Jigar Brelvi

Jigar Brelvi was born Shyam Mohan Lal in Bareilly. He was born at a time when the struggle for independence was on and this kindled the feeling of patriotism and revolt in him. Though he had a cushy Government job, his defiant attitude made him unpopular with the British authorities, who forced him to retire on certain framed grounds. How he and his family had to face penury and struggle to meet the two ends meet and how such circumstances evoked the best poetry out of him form the stuff the folklores are made of !

I don’t think anyone of us, including the writer of this blog, an aficionado of Urdu language and poetry, would have heard about Jigar Brelvi! While the famous ghazal singers have made the works of some of the poets such as Mir, Ghalib, Faiz etc immortal, I don’t see Jigar Brelvi’s work finding favours with such noted artists. Some of his popular couplets, quotes below, show what a prodigy he was, given the depth of his poetry.

(1) आज क्या जाने क्या है होने को

जी बहुत चाहता है रोने को

दर्द हो दुख हो तो दवा कीजे

फट पड़े आसमाँ तो क्या कीजे

(2) ज़िंदगी क्या है सब्र करना है

ख़ून का घूँट पी के मरना है

जान अपने लिए खो लेने दे

मुझ को जी खोल के रो लेने दे

(3) किसी को देखते क्यूँ आह रोते

जो बस चलता तो हम पैदा न होते

मौत जब तक नज़र नहीं आती

ज़िंदगी राह पर नहीं आती

You must be wondering from where I got to know so much about this relatively less popular and unknown Urdu poet? He has been paid a glowing tribute by a Pakistani columnist in the yesterday’s e edition of popular Urdu daily Jang that I sometimes catch up on my IPad. Earlier also, I have seen Pakistani media celebrating the lives of popular Indian artists such as O P Nayyar, Dilip Kumar, Raj Kapoor, Dev Anand who were all born in pre partitioned India! If the media on the either side of the border start celebrating common heritage instead of publishing acidic comments, the tension between the neighbors can ease.

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