Wednesday, January 21, 2009

ASAD - 58

Originally posted on in 1995

I think the time has come to discuss the most famous of all the GHazals. Yes, the ultimate ...

chupake chupake raat din aaNsu bahaanaa yaad hai
humko ab tak, aashiqui ka, wo zamaanaa yaad hai

Hardcore GHalib fans may object to this statement :-) But I am not just making an empty remark. I will justify it tomorrow :-) Today I will talk about the poet.

Very less is known to the general public about Hasrat Mohani, creator of this masterpiece. Hence this post.

Maulana Hasrat Mohani, was born in 1875 at Mohaan, a small town in UP. He did his education at Aligarh University. One of the many Mushaairas he organized, caused displeasure to the college authorities, and he was expelled from the college. Although he was allowed to complete his BA privately.

After his education, he devoted himself completely to the Independence Movement of India. His views were more in tune with Lokamanya Tilak and Arvind Ghosh, rather than Mahatma Gandhi. He founded and edited a journal called Urdu-e-Mualla, and was imprisoned because of his articles in it. Later, when the British Govt. ordered closure of his printing press, he started a Swadeshi goods shop to earn his living.

After a long association with the National Congress, he switched over to Muslim League and became a champion for the Muslim cause, including the demand for Pakistan ! He was jailed several times, and once in jail with him was Firaq Gorakhpuri, who has been discussed in the last 3 posts.

He was elected to the UP Legislative Assembly on Muslim League ticket, and entered the Paliament also.

Whatever his political affiliations were, he always remained a frank, honest and fearless person. He was a deeply religious man, simple in habits and firm in convictions.

I haven't studied his Poetry enough to comment anything about his style. But I know that he is known as a preserver of the old and pioneer of the new trends in Urdu GHazal. This can very well be, due to his famous GHazal, "chupake chupake". I will discuss it tomorrow, and give the entire GHazal, all the Shers !

Today, I will leave you with this definition of a good Sher, by him.

sher dar'asal wohi hai, 'Hasrat',
jo sunte hi dil me utar jaae

Did you like the Sher the moment you read it ? If yes, fine, then it's indeed a good Sher. But if you didn't like, then ? Well then, what it says is still true ! So it's again a good Sher !! Right ? :-) Isn't self-reference a wonderful thing ? Both myself and Douglas Hofstadter, (author of Pulitzer Prize winning book : Goedel, Escher, Bach) feel that self- reference is a curious thing ! Great minds think alike ! :-) :-)

- Abhay.
ASAD _also_ stands for "A Sher A Day"

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