Mirza Sohaib Ikram
Indra born in the land of Indore, has finally met his real creator. Indore city must have been named after King Indra centuries ago. History is silent as to whether Raja Indra ever put his foot on this piece of land called Indore located in Madhya Pradesh or not. But definitely this unique city is named after this Powerful King Indra mentioned in the Vedas. There are many questions about the existence of Raja Indra, but according to conservative estimates, he appeared on earth in 1700 BC. The world of Raja Indra is called Indralok and the world of Raja’s subjects is called Lok as stated in the Vedas.
The Indore word is derived from Indra, which itself has multiple meaning hidden within and If we combine all of them, we can say that Indra is a powerful and pure drop of rain from which a light spreads in such a way to destroy the oppression and harvest and flourish the garden of truth.
Indore is a city associated with Indra so how was it possible that no Indra was born here? How could Rahat Indori, a sensitive poet born on this special land, would have remain silent when states began to divide people on the basis of narrow mindedness violence, religious hatred and racism, instead of human welfare? He never hesitated to speak the truth loud and clear. This poet and lover of his homeland challenged every pharaoh of the time and made the soil of the homeland a witness and said it clear to be heard up to heavens and skies.
Agar Khilaf hain hone do, jaan thodi hain
Yeh sab dhuaaN hai, aasaman thodi hai
There are not just Poetic verses. This is the lament of India that every generation will recite at one time if the situation does not change. When a fire breaks out, does it differentiate the house of a Muslim, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, or Dalit? We have seen with awaken eyes that today when the homeland of Rahat Indori is going astray, the burning nests are not only of Muslims. These are the dreams of the oppressed who are suffering from the heat of oppression.
Unparalleled poet of Urdu literature, with unique style of speech, deep poetic meaning, sharp words and revolutionary thinking poet opened his eyes in the house of Rifatullah Qureshi and Maqbool Nisa Begum on January 1, 1950 in Indore. In this superficial world of color and appearance, little Rahat must have endured a lot of pain, thanks to his shiny black color. But the history of the world has shown that if a person’s intentions are firm, his destination is clear and his steps unshakable then skin color cannot become stumbling block of one’s path. He did his Bachelor’s degree from Islamia Crimea College, Indore in 1973. He did his Masters in Urdu Literature from Barkatullah University, Bhopal in 1975. He obtained his PhD degree in Urdu Literature from Madhya Pradesh Bhoj Open University in 1985.
Rahat Indori was first introduced to me when I could speak and listen to Urdu, but I was not old enough to read. In 1980, my father took a cassette from a friend who had come from Dubai or some other middle eastern country, with the intention of watching it. But it was recorded and saved which came to our rescue much later.
This Mushaira was in honor of Ahmed Faraz. Munawar Rana, Wasim Barelvi, Anjum Rahbar and Rahat Indori presented their work. YouTube and other social media things didn’t exist back then. We had this cassette was a treasure that we used to watch so often and which resulted in the poems being memorized. These poems covered the mantle of meaning very late for us but words remained safe in our mind.
Rahat Indori’s reading style is still fresh in my mind like those days when I first heard it.
ham ghar ko tala lagane wale haiN
pata chala hai keh mehmaaN aane wale haiN
At that time, it was beyond comprehension how these poems explains social attitude. But later life taught a lesson that houses are locked when relations become infertile.
log har mod per ruk ruk ke sambhalte kyun hain
Itna darte hain to phir ghar se nikalte kyun hain
In those days, we used to laugh on hearing these couplets. The style of Rahat Indori and the contour of his face were such that children would laugh and smiles would spread on the faces of adults. There is no need to take unnecessary precautions if you are planning to travel. Just having a firm belief on the commitment to reach your destination is sufficient. If there is not so much enthusiasm, faith and patience, then the plans should be abandoned so that the caravan is not weakened by one person.
We used to consider Rahat Indori as a humorous and fun loving poet in those days when there were some rules of hatred and when the enemies were also conscientious. But the advancing age saw a new tone of Rahat in the changing conditions of the world when he can talk to the pharaohs of state and politics, face to face and hid his pain and anguish and ridiculed them in front of all and became the voice of the oppressed, helpless and compelled. He knew that the love of homeland is hidden in awakening. There are a lot of odes to the oppressors here, so there must be just few such crazy people who establish the sanctity of crown by offering their heads. He knew that today torch is in the hands of trader of darkness. But he was neither disappointed nor weak, but he was aware of the status and reality of these temporary kings and monarchs.
jo the dar-badar woh dewaaroN ke malik ho gaye
mere sab darbaan darbaaroN ke malik ho gaye
lafz goonge ho gaye, tehreer andhi ho gayee
jitney mukhbar the woh akhbaaroN ke malik ho gaye
lal sooraj aasmaan se ghar ki chat per aa gaya
jitne the bekaar sab caaroN ke malik ho gaye
aur apne ghar mein ham baithe rahe mash’al bakaf
chand jugnu chaaNd aur taaroN ke malik ho gaye
dekhte hi dekhte kitni dukaaneiN khul gayeeN
bikne aaye the woh bazaaroN ke malik ho gaye
sar-bakaf the to saroN se haath dhona paD gaya
sar jhukaaye the woh dastaaroN ke malik ho gaye
Rahat Indori was a poet of the people. It was a crime to speak beyond the limits of respect in a ruthless society and being dumb was a cause of honor and pride and where voices were choked. Where speaking the truth, revealing the truth was considered a sin and it has become such an environment where even living has become difficult task. There he spoke of justice, he spoke of humanity and he spoke of the dove of peace. He spoke of love and culture but he never left his miserable nation which is surrounded by troubles and sorrows. On the contrary, he gave courage to the helpless people who were crushed in the mill of poverty and problems and fought for their existence. He considered the crown of richest worthless in front of the torn clothes of peasant. He knew that today there is a mentally ill and narrow minded people are in power. Today the goblet is in the hands of those who are not only mean but also have nothing to do with building this nation. The first claim to reach the destination is made by a class that was not a part of this difficult journey. That is why he worked hard to expose the reality of these fake and fraudsters.
hamare sar ki in phati topiyoN per tanz na karon
taaj hamare ajaayab gharoN mein rakhe hain
jo mansaboN ke pujaari pehan ke aate hain
kalaah tauq se bhaari pehan ke aate hain
hamare jism ke daaghoN per tabsara karne
log qameezeiN hamari pehan ke aate hain
ameer-e-shehar teri tarah qeemti poshaak
meri gali ke bhikari pehan ke aate hain
yehi aqeeq hain shahi taaj ki zeenat
jo ungliyoN mein madari pehan ke aate hain
Rahat Indori was a poet who was brave in the face of the tyrant who did not give up the hymns of truth and truthfulness to escape the wrath of anyone. He wished for roses, he dreamed of spring and flowers. He was a merchant of fragrance. He held the word’s honor high like the honor of the homeland. But romantic poet by nature, he swallowed the bitterness of life and started showering his anger on political conman, government officials and traitors. It was quite possible that this innocent and playful poet, in whose heart was hidden a sensitive artist, would sing some new ballad of romance. Maybe he would have changed the description spring, or gave the new attire to the fragrances. Or he could have changed the definition of love and madness or could have described the new ways of blossoming and flowering. But this sensitive poet and playful man was so entangled in the harsh reality of life that he end of spending his whole life on this thorny path. He traveled with barefoot with on stones so that galaxies could be found in the paths of later generations. He was entangled with double standards, dirty politics, and devils in the guise of peace and he dared to face the opposition instead of flowing with the current of time. The sensitive poet sifted through all the utterances of compromise and bootlicking with the tip of a pen in such a way that his sharped words would make them remember for a long time. This poet of humanity also chose the path of humanity and kept the honor of his pen by refusing to bow before the enemies of humanity.
His words are hiding every color in them such a way that sometimes we see him as the king of the romance and sometimes we think of him as Faiz Ahmed Faiz of his time. Whatever he said, he kept saying openly and clearly. He knew that the truth was suppressed everywhere but he knew that in this in the market of lies, had to keep his shop open where dignity, self-respect, loyalty, love and greatness, humanity and lofty thoughts were to be kept high. That is why his name and word will live forever.
teri har baat mohabbat mein gawaara karke
dil ke baazar mein baithe hain khasaara kar ke
aate jaate hain kayee rang mire chehre per
log lete hain maza zikr tumhara kar ke
eik chingaari nazar aaye thi basti mein use
woh alag hat gaya aandhi ko ishaara kar ke
aasmanoN ki taraf phaiNk diya hai main ne
chand mitti ke charagoN ko sitara kar ke
mein woh darya hun keh har booNd bhanwar hai jis ki
tum ne achcha kiya mujh se kinara kar ke
muntazir hun ke sitaaroN ki zara aankh lage
chaaNd ko chat per bula luNga ishaara kar ke
apni pehchaan mitaane ko kaha jaata hai
bastiyaaN choD ke jaane ko kaha jaata hai
paattiyan roz gira jaati hai zehreeli hawa
aur hamien peD lagane ko kaha jaata hai
The city of Indore, which is at its heart, has hidden many stories. How many secrets are in the layer of this earth will never been known to mortal man. There would have been so many beautiful incidents that have not been spoken about. From this land which witnesses all the stages from the drop to the pearl, how many the stories are covered in the shroud. No one knows what lies behind the glass temples of Jainism, the spiritual blessings of the Raja Indra and the shrine of Nahir Shah Wali. Maybe when future generations will look into the blurriness of the past and hand over some torn old pages of a lost chapter to the future, the bright face of Rahat Indori will come to brighten up. A face of person, who kept the illusion of the name Indra, read the ideology of Jainism and also carried forward the teaching of peace in the Dargah.
Perhaps in the coming centuries, some historian will write a lament of Indore. Tell the story of a man who broke all the norms of time and elevated name of his city Indore in the entire world with his art. It is very much possible than in coming age some Rabindra Nath Tagore or Vasudev Gaitonde would cross the barrier of hatred and chose Rahat Indori as role modal to present his art.
We don’t know, may be some Waris Shah will write a new sonnet based on love of homeland of this great gem of man. Who knows if some Tansen or Khusroo will create a new melody and rhythm based on this mans love of humanity. Maybe this lament will become immortal. Delhi was actually deserted when doors was closed for art and literature. Today, when Indore is deserted, will the poet remain silent on this grief? When the streets of Indore have become quite, when the evenings are devoid of literature and the mornings are empty of words, who knows if some Mir Anees will write verses on this story of sorrow. The man got buried under the soil is the one with a humble claim of two yards of land as an ownership, and knew he would have to die in the end, whether one accepts this fact or not. In his memory, the people of which faith would have cried secretly. The present is silent, but in the veils of the future, perhaps someone will hold the flag of love and cure the pain that has been flowing from the words of this innocent poet. This pain was not of any one nation or race but it was the pain of every oppressed person. Rahat Indori was not a poet of any one group but of humanity. His grief, his pain, his anguish was for every human being.
The writer is a book lover and has completed his Master degree in Urdu Literature. He writes on different issues and also uses poetry for expressing his thoughts.