wrote "Majaz never beat the drums of revolution, he hummed
revolutions!" Almost unknowingly, Majaz had imbibed the progressive
thought and that manifested in his work.

In Awara (1937), he wrote ...

Mufalissi Aur Yeh Majahir Hain Nazar Ke Saamne
Sekdo Sultan-E-Jaabir Hain Nazar Ke Saamne
Sekdo Changez-O-Nadir Hain Nazar Ke Saamne
Aye Gham-E-Dil Kya Karoo, Aye Vahshat-E-Dil Kya Karoo ...?

Majaz did not lament his own individual helplessness, but also those
of a society, of his times. And to forget all these sorrows, Majaz had
drowned them in alcohol. Neither did he eat or sleep. He only
wanted the bottle.

The highbrow and the affluent, pandered only to this need of
Majaz. Many a glittering party and mehfil saw a Majaz drowning himself
in spirits, as he sang the agonies of his heart.
To the rich audiences, this was entertainment. When he tired or fell
unconscious, these so called bigwigs got their drivers to drop him
off. Or lock him away in a secluded room in their mansions.

After his second nervous breakdown, Majaz was treated with great
difficulty in the mental hospital at Ranchi. But Majaz did not change
one bit after he was released.

And then came yet another evening. Another mehfil - when Majaz drank
away. When he fell unconscious, his friends left him behind in the
bar. (Apparently, one of them was Jalal Malihabadi who wrote Mujhe
Kisise Pyar Ho Gaya in Barsaat).

Only God knows how the helpless Majaz, spent the freezing night,
all alone.

The next day on December 15, 1955, he was taken to hospital ...
where a nerve snapped and everything was over ...

I read about Majaz's tragic end about four years later ...
And I felt sad - as if he had just passed away ...

However, Majaz had told his friends long back ...

Mere Barbaadiyon Ka Hamnasheenon
Tumhe Kya, Khud Mujhe Bhi Gham Nahi Hain ... !

For many days after that, I remembered many of Majaz's lines ...

'Ab Tum mere Paas Aayee Ho, To Kyon Aayee Ho?'

'Mujhe Jaana Hain Ek Din Tere Bazm-E-Naaz Se Aakhir'

'Bataoon Kya Tujhe Aye Hamnasheen! Kisse Mohabbat Hain?'

'Rukhsat Aye Humsafari! Shahr-E-Nigar Aa Hi Gaya'

Majaz had broken the strings of existence but his voice still
reverberated ... somewhere deep down in the heart ...

Chhup Gaye Woh Saaz-E-Hasti Chhedkar
Ab To Bas Aawaaz hi Aawaaz Hain ...

Much later, while reading Kamleshwar's 'Dak Bangla' my mind again
flashed back to Majaz.

The character - Ira describes one Hemendra Batra. He looks fierce
almost scary but once he is drunk he oozes humility. His dignity and
innocence manifested only when drunk. And in his collection of Western
pop songs, there was but one exception ... one Hindustani record ...
Aye Gham-E-Dil Kya Karoo, Aye Vahshat-E-Dil Kya Karoo ...?

Ira recalls Hemendra's life ...
of how he used to get agitated and pace up and down his room listening
to those lines ...

Gair Ki Basti Hain Kab Tak Dar-Ba-Dar Phiroo ...
Gair Ki Basti Hain ...

And throughout her life, Ira recalls these lines and finds newer
meanings at every turn ...

Just the other day at Bhulabhai Desai auditorium, a program was held
in Faiz Ahmed Faiz's honour. And as Ali Sardar Jafri spoke, he
remembered Majaz and was visibly moved.

He fondly remembered ... one late night, in Lucknow after a mehfil ...
Majaz, Faiz, Jazbi and Jafri strolled across to the terrace of Moti
Mahal ... on the banks of Gomti.

The mehfil came alive again ...
And Majaz for the first time recited Awara ...

And he expressed his feelings so poignantly in ...
Aye Gham-E-Dil Kya Karoo, Aye Vahshat-E-Dil Kya Karoo ...?
that a resounding "Wah Wah' echoed from across the Gomti!

This could only happen in Lucknow, mused Jafri with tears in his eyes.

Even Shailendra had recorded in his diary ...
Of a drunk Majaz, and how he had poured his life into every
line as he sang ...
Aye Gham-E-Dil Kya Karoo, Aye Vahshat-E-Dil Kya Karoo ...?

I once narrated all this to Talat Mahmood.
He grew restless and started recalling Majaz's days in Lucknow ...
and unknowingly slipped into the song ...

Raaste Mein Ruk ke Dum Loo, Yeh Meri Aadat Nahi
Lautkar Vaapas Chala Jaoo, Yeh Meri Fitrat Nahi

And Talat paused ... when he hummed the line ...

Aur Koi Humnawa Mil Jaaye, Yeh Kismat Nahi

to exclaim "Wah Majaz!"

A moment later, Talat was simply overwhelmed, when I remarked ...

Saari Mehfil Jispe Jhoom Uthi 'Majaz'
Woh To Aawaaz-E-Shikast-E-Saaz Hain ...

The mehfil had applauded with joy ...
To the sounds of the string - which had just snapped ...


Deepshikha said...

Wah Sandeep. Its lovely. Thank you.

ruheen said...

well a very good and lovely poem from alegendry poet hope you provide some more if ever u wana help iam here

Rajbir Deswal said...

I had been singing this Talat song and wondering on the lines-"aur main naasaad-o-nakaara phiroon"...people have called Majaz maglomaniac but who can belive this after listening to these lines--and also jaise sufi ka tassavur, jaise ashiq ka khayaal.Thanks for

Adi said...

heya thanks for this wonderful post..was searching about Majaz Lucknawi ever since a friend recited a few lines of his poetry..

Shailesh said...

hey - thanks a ton for posting the full text of Majaz's 'Aawara' here. I have been searching for it for a while. Its probably the most heart-breakingly beautiful Urdu ghazal ever!

Sohail said...

no doubt that it is heart breakingly beautiful but it is not a ghazal. it is a nazm.

a ghazal is distinguished by an entire thought being expressed in two lines, rarely in four lines, known as a qit'a. ( a Qit'a when used in a ghazal normally comes in the the middle somewhere, but Qita'a are also written as stand alones) At times poets have written what is called a musalsal(continuous) ghazal. this form is marked by a central idea running through an entire ghazal, despite each sher being complete in itself.

The composition Awaaraa is a nazm
it follows what is called a stream of conscience the poet begins with the particular, himself, moving on to the general, to what has been called manzar nigaari (description of the seen) and then on to political comment, to an injust social order that has echoes in his own sense of purposelessness, and culminating in a crescendo of anger, rejection and a strong desire to rip apat and destroy an order that rests on injustice and inequality.

The fifteen stanza nazm follows a rhyming scheme that does not fit the rhyming pattern of a ghazal

A ghazal would normally go like this AA,BA,CA,DA,EA,FA......AA
THE first set of AA rhym is the first sher called MATLA' and the last set is the laast sher of theGhazal called the MAQTA" the maqta normally carries the nom de plume or thkallus of the poet

the rhyming scheme of the 15, four line stanzas of Awaaraa runs as follows AAAA,BBBA,CCCA,DDDA,EEEA,FFFA,GGGA,

I hope it is not seen as an intrusion but as an effort to help

Deepshikha said...

@sandeep: I read your contribution again, and I am so overwhelmed. I cant thank you enough to provide so much of information. Thanks a lot.

@Sohail: Thanks for the clarification. Although I dont understand the rythm bit, but I am sure many who do will benefit, plus, now even I will call this a nazm.

Dr. Sarkar Haider said...

Thanks a Lot sandeep sahib
Majaz is epitome of everything which could go wrong with any genious. such people are like a very bright shooting star world admires their glitter without realizing the rapid decay they undergo in the process of illumination

navin said...

aapne to rula diya hame,
kaash isko abida parvin apni awaj de deti to to jaman ro padta.
majaj saheb bahut bade communist the,
hamare chacha comrade syambihari ji unhe bahut pass se jante the,bahut sunate the unke baare me,lucknow me

Sohail said...

Ab Aabida parveen ke jaadoo ke baare mein mein keh nahin sakta,

Aabida Parveen Bulleh Shah ki Kaafiyan Gaati hain to zaroor Jadoo karti hain, aur Kaafiyan gaane mein koi unke muqable mein nahin hai.

urdu shaeri ko gana zara tehri kheer hai, asl mein jab tak aap her sher ko achchi tarah samajh na len, use ada karna aasaan nahin hai.

Ghalib ke ek mashhoor sher ke maadhyam se mein apni baat zyada saaf tareeqe se rakh sakoon ga.

Qaid-e-Hayat-o-band-e-gham asl mein donon ek hain
Maut se pehle Aadmi Gham se najaat paaye kyon

is sher ka arth yeh hai ke

jeevan ka bandhan aur dukh ka bandhan vaastav mein ek hi hain
jab tak jeevan hai tab tak dukh se mukti nahin mil sakti

lekin agar gaane waala vyakti is sher ko is tarah gaa de:

Qaid-O-Hayat-O-band-O-gham asl mein donon ek hain

then the sher would loose all its meaning, because then this line would mean

Both Being Under Arrest, Life, Restriction and pain is the same.
Now what is happening is that wrongly prononcing O istead of E at two places as in
Qaid-O-Hayat and Band-O-gham instead of
Qaid-e-Hayat and Band-e-gham
destroys the entire Sher.

This mistake was in fact made by a famous ghazal singer, and it was almost broadcast with the mistake.

So what I am saying is that just because one can sing it does not necessarily mean that one can also sing ghazals. The nuances have to be understood before they can be sung and that is why, most ghazal singers choose, meaningless poetry like

Hungama hai Kyon Barpa
Thodi si jo pee li hai

Fahad said...

is shaher ki kashmakash mein main bhi ek kinaare ke talaash ke liye nikla

Deepshikha said...

@Fahad: We are all looking for that little heaven for ourselves. :-) You are not alone. :-)

Anonymous said...

Nice job, Thanks

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Man Aman Singh Chhina said...

Amazing insight into Majaz. Simply amazing. Glad I came across it. Read it twice.

Anadi said...

Majaz's poetry leaves us with so many questions about life which are so wonderfully and fearlessly knitted in the form of words.I am a true admirer of this great poet and when i read about his life i wrote few lines-

Unki hawaon me aaj bhi rang-e-sukhan bhara hoga
Jin galiyon me Majaz kabhi awara phira hoga..

Na jane us sard raat me usne kya kya na kaha hoga
Par sunne vala use vahan koi na raha hoga..

Jis ishq ka talabdar raha ta-umra vo sukhanvar
Vo ishq shayad use allah se mila hoga..

Anadi said...

Majaz's poetry leaves us with so many questions about life which are so wonderfully and fearlessly knitted in the form of words.When i read about his life i wrote few lines-

Unki hawaon me aaj bhi range-sukhan bhara hoga
Jin galiyon me Majaz kabhi awara phira hoga..

Us sard rat me usne jane kya kya na kaha hoga
Par sunne vala use vahan koi na raha hoga..

Jis ishq ka talabdar ta-umra raha vo shayar
Vo ishq use shayad Allah se mila hoga..

Nikhil Kumar said...

A recording of Awara: