Sunday, November 20, 2011


      Akhtar ul Iman (1915–1996) was a noted Urdu poet and screenwriter in Hindi cinema, who had major influence on modern Urdu nazm..He happens to be  my favourite modern urdu poet . Credit goes to him for shaping the contours of modern Urdu Nazm . He has been a trend setter and an exponent of Philosophical Humanism. A sample of his Modern Nazm . A nazm wherein passionate humanity has been put into the effort of realizing GOD. Lines from His poem Naya Ahang:-

Loghaat alfaaz Ka ek Dher hai Lafzon Pe mat Jaana ,
Nayaa Ahang Hotaa Hai Moratab Lafz o Maani Kaa ,
Mere Haq Mein abhi Kuchh Faisalaa Saadir Naa Farmaana ,
Mein Jiss Din Aaoongaa Taaza Loghaat Hamraah Laoongaa .
( Akhtar Ul Iman )
The dictionary is nothing but a heap of words,
Be Cautious and discreet !
A fresh design is in the offing to define everything anew.
Pray , Don’t pass any judgment at the instant .
The day I come my Lord ,
I shall bring along with me the new Lexicon.

Akhtar Ul Iman comes close to Franz kafka 's character GREGOR SAMSA ( Novel "The Metamorphosis" ) in below lines

Mein Rubber ka Bana aisaa Babwaa hoon jo
Dekh sunataa Hai mehsoos kartaa hai sab,
Peit mein Jis Ke sab Zehar Hi Zehar hai ,
Peit Meraa Kabhi Gar Dabaaoge tum,
Jis Qadar Zehar hai ,
sab Ughal doonga tum sab ke chehron pe mein.

( I am like a doll of rubber
i watch , listen and feel everything .
My belly has nothing but poison ,
See if you ever press my belly ,
I shall vomit the entire poison on all of you ,
Just straight on your faces ! )

I have also attempted to translate one of his poems
“At the last stop Before My Destination ”. The poem goes as under :-

“At the last stop Before My Destination ”.

I shall continue moving like this only,
Yes treading this red , white , green and black earth.
Listen You ! Whosoever is over there ! Listen!
Let me know if any one is with me.
None! Okay let it be None !
I make myself free from even the dust
That came to my feet
In this journey .
Now I have returned what ever was yours ,
Let any one lodge his claim and I shall redeem it ,
Tomorrow no one should link me to falsehood,
Tomorrow don’t doubt my intentions ……

Another poem that I like has been beautifully translated to English by Mr Mehmood Jamaal

(Pride of Cities)

How can you hear a scream in this huge city
among the clamouring buses and thundering trains ?
There is a buzzing of bees in the constant crowd.
Catch someone and murder him in broad daylight, if you please !
Go rob a woman of her chastity, she's yours !
Who will hear a scream in this vast city ?

Big cities, my friend, are for big projects :
speeches of honoured ministers, processions of leaders,
marches, demonstrations, unity and all that.
This is the place for night people, decadence ---
whoever told you this was a centre of learning ?

Look ! just freshly arrived, a royal personage ---
and all the important city gents will lick
his boots and present him with a petition;
then, after that, some president of a bank,
some new ambassador, some new leader,
some manager with plans for industry,
a delegation for cultural exchange,
big plans, big sacrifices, big talk,
functions, parties, big hotels, big big tricks ---
Big cities, gentlemen, are for big people.

But there are those in here who are nameless;
came to laugh at the golden city
but they had a long way to go,
those who came to build this world.
They all had big hearts, big souls,
were full of knowledge, wit,
but in the politics of the world were small.
A big city is for big works my friend !

A breaking heart is not a rocket that you can see;
in a big city, who can hear a scream ?
( Urdu to  English Translation by Mehmood Jamaal )

Creative Commons LicenseCHINAR SHADE by Autarmota is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 India License.
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