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A lifelong affair: In
love with love
|Literature is like prayer. One has to raise art to a
prayer. Songs may run away from bombs and bullets, but they
have a piercing quality that mocks at limitations of time and
space. Well-known Urdu poet Nida Fazli, back home in Delhi,
the city of his birth, says as much in a freewheeling chat
here with ZIYA US SALAM... . |
Many moods of a multi-faced
man... nida Fazil in Delhi.
"Tumhari qabr par
Main fateha padne nahin
Mujhe maloom tha
Tum mar nahin sakte
ki sacchi khabar jisne udai thi
Woh jhootha tha
Woh tum kab
Koi sookha hua patta hawa se hil ki toota tha
Tumhare manjron mein qaid hain ab tak
Main jo bhi
Woh... vahin hai... ''
DELHI'S VERY own Nida Fazli was back home after
quite a while. It was but natural to drift into the past, let
emotions overtake reason even if momentarily. And there is something
about losing a near and dear one which defies all attempts at
restrain. Death of a loved one is distressingly debilitating. It
tests your strength, leaving you enfeebled. All that it leaves
behind are memories which are but poor companions. Time heals, they
say, but does it? Years later, tears may just roll down unannounced,
the eyes brim over, no pretext, no reason. Just human. And it takes
a human being with great sensitivity to put in words the crests and
ebbs of the heart. Somebody who does not play around with words,
somebody who respects human emotions and says things simply. And
maybe simply beautifully. That is what 1938-born Nida Fazli does
best - put pen to paper to put together words which tug at your
heart, words that mock at the limitations of time and space. An
eternal optimist his words resonate with hope.
That is something remarkable for a man who lost his
father when quite young and the sad division of the country did not
allow him to put him to rest one last time. And all that Nida Fazli
had in terms of compensation were the words, "Tumhari qabr par... ."
It is this early brush with adversity that has not
only steeled the man in him but also brings to fore the caring,
loving individual. If he pulls no punches talking of those who have
penned lyrics like "Karde mushkil jeena, ishq kameena... ", he is
also effusive in praise of those who respect Indian languages, who
speak the way we should.
"Ishq came into my life when I was alone, when my
family had migrated to Pakistan. I fell in love with the sun's
brilliance, the moon's radiance, the innocence of the children. Life
is incomplete without ishq - love. But this is no way of deriding
the best human emotion. A few years ago I had penned `Hosh waalon ko
khabar kya bekhudi kya cheez hai, ishq kijiye phir samajhiye zindagi
kya cheez hai' for director John Mathew Mathian's `Sarfarosh'. John
had asked me to compose a ghazal but I almost had a fight with the
music director over the composition. It was recorded thrice,
ultimately it was decided that Jagjit Singh would sing the ghazal.
Earlier, it was sung by Bhupendra and Jaswinder."
Nida Fazli refuses to agree with those who believe
that Bollywood's lyricists are offering to cinemagoers what the
masses want. "Those responsible for taste have lost taste. `Ishq
kameena', `kambakht ishq... .' Can it get worse than this? Today, we
have films in which songs are introduced to fill in the blanks in
the story. What we don't realise is that songs run away from
tamanche-talwar - weapons! Our leaders and some of the writers are
destroying the dictionary. The common man wants good words and
melody. Old songs are still better and songs like `Tu is tarah se
meri zindagi mein shamil hai' are a slap on the face of those who
argue that the masses accept only pedestrian stuff. Music directors
no longer emphasise words. Many don't realise that good songs have a
long life. We don't build bonds. We don't realise that a simple
emotion like `ishq' can have so many shades. Words are like a
person's personality, narrow or wide, lofty or small, depending on
He notes with concern the general decline in songs
and singers in Bollywood. "Lata Mangeshkar learnt Urdu from a moulvi
for correct pronunciation. Asha Bhonsle learnt the same way. Jagjit
Singh even now phones up to ask about `talaffuz' of particular words
to get the right intonation at the time of recording. Unfortunately,
we no longer have any pride in our language. Hindi is `rajbhasha'
but English seems to be the operative language."
Recalls the man whose ghazals and life story were
released in the "Aaj Ke Prasidh Shayar" series by Kanhaiyalal Nandan
for Rajpal and Sons publishers, "Once in Italy I asked a man, `Where
is Vatican?' Nobody answered. Not that they did not know. They don't
like any other language. Unfortunately, here in Delhi or Mumbai, if
you go to a five-star hotel and speak in Hindi or any Hindustani
language, they won't pay you any respect. You ask them the same
question in English and the reply is prompt and courteous! We are
killing our own language."
Well, Nida Fazli, who came into prominence with his
songs in "Raziya Sultan" and "Ahista Ahista", is doing hit bit to
extend to posterity some of the delights enjoyed by our ancestors.
He has penned 21 books and won the Sahitya Akademi Award in 1998 for
`Khoya Hua Sab Kucch'. He recalls with obvious pride: "Language does
not belong to any religion. Shailendra, Sahir Ludhianvi, Firaq
Gorakhpuri, Jan Nisar Akhtar wrote beautiful words. Literature is
like a prayer. One has to raise art to prayer. `Sab ki pooja ki ek
aesi, alag, alag har reet, masjid jaye moulvi, koyal gaye geet'."
He reveals: "Our idea of Urdu is wrong. Urdu is not
Muslim or Hindu. Bashir Vaiko was a big writer but he wrote in
Tamil. Similarly, Rajendra Bedi has penned some beautiful words in
Urdu. In the past, Abdur Rahim Khan-e-Khanan wrote `dohe' in Hindi.
That does not make him a Hindu. Firaq's language was not Muslim.
Now, we are only seeing the politicisation of language. Which is sad
considering one of the foremost Urdu poets, Iqbal called Lord Ram as
Imam-e-Hind, adding, "Ye Sheikh o Brahmin hume acche nahin lagte,
hum jitne hain ye itne bhi sacche nahin lagte". Yes, the recipient
of the Mir Taqi Mir Award for his autobiographical novel "Deewaron
Ke Beech" is not through yet. He would like man to stop hating man,
for man to be, well, a man. Matters little that once he composed,
"Kabhi kisi ko mukammal jahan nahin milta, kabhi zamin to kabhi
aasman nahin milta." A poet is entitled to his muse. And to hope.
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