The Tribune - Spectrum


Sunday, June 22, 2003

New offering of ghazals
R.D. Sharma Taseer

IN spite of strident criticism, ghazal as a genre has retained its pre-eminent position in Urdu poetry. If anything, ghazal has become more popular and more representative, so much so that quite a large number of poets in other languages have started writing ghazals. This trend has been welcomed because it could bring these different languages nearer. This may help us discover a common Indian link language. It is a fact that Urdu poetry is alive (if not kicking) due to the popularity and acceptability of its ghazal. It is no wonder, therefore, that 80 per cent anthologies in Urdu are anthologies of ghazals.

The book under review, Auje Aajiz, is one such example — the entire 120 pages have been devoted to ghazals. The poet has, however, held out a promise to publish to his nazms and other writings (other than the ghazal) soon.

The poet (full name: Baldev Singh Aajiz Jalandhri) belongs to a very distinguished gharana of Urdu poetry — the head of this family being great poet, grammarian and guide, Pundit Labhu Ram Malsiani. His greatest contemporaries acknowledge his contribution, especially the fact that he groomed to perfection hundreds of budding Urdu poets who later became ustads. One of Josh Sahibs topmost disciple has paid his tribute in the following couplet:

Ghazal Sahir kee sunker yeh haqeeqat khul gayee hum par

Janab-e-Josh ka shagird bhee ustad hota hai.


(After listening to Sahir, a humble disciple of Josh, all conceded that the disciple can well aspire to be called an ustad).

Aajiz belongs to the concerned family, as he was the disciple of Janab Huma Harnalvi — again a topmost member of Josh Sahib’s family whom his mentor had given the authority to groom younger poets. Huma was a born poet, who lived for poetry. Aajiz’s long association with such a luminary ensured that his poetry was free of linguistic and other flaws.

Josh Malsiani was the disciple of legendary ‘Dagh’ Dehlvi (whom Shams-ur-Rehman Farooqi has very aptly called a poet’s poet).

This school of poetry has some norms which are not to be flouted. On the positive side Dagh Sahib’s contribution which was acknowledged by Ghalib himself, is the evolution of an independent Urdu language free of the burden of Persian verbiology. The emphasis was, therefore, on expressing thoughts (which should be weighty enough to be considered capable of being conveyed through poetry) in the simplest possible language. Let there be no communication gap between the poet and his reader or listener. Aajiz’s anthology can be cited as an example in this connection.

Let us take a few random couplets from different ghazals:

Waquia bhee hai yeh kahani bhee

Kya ajooba hai zindgani bhee.

(It is real as well as imaginary what a mystery this life is!)

Jis pe Aajiz too fida hai

Wohi duniya hai aani jaani bhee.

(Why so much attachment when you know that this world is only a fleeting show.)

Nakhuda us ko na samjho, woh khuda hai, Aajiz

Kishtiyon ko jo kinare se laga deta hai.

(He is no navigator but God himself

who takes the ship across so very safely)

Us kee aamad ka hai mujh ko intizar

Jo mire dil se kabhi jaata nahin

(I am awaiting the arrival of a person who has, in fact, never left me)

These few examples should be enough to illustrate that these couplets are the outpourings of a poet who has had a deep and enduring affiliation with a particular school of poetry to which his mentor belonged. The poet’s reverence for his guru and guru’s guru is total. The debt he owes to them is great. Aajiz acknowledges this with a sense of pride.