Corona continues to give one shock after another, it’s newest victim being famed urdu poet, lyricist, painter and teacher, Rahat Indori. He died yesterday at a hospital in Indore after getting two massive heart attacks. He was admitted to hospital for he was tested Covid positive.
A doctorate in Urdu literature, Rahat taught urdu literature and was interested in pedagogy. He collaborated with famous Bollywood producer and director Vidhu Vinod Chopra to give us some memorable numbers in movies such as Mission Kashmir, Munnabhai MBBS, Lage Raho Munnabhai and Kareeb.
He was one of those fast vanishing breed of poets who did not fear calling spade a spade. He was the lifeline of mushairas and Kavi sammelans and as famous personality Gulzar said in his tribute, “ woh Mushaira loot lete they” literally meaning he was a show stealer. Of course, apart from the quality and depth of his poetry, his stage presence and delivery were equally impressive. His following poem is being remembered all over in social media and press today:
हमारी तरह हथेली पे जान थोड़ी है
हमारे मुंह से जो निकले वही सदाक़त है
हमारे मुंह में तुम्हारी ज़ुबान थोड़ी है
जो आज साहिब-इ-मसनद हैं कल नहीं होंगे
किराएदार हैं जाती मकान थोड़ी है
सभी का खून है शामिल यहाँ की मिट्टी में
किसी के बाप का हिंदुस्तान थोड़ी है.
The above is loosely translatable as:
We are ready to sacrifice our lives and we speak truth and not political language. Governments come and go, but India, built by all the Indians with their sweat and blood is no one’s personal fiefdom.
His satirical take on politicians regaled the audiences at mushairas, especially the following piece:
Nationalism and Indianness were inherent to his personality and while he was equally at ease with almost all the genres, his poetry on patriotism lifted everyone’s morale. He wrote:
बस ये बात हवाओं को बताये रखना,
रौशनी होगी चिरागों को जलाये रखना,
लहू देकर जिसकी हिफाज़त की शहीदों ने,
उस तिरंगे को सदा दिल में बसाये रखना।
He also wrote:
मैं जब मर जाऊं तो मेरी अलग पहचान लिख देना, लहू से मेरी पैशानी पे हिन्दुस्तान लिख देना ।
The country would do well to imbibe his lessons of brotherhood, patriotism, nationalism , truth and honesty that will be the best obituary to one of the finest poets of our times. He will rule the hearts of lovers of Urdu poetry for long time to come. He leaves an indelible mark on the scene of Urdu poetry in this country.
Rest in peace sir!