Sunday, March 11, 2018




I have been told by many friends not to read firaq again and again.I ask why; To which i get following replies..

" In practical life, He was not a man of good moral Conduct. He had a fondness for Liquor even during his old age. ."

"His poetry is sensuous. He only praises feminine beauty. "

" He was labelled as Spoiled genius of India by Gandhi ji ."

" He was short tempered, arrogant and uncompromising "
" He was a Nehru Bhakt."

I ask friends if they have read Firaq; And i am told in affirmative.. I ask if they have read his collections like Gul e Nagma, Naghma e Saaz or Ramz o Kaaynaat or Dharti ki karwat.I am told the expected ,"NO". I ask if they have read his poems like 'Shaam e Ayaadat' (The
EvenIng of Her Visit), Aadhi Raat ( Midnight) , Jugnu (fireflies) ,Handola ( Cradle) or Taraaana e Khizaan ( The song of the Autumn) . I get the expected reply "NO". Most of them have not read his Gazal and poems but heard Begum Akhtar singing some Firaq Gazals .
So you are dismissing a stalwart ( who has written on culture, civilization, loneliness, Nature, Love, hope, separation, and so many aspects of life ) without reading him .

I have no business to focus on Firaq's temper or private life . And discussing the same will not help me in objective evaluation of his work. In creative human beings, you always find varied levels of eccentricities. Do you look to their eccentricities or to the creative standards they establish in Art or Literature?

I shall continue to read and discuss Firaq as a poet of eminence

Firaq worked closely with Gandhi ji and Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru during freedom struggle . He went to prison many times during freedom struggle of the country. He did not join ICS that he qualified. Gandhi ji had asked him to join Gujarat Vidyapeeth as professor but he refused . Pandit ji, Indira ji and Harivansh Rai Bachan held him in highest esteem.

About firaq's poetry i have to make some basic observations .These are...

(1) His love poetry is based on a truthful  response  to primary emotion.

(2) Firaq has enriched and indigenized his urdu assimilating so many words from Hindi, sanskrit and Braj Baasha. Words like komal, kaaran, Deepshikha, Agnikund, vish, Ang, Pawan, Mukh, Kumadni, Kanwal, Banvaas, roop, Singaar, Dukh, Sansaar,Amrit, Suhaagan, and many more have been frequently used by him in poems, Gazals and Rubais.

(3) Rubais in urdu were used by poets as tools of ethical or theoretical suggestions.  Firaq uses them to present images of feminine Beauty and grace. These images have been created or captured in the homely roles of a  woman  who happens to be a  mother, daughter, sister or wife.

(4) Through his Gazals, He has fully explored the emotional, physical and spiritual dimensions of Love as the fundamental emotion of a human being. . While expressing the same in his poetry ,  he gives it  his personal hue and  makeup .

(5) Along with hope, wait, sensuousness and other issues, there is a stream of sorrow that flows through his work . I would call it a sorrow of spiritualised helplessness; And this very aspect brings him very close to Mir Taqi Mir .And Firaq duly acknowledges greatness of Mir when he says' Gazal ka saaz uthaao Barri udaas hai Raat, Navaa e Mir sunaao Barri udaas hai Raat'..

(6) Firaq's study of religious scriptures of Hinduism, Islam and Christianity is profound..If he uses references from Ramayana and Mahabharata, he also makes revered mention of incidents related with Karbala and life of Prophet of Islam. Incidents related with Jesus Christ and Moses have been mentioned at so many places.For him every prophet has visited this earth to ameliorate human pain and suffering. That spectacular quality makes him a true and genuine humanist. I tend to use word humanist instead of Secular .

(7) Firaq's mind was free from inhibitions . He allowed a passage to every thought. Many critics have called his mind a highway or a thoroughfare. Reflexes from such free minds are unpredictable and quite often unexpected.
(8) Firaq had a great fascination for English literature. Who else except firaq could translate Homer, Virgil, Wordsworth, Hardy and Wallace Stevens into beautiful Urdu ?

(9) While descrbing midnight's pillared silence and moonlight set against his individual sorrow , loneliness and wait in poem Aadhi Raat , Firaq takes many turns in between to touch issues of Humanity at large; I mean issues like war, poverty , revolution etc.

.jidhar nigaah karein ek Ataah khaamoshi,
zameen se ta mah o anjum sukoot ke meenar,
khadaa hai ouss mein chup chaap harsingaar ka Peid,
Yeh chaandni hai ke umdaa huva hai Rus saagar,
Gulon ne chaadar e Shabnam se munh Lapeit Liya,
Labon pe so gayi kaliyon ki muskaraahat bhi,
Jagaa Raha hai koyee Aadhi raat ka jadoo
Ek Aadmi hai ke itna dukhi hai duniya mein ?

. And the turns in between are ..

 (a)…Na muflisi ho to kitni haseen hai duniya,

 (b)..Ab inquilab mein shaayad ziyaada deir nahin,

 (c)..Sipaah e roos hain ab kitni door Berlin se ..

( Aadhi Raat was Written around second world war.Russian troops are about to enter Berlin to defeat Nazi Germany )

So long so much. Next time more observations on his poetry.

Me khizaan bhi huun me bahaar bhi
Meri zindagi hai woh zindagi,
Ke misaal e Barg e Gule chaman
Jo gaahe kafan gaahe Pairhan....

( Firaq)

I am the autumn,
I am the spring,
Such a erratic life i lead,
Like the petals of a rose flower,
Now   for the coffin,
 Now  for the for the headdress..

{Autar Mota)

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