Friday, April 23, 2010

Love For Couplets

There is something very specific about poetry in Indian language that is different from its English counterparts - The art of writing poetry in couplets. A couplet that is complete in itself, in its meaning and its story and also fits in to the overall poetry made out of these beautiful couplets together. I am not thinking hard as I am typing this. I would like to go through a few of my favourite couplets as they come to my mind. I am not keeping it constrained by a theme / poet / Language. Ghazal writing - the form for which the couplets are created is a very strong form created in Urdu and the style has over the years been adopted by Hindi and Gujarati poets too. Many poets believe that Ghazal's are the most heart touching write-ups of a poet, as Mariz (A Gujarati Poet) writes :
હોઈ ઉર્દૂ ની ઓથ કે હોઈ ગુર્જરી ની ઑ મરીઝ,
ગઝલો ફકત લખાઈ છે, મોહબ્બત ની ઝબાનમા
Which can be roughly translated to :
चाहे लू उर्दू की या लू गुजराती की कसम मरीज़,
ग़ज़ले सिर्फ़ लिखी जाती है , मोहब्बत की ज़ुबान में
And there have been years of poetry that has experimented in this mixing of languages. One of the best and the one of the oldest that I remember is by Amir Khusro (1253-1325). Thinking that this kind of mastery of mixing persian with Braj bhasa existed centuries back, humbles our mind (In the first verse, the first line is in Persian, the second in Brij Bhasha, the third in Persian again, and the fourth in Brij Bhasha.)
ज़ीहाल-ए मिस्कीन मकुन तघाफुल,
दुराए नैना बनाए बतियां;
की ताब-ए हिजरां नदाराम ए जान,
ना लेहो काहे लगाए छातियाँ
Which can be translated (Source : Wikipedia) as :
Do not overlook my misery
Blandishing your eyes, and weaving tales;
My patience has over-brimmed, O sweetheart
Why do you not take me to your bosom?
There are a lot of couplets like these that I admire and are timeless.And I truly belive that writing something contemporary is as difficult as such timeless pieces. The one that I like in the contemporary ones is a couplet by Javed Akhtar on the burgeoning city life :
उँची इमारतो से मकान मेरा घिर गया,
कुछ लोग मेरे हिस्से का सूरज भी खा गये
And the poets keep on writing a lot on God, on lost love, on philosophies of life, on emotions, on love and everything that they see around. Every poet has a past and has a story to tell along with. Nida Fazli whose life like that of poets like Saahir had been impacted by parition of our country writes about worshipping God in these beautiful lines :
Ghar se Masjit bahut door hai, chal aa yun kar le,
Kisi Rote hue Bachhe ko hasaya Jaye,
Nida fazli has written such beautiful verses, including the idea of innocence of kids that most of those lines have been memorable for me. For example.
Bachhon ke chhote haathon ko, Chaand Sitare chu lene do,
Chaar Kitaabein padh kar ye bhi ham jaise ho jayenge.
I remember a similar nice line from Javed Akhtar that talks of how the kids of today's world are getting smarter :
Chaand mein budhiya Buzurgo mein khuda dekhe,
Bhole itne bhi ab ye bachhe nahi hote
This idea of conveying the start and end of life in terms of childhood and old age has been used by umpteen number of poets and have been used really well. But there were poets and there was Ghalib. The great Mirza Ghalib, who with an air of above the world feeling, wrote :
Baazicha-e-Atfal hai duniya mere aage,
Hota hai sab-o-roz tamasha mere aage,
(Baazicha - e - Atfal = Playground of kids)
And many poets who have been disenchanted with the society and life and the world in general have written things that would mean a world to many poetry lovers like us. Saahir writes beautifully about the idea (And this was sung by Mhd.Rafi with equal finnesse)
Tang aa chuke hai kasm-e-kash-e-Zindagi se hum,
Thukra na de jahaan ko kahi bedili se hum
Saahir famously had a life of failed love affairs and this also goes with lives of many other poets. Poetry hence is created from the indepth feeling of not getting the beloved. Mariz explains how his words have become his own enemies in this couplet,
Mujh par Sitam kari gaya, mari ghazal na sher,
Vaanchi ne rahe chhe e koik bijana khayal ma
which can be translated to :
Mujh par sitam dha gaye, meri ghazal ke sher,
Padh padh ke kho rahe hai wo kisi aur ke khayal mein
A similar emotion as conveyed by Saahir, about a lost passionate love affair, can be found in the following 4 lines that he wrote for a song :
Tumhe bhi koi uljhan rokti hai peshkadmi se,
Mujhe bhi log kehte hai ki ye jalwe paraye hain,
Mere humraah bhi rusvaaiyaan hai mere maanzi ki,
Tumhare saath bhi guzari hui raaton ke saaye hai
A Gujarati poet - Gani Dahiwala in a very famous Gazal of his says this about comparison of his love with the beloved who got separated as :
Tame Raaj Raani na Chir sam, Ame Rank Naar ni Chundadi,
Tame Tan par raho ghadi-be-ghadi, ame saath daiye kafan sudhi
which can be translated as :
Tum ho jaise kisi maharaani ke vastr-aabhushan, hum hai gareeb naari ki chunari,
Tum rehte ho tan par pal-do-pal, ham saath dete hai kafan tak.
Gulzaar, who has written many memorable songs in his long career as poet and who has written some of the most contemporary songs at all times writes in one of his early works about the way of living in this world :
Jab bhi ji chaahe nayi duniya saja lete hai log,
ek chehre pe kai chehre laga lete hai log
And this incompleteness of things that always remains with everyone and that is always beautifully summrized by poets and can also be seen in Nida Fazli's beautiful words :
Kabhi kisi ko mukammal Jahaan nahi milta,
Kahin zameen to kahin aasman nahi milta

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