Dr Shafaat Faheem Amrohvi – a poet with a difference



You don’t have to be an erudite intellectual to appreciate the beauty of Urdu poetry. When an illiterate truck driver asks a painter to write on the back of his truck: “Ya Elahi gharat kare truck banane wale ko,

ghar se beghar kar diya truck chalane wale ko.”

You won’t fail to appreciate the dry curt humor and sense of helpless of the truck-driver that he had expressed through this couplet. When an antique dealer offers you a pillow cushion with a couplet on it developed with threads telling:

“Takiye pa sir rakha a kisi mast khwab ka,
goya ke qasr-e-husn pa gumbad shabab ka.”

You don’t have to be Moulana Hali or Aley Ahmed Surror to delve the deeper meanings of a lover who might have once gifted that pillow cover to her beloved with the feelings that emanated from the bottom of his heart. You don’t have be Moulvi Abdul Haque to enjoy the fainted line of an old post-card that had an inscription: “Bedard zamane ko bahana sa banakar, main toot ke roya hoon teri yad men aksar” that you had discovered in the discarded cupboard of an attic of a newly rented house. You simply love, respect and salute the last Moughal Emperor Bhahdur Shah Zafar when you read: “Hindiyoun me boo rahe gee jab talak Eman ke, Takht-e-London per chale gee taigh Hindustan ke.” It was composed by him in response spontaneously when he had opened the cover of the platter on which the head of Shahzada Moughal, his brave son, was sent by Col Hudson with a couplet:

“Dam damon main dum naheen, aab khair mango jan ke,
Aey Zafar bus ho chuki Shamsheer Hindustan ki.”

Here I can’t help but reproduce some parts of my article “The Rise and Fall of Urdu Language” that is still available on internet.

“When Kalyan Singh, the famous Aya Ram Gaya Ram of BJP, the fellow who had masterminded the demolition of Babri Masjid, was shown the door for the first time, he used the Urdu language to express his true feelings: ‘Hum Wafa sha-ar the nazron se gir gaye unki. Shayad unhen talash kisi Bewafa Ki Thee’ – meaning, I was loyal and fell in his esteem. Perhaps he was looking for a treacherous buddy.

“Humko unse wafa ki hai umeed, jo nahi jaante wafa kya hai (We hope for loyalty from those who do not know the meaning of the word),” quoting famous Urdu poet Mirza Ghalib.

Sushma Swaraj, the Leader of Opposition stood up with a smile. She quoted the famous Urdu poet Bashir Badr: “Kuch to majbooriya rahi hongi yun koi bewafa nahi hota (There must have been some compulsions, one is not disloyal for no reason at all).”

She then broke into a second verse: “Tumhe wafa yaad nahee, Humein jafa yaad nahee, Zindagi or maut ke toh do hee tarane hain, ek tumhein yaad nahee, ek humein yaad naheen (You don’t remember loyalty, we don’t remember disloyalty, life and death have two rhythms, you don’t remember one, we don’t remember the other).”
Sushma Swaraj too got a thunderous response from her party members. The prime minister just smiled. This is not the first time both have exchanged Urdu and Hindi verses to hit out at each other.

This brouhaha reminded me the famous line that reflects the wounded spirit of an Urdu poet: “Urdu ka Janazah hai baree dhoom se uththe….” It is the coffin of Urdu, let it be shouldered with all the pomp and gaity. To write about this unfortunate language is a painful exercise. This complex and thorny subject can’t be met justice within a short article. For a rational mind it would be a pathetic sight and heartrending scenario to witness a most enchanting seductress, an animated Venus of Languages being dragged to the altar of Fanaticism, Islamophobia, Prejudice and Ignorance – an unprecedented historical callous ritual of SATI inflicted upon a ‘Medium of Expression’. A Language murder de-jure in broad day light of civilization.

The lovers of this beautiful damsel had given her several names: Hindi, Hindavi, Dakni, Lashkari, Rekhta and the last in this chronology is Urdu. Ameer Khusrau, the famous sufi saint, poet, musician, inventor and warrior is supposed to be the father and ‘Khari Boli’ has adopted this baby of Khusrua as its own daughter. Born and brought in pure Indian environment it had taken the impact of Persian or Farsi somehow, the language of Kings and courtiers. It is interesting to learn that with the death of Emperor Aourengzeb, the use of Persian declined in Indian sub-continent. A new language was finding its entry in the towering shoes of Farsi. It was Urdu.

Most of the experts of Lingua Franca agree that no living language of the world could match the power of command, respect, clout and visceral stirring that is imbibed in the two magical Urdu words – “INQALAB ZINDABAD” It was the idiom of Indian Independence.

“Sarfaroshi ki tamannah ab hamarey dil men hai, dekhna hai zor kitna bazooey qatil men hai” I covet to offer my head today, Let me test the strength of my executioner.
Urdu was a language that was common among all faiths of Indians. The Christians missionaries used this medium to preach, propagate and proselytize the north Indians. It is used for the same purpose by missionaries in Pakistan even today.

It is a language that was adored, nurtured and disseminated by Whites, Hindus and Sikhs. The great novelists and short story writers of Urdu were Premchand, Krishanchandar and Rajendra Singh Bedi; the greatest poet of Urdu Masnawi was Pandit Daya Shankar ‘Naseem’. The most versatile and novel Urdu poets were Brij Narayan ‘Chakbast’, Tilwak Chand ‘Mehroom’, Pandit Raghu Pati Sahay ‘Firaq Gorakhpuri’. The all times great critics of Urdu Literature are Gopi Chand ‘Narang’ and Jagan Nath ‘Azad’. Even today the two intellectuals who are the embodiment of all that is fine with Urdu are two Gulzars and both of them are Hindus or Sikhs. One from Delhi, Gulzar Dehelwi and other from Punjab, our very own ‘Jai Ho’ wale Gulzar. This is just the tip of the iceberg. I am forgetting thousands of names of non-Muslims who are and who were proud of their language – Urdu. The famous stalwart of Urdu, Pandit Anand Narain ‘Mulla’ Ex-Chief Justice of Allahabad High Court has once said,” I could forsake my religion but not my language Urdu.” Let me narrate here his famed couplet:

“Woh aour hain jinhen touba ki mil gayee fursat,
hamen gunah bhee karne ko zindagi kum hai.”

Those may be others who got time to seek forgiveness, for me, the allotted time is very short to commit even the Sins.

Today the fake proponents of Hindi Language, along with the band of Islamophobic fanatics claim that Urdu is a language of Muslims only; a language of Pakistan; a language of terrorists.

Nothing is farther from truth! Before the establishment of Pakistan none of the entities that would become West and East Pakistan spoke Urdu language. The languages prevalent in those regions were Bengali, Punjabi, Pushto, Baluchi and Sindhi. The mass migration of Muslims from UP, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Delhi and Hyderabad effectively changed the demography of those regions. The Sindhi majority of Karachi was reduced to a minority and Urdu was proclaimed as National language of Pakistan. What is happening to the language of Mohajirs, the migrants from India, in Bangla Desh and Pakistan makes a pathetic study for any aspirant to think of those areas.

After independence, Congress played the vicious game of ‘play with the hares and hunt with the hounds.’ To questionable role played by Sardar Patel and Govind Ballabh Pant to marginalize Urdu from the national scene is now buried in the history books. The subject how Moulana Abul Kalam Azad was craftily isolated in banishing Urdu would earn galore of Ph. D’s for the aspirants of history, social and political science.

But still there is a silver lining for the dark clouds of Urdu. The young generation of Non-Muslim youth who don’t carry the heavy burdens of history, are taking the bull by the horns. For them Lata Mangeshkar, Jagjeet Singh, Punkaj Udhas, Sonu Nigam, Peenaz Masani, Ghulam and Mehdi Hasan with their superb pronunciation and renditons are the maestros of their fields of Ghazals, Sufiana kalms and geets. Hindi is coming with the new most popular component – Hindi Ghazal.” End quote

And all this background I’d prepared to tell the readers that I simply enjoy and love Urdu in all forms and undoubtedly certainly I’ve no claims over the knowledge and versatility of this beautiful language.

Over the last three centuries Urdu has produced great poets of super intelligence and excellence of presentation. However the 18th century was the century of Meer, the 19th belonged to Ghalib and the 20th was the century Eqbal and Faiz. There is a plethora of twinkling stars in the galaxy of Urdu but there are no moons. Whether this trend will continue in the present century, I if don’t know. Parveen Shakir died young and left a mark but is nothing more than skin deep if we consider the Urdu poetry as a body. This is my opinion. I’m a tyro, a green horn and illiterate whose opinion counts for nothing.

Meer was a natural poet who used the metaphor of the broken, shattered, distraught heart to describe both his own personal loss as also the pillage and destruction of Delhi. He loved Delhi from the bottom of his heart. It was his adopted capital and the deserted streets and empty houses of Delhi became symbols of the passing away of a lifestyle and an aesthetic urbane milieu of his works.

Ghalib was a philosopher, a versatile and learned intellectual who infused the Ghazal with a depth and multi – layers of the form had not hitherto seen. Ghalib also contributed significantly to freeing the Ghazal from the constricting grip of a cold heartless beloved, a successful rival and the perpetually unsuccessful lover-the poet-drowning himself in wine or wallowing in masochistic self pity. He tried to put across the realities of life; challenged the worn out concepts of traditions and beliefs. He was a daring explorer of language and thought. He was a perfectionist and there is no confusion in his thinking. Ghalib raised fundamental questions of existence and being, raised doubts about received world views and established that the Ghazal was capable of tackling complex ideas. The imagery of Ghalib’s poetry drew as much from his immediate surroundings and the rich cultural heritage of South Central Asia that had in turn drawn from the myths of ancient Greece and Egypt, tales and fables that also resonated in the Torah, the Bible and the Quraan. Ghalib lived in strange times, an order was dying and the new was yet to replace it. Ghalib was a witness to these cataclysmic times. The rapid collapse of the Mughal court led to the replacement of a system of patronage with unending uncertainty and penury. The Mutiny of 1857 took away with it the last vestiges of an order that India had known and the ruthless crushing of the uprising led to an era of unprecedented changes whose impact was to inform the creation of literature in a fundamental and far reaching manner. Ghalib, like many of his contemporaries, was deeply shaken by these events and suffered the consequences of this upheaval.

Eqbal is a poet who has left an indelible and everlasting impression upon mankind. It is wrong to assume that Eqbal is the poet of Muslims or he belongs to Urdu literature alone. Eqbal transcends all boundaries. You cannot put him in any category. Like all great poets, he belongs to the whole mankind.

‘Sare Jahan se achcha Hindustan Hamara,
Hum bulbulen hain iski yeh gulsitan hamara.’

MY INDIA is the best amongst all the nations of the world. We are its nightingales and this is our garden. That’s how ‘the poet of East – Allama Sheikh Mohammed Eqbal’ showered his unlimited love for his country. – India.

‘Khake witan ka humko har zarra devta hai” (Each dust particle of my motherland is god to me).

In Focus Eqbal has a great and unique vision of India and he had described his dream of a new India in these words:

“Sach keh doon aye Brahmin gar tu bura na mane. (Should I speak the truth Oh Brahmin if you aren’t offended?)”

Aa ek naya shiwali hum phir se yan bana de’n. (Let us make new temples again)

Shakti bhi shanty bhi bhakto ke geet me hai. (There is strength and peace in the hymns of worshippers)

Dharti ke waasiyon ki mukti preet me hai. (Peace of inhabitants of the world lies in love)

MULLAHS HAVE issued a fatwa on Eqbal for daring to see this dream for a new India.

Eqbal, like so many Muslim intellectuals was disillusioned with the policies of Congress and suggested a federation of Muslim states to protect the culture and civilization of Muslims. The purpose of this article is not to re-open the old controversial chapters of history as Allama Eqbal had died long before independence in 1938. The least I can say is he loved India. That he belongs to Pakistan is travesty of truth. “This is not the whole Truth,” said Professor Abdul Haq, an eminent Urdu critic. “Eqbal foresaw a federal structure for a free India, in which a Muslim-dominated north-western region could be a cultural unit like many others,” he said. As far as the idea of Pakistan is concerned, Iqbal denied that he was the originator of this idea. “Eqbal has clearly denied this in his letters to Raghib Hussain. People don’t talk about these letters since they don’t favor their point of view,” said Dr Haq.

Dr Abdul Haq said that Eqbal is the most misunderstood poet of the 20th century. “We must look at Eqbal in totality if we want to understand him,” he said. Eqbal’s tragedy was that his poetry was used by different groups to serve their own interests. His poetry had so many facets that he seemed to assume different roles in different phases of his poetry: he was a staunch nationalist, a vocal communist, an advocate of Hindu-Muslim unity, a humanist, a believer in Islamic revivalism, a freedom fighter, and an advocate of international brotherhood. No poet in Urdu, and I’m sure in any other Indian language too, has shed as many tears on India’s misery and colonial captivity.

Uth ke ab dore jahan ka aur hi andaz hai
Mashroq-o-maghrib me tere dour ka aghaz hai

“Get up now that the style of the world has changed. It is the beginning of your age in the East and West.”

Faiz Ahmed Faiz is a poet I find nearest to my inner feelings which I’ve no ability or intellect to express. He says what I think; he says what I want to say. I need a separate space to talk about Faiz. He lived a troubled and restless life, Faiz’s work, political ideology, and poetry became immortal and remained an extremely popular and influential figure in the literary development of Pakistan’s arts, literature, and drama and theatre adaptation. Faiz’s work is considered the backbone of development of new Urdu literature, arts and poetry. Along with Allama Eqbal, Faiz is often known as the “Poet of the East” While commenting on his legacy, classical singer Tina Sani said:
Faiz Ahmad Faiz… (was) like a comrade, his thoughts were soft but effective and inspired the classical singers as it did others in the plays we did… Faiz’s poetry never gets old because the problems and situations in this country have not changed. Today we sing him because of his beautiful poetry, missing out on the reasons behind his poems that had predictions..



To conclude this article, I’ve like to talk about my friend Dr. Shafaat Faheem Amrohvi. He is few years senior to me in this world and we had played the same games; drank the same water and breathed the same air till we parted and joined again in Aligarh Muslim University. He has always had a poetic temperament. My Urdu was between poor and weak. I had been below average and low brow in the fields of study – somehow managed to survive and have nothing to boast about. However, I liked his poems when he was a beginner and do still like him when he is transformed into reputed poet.
He has been a lucky inheritor of creative writing. His father, grand-father and forefathers were scholars of religion and Urdu, Persian and Arabic languages. He never had to struggle to recall the appropriated words for his poetry. Words would line up for him at his command. He has the mastery to play around and create new terms – a rare trait in his genre. In some of his works I can see my face.

“Yeh raaz na samjha hai na samjhe ga zamana, 
hum jeetey hue khel ko kyuon haar gaye hain.”

I’ve not been happy when he came to my house with his latest couplet:

“Mere har dost ke lafzon se tapakta hai lahoo, mera khoon pee ke mere dost paley hon jaise;
Meri sanson se nikalta hai ummedon ka dhuyan, mere jazbat mere saath jaley hon jaise.”

I’s dumb founded; I didn’t like what he had said. For me, the friendship is unbroken divine relationship, always pristine, pure and bright. I can’t believe that a friend could ever be an adversary. Friendship is a proof of Godliness.

And I had also imbibed some streaks of poetry by then. I asked him to let me rest for a while. While leaving the room I asked him to complete the couplet that began with my words – “Kamzarf chirghon ne dhuyan chor diya hai…………………………” Next time he came to my room in Ziauddin Hostel and reassured me that blood did never ever wring out of my words in any form. It was, according to him, was written in a different situation. He had completed my lead with the following stanza:

“Ummed-e-Sahar hote he tareek-e-iye shab men,
Kam zarf chiraghon ne dhuyan chor diya hai.”

I was left with nothing to disagree except that he did never confessed that the lead line was given by me.

Naim Naqvi

Naim Naqvi

Did his graduation in Science discipline from AMU in 1972-73. He was Secretary of University Ali Society in 1970 and M.M. Hall Literary Society in early 70 's and member of Tayyabji Literary Society. Did his Diploma in Bakery Administration from HTT College Oxford Street London in 1987. Worked with National Herald - Delhi, Blitz - Bombay as Trainee Journalist and in Production Department with 'Naya Sansar Pictures' of Khwaja Ahmed Abbas at Bombay in early 70's. Traveled for study and training purposes to Germany, U.K., Switzerland, France, Dubai, Oman, AbuDhabi, Bahrain and Philepines.

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Eid Mubarak

Eid-ul-Fitr is a festival that marks the end of the Holy month of Ramazan. This joyous day is celebrated to give thanks for the blessings of Ramadhan. Muslims attend the congregational Eid prayer service which is held in the morning. They wear new clothing, cook delicious food and invite friends and neighbors to celebrate with them. Fasting during Ramazan inspires sympathy for the hungry and needy, and encourages Muslims to donate generously to the poor. It is also an occasion for prayers when the Muslims stand shoulder to shoulder, to demonstrate the equality and equity which is the inherent feature of Islamic society all over the world.

It is the most important festival in the Islamic calendar (Muslim Holiday). It is interesting to know that this day does not mark any historical event or episode. It is just a thrilling joyous day that provides the Muslims an occasion to offer thanks to Allah for having given them the strength and the will to observe fast during the holy month of Ramadan.  The greatest significance of this day of rejoicing lies in the fact that on this day every Muslim is enjoined to give the needy food at the rate of the prescribed weight per every member of his household, including servants and guests who were sheltered under his roof the preceding evening. It is called FITRA. Based on this deed, the day is called Eid-ul-Fitr. In nutshell we can say – It is the day for the haves to share a portion of what they have with the have-nots.

This day also offers an opportunity of spiritual stock-taking. We ponder over the strength of our will or the weakness of our character. For those who disobeyed the commands of Allah in past, this is the finest chance to confess the pangs of their conscience, inner struggle and continuous realization of the feebleness of their character. We fast the 30 days of Ramazan and avail and enjoy the spiritual, social, scientific and medical benefits from fasting. We are supposed to obey Allah, unquestioningly, without complaint, without regret, in humility and in charity.
We ask this day to Allah to forgive our sins and we believe that Merciful and Beneficent God confers His favors with a promise,”Oh My subjects, it is now for thee to ask for Me to give.”

It is the day to show, to express and demonstrate the measure of a man’s love for his Creator is his unquestioned obedience to the commands of the Creator.
On this day, we pray for the good of our neighbors irrespective of their caste, creed and religion; we pray for the bright future of our Mother Land and for the eternal happiness, prosperity, good will and unity in diversity of whole mankind.
Here I’m quoting the messages of few world leaders on this auspicious holy day:

Ayatullah Rouhani of Iran –The message reads, “I congratulate all Muslim governments and nations on Eid al-Adha which is manifestation of sincerity and faith in God Almighty. I hope that we will witness restoration of peace in the international community and friendship among the nations and the Muslim Ummah in particular, by taking advantage of teachings of divine prophets.” In the messages, he wished success, good health for his counterparts and dignity and happiness for the Muslim nations and governments.

In his Eid Greetings President Obama says: “Michelle and I extend our warmest wishes to Muslim communities in the United States and around the world as they celebrate Eid-al-Fitr. For Muslims, Ramadan has been a time of fasting, prayer and spiritual renewal. These past four weeks have also been a time to serve the less fortunate — a reminder of the obligations that people of all faiths have to each other. In the United States, Eid-al-Fitr speaks to the truth that communities of faith — including Muslim Americans — enrich our national life, strengthen our democracy and uphold our freedoms, including the freedom of religion. That is why we stand with people of all faiths, in the United States and around the world, in protecting and advancing this universal human right. On behalf of the American people, we congratulate Muslim Americans and Muslims around the world on this joyous day. Eid Mubarak.

The Prime Minister, David Cameron, has released a message wishing Muslims “a very happy and peaceful Eid ul Fitr” – the holiday that marks the end of Ramadan:

“I want to send all Muslim families in the United Kingdom and around the world my best wishes for this very special time of Eid. The ending of the Holy month of Ramadan is a joyous time as families and friends join to together in celebration. This year many of you will come together to contemplate the appalling scenes we have witnessed on our streets and how our communities have been affected. Community spirit however remains strong in this country. I was particularly moved by the scenes of a united community coming together in Birmingham, not only to mourn the deaths of three young friends, but also to issue a strong message of unity and cohesion with people of other faiths. Peace, forgiveness and unity are the spirit of Eid. They are important messages now and will remain so long into the future. I wish you all a very happy and peaceful Eid ul Fitr. Eid Mubarak.”

Naim Naqvi

Naim Naqvi

Did his graduation in Science discipline from AMU in 1972-73. He was Secretary of University Ali Society in 1970 and M.M. Hall Literary Society in early 70 's and member of Tayyabji Literary Society. Did his Diploma in Bakery Administration from HTT College Oxford Street London in 1987. Worked with National Herald - Delhi, Blitz - Bombay as Trainee Journalist and in Production Department with 'Naya Sansar Pictures' of Khwaja Ahmed Abbas at Bombay in early 70's. Traveled for study and training purposes to Germany, U.K., Switzerland, France, Dubai, Oman, AbuDhabi, Bahrain and Philepines.

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Our TEHZEEB – Gone With The Wind

Life is not so short but that there is always time for courtesy.”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

Life is a difficult journey. We can pass through it easily if we make it easy for others. We make it one hell for ourselves; thorny and rocky for others if we forget that everyone needs respect, love and admiration even if he / she doesn’t demand for it. Courtesy and politeness are the best attributes to make life more amenable and conducive to peaceful co-existence. Customs, conventions and manners are the expressions of mutual understanding, sharing and appreciation. These traits do not make life difficult as someone had said, “Etiquette rules are fancy stuff invented to make the rest of us feel stupid.” It is not true. Relationships of existence, whether close or distant, become more bearable in the difficult times if we adopt or follow the fundamental principle of mutual respect. Unfortunately, as we are climbing the ladder of material progress and growth while we are leaving the good manners as dispensable flotsam – something we could do without. Children do not respect their parent, students don’t respect their teacher, a subordinate doesn’t respect the boss and public no longer respect the leader. The vice-versa, so essential for smooth sailing is also true. We are giving up the prescription the basic rules of existence and subsistence in our daily routines. There is hardly any consideration for others. Proper manners came into being not artificially, but these were based on an authentic concern for the love and respect of others.

Why our social relations so shattered today? Watch out the lonely street or a crowded shopping mall, a railways compartment or a bus stop. Everyone is busy with his or her mobile. No one wants to talk face to face. We avoid each other. Why? Just because we need not very many good manners while we initiate or carry forward the dialogue on mobile. Good manners and normal courtesy have been disregarded as unnecessary and superfluous. The pillars of shared ethical and moral code of conduct are rendered useless like Morse Key and Telegraphic system.

In these times of fast life, Dellhi, Lucknow and Hyderabad, the cities once the citadels of culture and traditions have become an emaciated shadow of their past. Delhi – 6 is difficult to distinguish from Noida – 60. Where are all the old Delhi Walas disappeared no one knows. In Lucknow you have to visit the Imambarahs and museums if you are looking for the culture Nawabs had left. No more Ikke-wallas are there to welcome you in a style that once used to make you feel respectable and important in the hoary past when you came out the ‘Char Bagh Station.’ In Hyderabad, you have to wriggle out of the complex Telengana issue to reach out to someone who has time for you to talk in the original sweet Hyderabadi lingua franca.

Demanding ‘self-restraint’ is consideration for others : A courteous man is a man of refinement, a gentleman or lady considers for others at all times. A golden rule of the past which is sadly disregarded at present is to rise to one’s feet when a lady, a senior person or a dignitary enters a room. This was a sign of respect for age and rank. A simple gesture like this helped to instill in youth a respect for age, rank, and authority. It used to instill the self confidence in both. Anyone cares to do that ?

The laws of hospitality were the corner stone of our spiritual and social development. In them were the reflections of the wisdom of the ages. Today hospitality is overtaken by hostility. A young boy is not willing to vacate the seat for a senior citizen in the transport even if it is clearly reserved for him. A well-dressed man doesn’t want to get up from the ladies seat until the lady demands for it. The hostility, alienation, and vulgarity of the modern day is the direct output of our hedonistic approach to life – devoid of spirituality and reason. We are leaving behind the manners and etiquette that had profound meaning to make life easier and more bearable.

So, when in a beautiful winter morning I was enjoying my Nahari and Nan at Bismillah Hotel, Ballimaran, Dehi- 6, a young boy sneaked into my hitherto unoccupied opposite chair and checked politely, “Can I sit here.”
If a seat is empty your opposite no one would care to ask your permission in Delhi to sit there. It is always his birth right. The very enquiry was a pleasant surprise.“You’re welcome, tashreef rakhen Janab.”

The gentleman took the seat with a smile and fired his first salvo – “I’m a real original Delhi Wala and your nice SHERWANI has compelled me to share the table with you.”
I got a lurking fear that he might be a cheat, a poseur ready to go fast on me. However, without knowing what was there in store for me I replied politely that I was honored. I’d been an old Aligarian (an Old Student of Aligarh Muslim University) and Sherwani wass still the integral part of my dress.”

Before I move on my story, I must make a confession. Unfortunately, I’d never felt at home at Delhi. I feel uncomfortable with the supercilious, plastic, back-stabbing, nasty and self-reverential culture of Delhi or New Delhi. To me, Mumbai / Bombay has always been real, straight, practical and beautiful; to me Mumbai is the center of attraction of life, a land of honest, hard-working and no-nonsense inhabitants. Many ideas could never be justified. You just feel them, savor them as candy floss. Being away of my country had often made me home-sick, nostalgic and at times morose. So, while I may stay anywhere I always long to go back to Mumbai; I want to have my breakfast of Brun-Pao at a Sun Light Hotel in Colaba and lunch of Seekh Kabab at Byculla or Biryani at Olympia. I miss Barah Handi Paye of Bhindi Bazar, and Puorhits’ Thali at Churchgate. It would if be a grave injustice if I do not recall the nice food of Sher-e-Punjab at V.T. and Delhi Darbar at Faras Road. Bombay had been my KARAM BHOOMI and I love this city as I love my own existence.

To continue my story, I was enjoying the winter-brunch at Old Delhi, expecting nothing but an Urdu Akhbar and some solitude with good food. This gentleman was an unwanted intruder into my life.

“Mohatrum, may I dare to ask you a question?”
“Of course you could as long as it is not too personal.”
“Where did you get your Sherwani stitched?”
“At Bombay, Mohammed Ali Road….”
“Thanks for enlightening me. I thought we have the finest Sherwani tailors only in Aligarh and Delhi. Your’s is a masterpiece with nine buttons.”

Usually I’m a well dressed individually and deem it unnecessary to welcome the comments upon my attire. I always dress for myself and put on what I like irrespective of what others think of my dress. The saving grace is that none of my dependable friend or relative did ever report that my dress was improper for the occasion and anyone ever laughed at it.

My expressions were categorical in suggesting that I no longer enjoyed the continuity of discussion or his company. He got up from the seat with a ‘Khuda Hafiz’ and a genuine smile on his face he left.

I was wondering after his departure why he made a reference of nine buttons in my Sherwani. The close scrutiny of Sherwani revealed that the sequence of my buttons was wrong and I could have been an object of ridicule had I attended the meeting in that style. There was a funny pop in the middle with a wrongly placed button. The boy saved me a serious embarrassment without slighting or hurting my ego. That was the Delhi – 6 at its best. I put it right and was looking for the boy when I stepped into the street. It was a turning point that redefined my feeling and kindled the respect for Delhi.
I wish you a day filled with courtesy, flowing in grace, to you and from you!

Naim Naqvi

Naim Naqvi

Did his graduation in Science discipline from AMU in 1972-73. He was Secretary of University Ali Society in 1970 and M.M. Hall Literary Society in early 70 's and member of Tayyabji Literary Society. Did his Diploma in Bakery Administration from HTT College Oxford Street London in 1987. Worked with National Herald - Delhi, Blitz - Bombay as Trainee Journalist and in Production Department with 'Naya Sansar Pictures' of Khwaja Ahmed Abbas at Bombay in early 70's. Traveled for study and training purposes to Germany, U.K., Switzerland, France, Dubai, Oman, AbuDhabi, Bahrain and Philepines.

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“Moradabadi Darwazah” Tumhari Dastan tak bhee na hogi dastanon mein….

Moradabadi Darwazah – It is an inadvertent monument of apathy, ignorance and indifference of our community.

Moradabadi Darwaza

Moradabadi Darwaza

Whenever I pass under the ramshackle arches, through the rabble of ‘Morabadi Darwazah’ I can’t help remember Allama Iqbal.

‘Kuch jo samjha mere shikwey ko to Rizwan samjha, mujhko jannat se nikala hua insaan samjah.’ Rizwan alone, my plaintive voice began to recognize. He knew for a human who has lost his paradise.

“Naaz hai taqat-e-guftar pe insano ko, baat karne ka saleeqah naheen insano ko.” That they are alone and blest with speech how proud these humans be, yet, ignorant, they lack the art to use it gracefully.

“Woh bhee din the ke yehi maya-e-ranai tha, Nazish-e-mousam-gul Lala-e-sahrai tha.” The tulips of wilds once reigned the queen of blossom time. In this once lay the quintessence of loveliness sublime.

“Kis qadar garan tumhen subah ke bedari hai, Hum se kab pyar tumhen neend tumhen pyari hai.” To pray to Me at the break of the day you now an ordeal deem, your morning slumber sweeter far-yet you would faithful seem.

“Jin ko aata naheen duniya men koi fun tum ho, Naheen jis qoum ko parvah-e-nasheman tum ho.” You love your home the least among the nations of the earth, you are the most incompetent in knowledge and in worth.

The following lines may not be pleasant to read and might fail to meet the merits of historian. However, these are like a clarion call for the progeny of Hazrat Syed Mohammed Meer Adl. I hope and pray that they would listen to me in the most positive spirits. Today when I go towards that side I just go to attend the wedding parties which are organized at the outskirts of the town at an ornate, magnificent sprawling banquet hall. I try to recall the bygone history the glittering past and present apathy that cries with the bellowing winds – it was once the Shah Rah of our azamat.

Half of the descendents of Meer Adl have migrated to Pakistan or other western countries. Still there is a huge population that claims its roots with Meer Adl. Their fathers and grand fathers made the conscious and wise decision to remain rooted and be a part of vibrant, secular and forward looking nation – INDIA. By the Grace of God, on either side of divide, they are a lot highly educated, sophisticated and well organized. Their prosperity makes it incumbent upon them to save their rich heritage. For a moment my heart sinks as I stop near the tablet that is fixed at the gate’s left pillar. It reads something as follows:

“Allah-o-Akabar. Der Ehd-e-Sultan Aleeshan Sahib Quran sani ShahabUddin Shah Jahan Padshah-e-Ghazi Khul Allah malaka Siyadat maab Meeran Abdul Majid ein Qilla bana namood.”

And the couplet which describes the rest of the details:

“Shood ein Qilla khor mee afza-ey, Khoob-o-mazboot-o-khas-o-mustehkam,
Khwastam saal eish az dabeer khurd, Guft bashumar Qilla-e-khuram.”
Ba ehtamam-e-bandaey Kamal Khan Khanzad Shahar-e-Ramazan-ul-mubarak 1052 memariyan Syed Abdul Majid.

It would be an insult to the erudition of denizens of the town if I have to tell, even after describing all details mentioned above, who built the Qill-e-alia. Suffice to say : Kamal Khan was the civil engineer. To wind up the story I must remind that a new market in the fort was added by Dewan Syed Mehmood Saheb who was the close descendent of Meer Adl. That market has survived the twists and turns of history and still remains as the thriving business space a throbbing commerce center. It is known as BARA BAZAR. It is also important to note that even in the difficult period of Shahan Shah Aourengzeb, and even after him, the descendents of Meer Adl occupied important positions at the royal courts.

Another gate of the fort CHANGA DARWAZA is lost for ever in new ugly haphazard concrete jungle and a motley crowd inhabits those places that were once the private payen baghs, bara dares, zanan kanas, adalats and khilwats of Sadat.

Today the tumble down ruins, the discreditable building, an eyesore for the passers-by ‘Moradabadi Darwazah’ is begging you, beseeching the progeny of Syed Mohammed Meer Adl, the descendents of Dewan Syed Mehmood in particular and Sadat-e-Uzzam in general to do something to salvage the remnants of forgotten grandeur. Bury your blotted egoes, sit down together, join heads, talk among yourselves, discuss with local and state authorities; go to INTACH and leave no stone unturned to save your glorious past.

Is anybody listening !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Naim Naqvi

Naim Naqvi

Did his graduation in Science discipline from AMU in 1972-73. He was Secretary of University Ali Society in 1970 and M.M. Hall Literary Society in early 70 's and member of Tayyabji Literary Society. Did his Diploma in Bakery Administration from HTT College Oxford Street London in 1987. Worked with National Herald - Delhi, Blitz - Bombay as Trainee Journalist and in Production Department with 'Naya Sansar Pictures' of Khwaja Ahmed Abbas at Bombay in early 70's. Traveled for study and training purposes to Germany, U.K., Switzerland, France, Dubai, Oman, AbuDhabi, Bahrain and Philepines.

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Modi’s Victory – A Pyrrhic Scenario

Narendra Modi

Narendra Modi

A few stray thoughts, some point of views………and a pessimistic observation.

The victory of Modi is a  foregone conclusion. The issue of debate is only the margin of victory, its implications for the nation in general and Gujarat in particular. I present here the future in simple terms without loading my arguments with statistical data.


A possible scenario:

If Modi wins big the Muslim minority in Gujarat (save the already rich trading Muslim communities which are exceptions) would be further pushed into oblivion. It would find life difficult and often miserable for itself. Helplessness and frustration would force it to resign to fate. Time to time Modi would throw some odds and bits before them for RSS propaganda and public consumption. But, from now onwards, they have to struggle much harder for their survival. In past Congress has done nothing for Indian Muslims  except lip service. A fleeting remark about their pathetic plight in P.M. Manmohan Singh’s address was all that it could do for them. Congress failed to take up a principled stand in Gujarat. This party wants people like Modi to remain vibrant. It makes easier for Congress to project itself as the protector of minorities. Ironically, Congress would remain a mute spectator while  RSS would force apartheid in the states where it rules. Indian National Congress has destroyed our economy, our language, our culture and our identity. New circumstances  would put the minorities between the devil and deep sea. The Urdu poet has said:

“Na tarapne ki ijazat hai na faryad ki hai,
ghut ke mar jayen yeh marzi mere sayyad ki hai.”

December 20 is also going to change the internal equations of BJP and the Saffron House for ever. A big electoral victory would catapult Modi into the central stage of Bharat. Modi would become the supreme leader. BJP and its leaders would be compelled to act as subservient to Modi’s dictates. The present cadre of leadership would have no control over the developing situations.

Undoubtedly, his towering personality has made him the pivot of every activity in Gujarat. He is able to attract the powerful rich investors, considerable middle class, media and film stars to bolster his aspirations and establish him as an undisputed leader. He is unstoppable. Consequently, RSS would no longer be in the driving seat. He would play politics on his own terms which is something unusual and contrary to RSS history and discipline. His march towards Delhi would begin on Dec 20, 2012.

Now, here is the rest of the story.

Mulayam, Mamta and Maya would find it difficult to opt for Modi as they also need the Muslim votes for their survival. With Modi at the helm of affairs, BJP would find it difficult to forge new alliances.

With the departure of Mr. Yedurappa from Karnataka BJP, Saffron Brigade has lost a powerful leader who had opened accounts of BJP in South India. Karnataka is about to slip from its stronghold. The results of Hills  do not augur well for BJP.  Defeat in Hills is almost certain as its victory in Gujarat. Mr. Gadkari, the present president of BJP has effectively become a liability for the party. The longer he sits at the top the more BJP is going to lose face.

The convincing victory of Modi would leave BJP with  no choice but to present him as the BJP’s Prime Ministrial  candidate. And lo ! here comes the Guardian’s knot. Nitish Kumar will never accept Modi. He finds himself a suitable candidate for the prime minister chair. Mr. Nitish is obviously more acceptable to  coalition partners even now. Mulayam, Mamta and Maya would find it difficult to opt for Modi as they also need the Muslim votes for their survival. With Modi at the helm of affairs, BJP would find it difficult to forge new alliances. The cultivation of new relationships would be an uphill task as the choice is limited. The time is running out.

Ultimately, the victory of Narendra Modi in Gujarat would be a Waterloo for BJP ambitions in Delhi.

Naim Naqvi

Naim Naqvi

Did his graduation in Science discipline from AMU in 1972-73. He was Secretary of University Ali Society in 1970 and M.M. Hall Literary Society in early 70 's and member of Tayyabji Literary Society. Did his Diploma in Bakery Administration from HTT College Oxford Street London in 1987. Worked with National Herald - Delhi, Blitz - Bombay as Trainee Journalist and in Production Department with 'Naya Sansar Pictures' of Khwaja Ahmed Abbas at Bombay in early 70's. Traveled for study and training purposes to Germany, U.K., Switzerland, France, Dubai, Oman, AbuDhabi, Bahrain and Philepines.

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