Remembering Firaq Gorakhpuri When he visited Kashmir for an All India Urdu Mushaira

In 1969 ,  an all India Urdu Mushaira was held in srinagar .  Firaq Gorakhpuri , Ali sardar Jafri , Shaharyaar , Aadil Mansoori , Makhdoom Mohi Ud Din ,  Puran Singh Hunar and many more leading poets of the country participated in this Mushaira . Firaq Gorakhpuri was a star attraction  . Apart from a grand Mushaiara in city , Prof Sarvari ( HOD Urdu ) from  university of kashmir also organised a Grand Mushaira in University campus. Firaq also participated in the Mushaira held inside Unversity campus .Those who attended these Mushairas , still remember how Firaq regaled the audience with his Gazals and Nazms. In  Srinagar city  Mushaira , Firaq read his famous  “Night  Poems “ or poems    like  “Aadhi Raat ko” , “Raat Ka Pehla Pehar” , “Raat Gaye” , “Aadhi Raat Se Kuchh Pehlay” and “Pichhla Pehar” etc.

Before I write something about these poems I would like to add what my friend  and well known Media personality Sh. Bashir  Budgami says about this Mushaira :

“ Prof  Abdul Qadir Sarvari HOD urdu University of kashmir advised me and my friend Shuja Sultan to invite all the leading poets for joining a Grand mushaira in University campus.So we went out to invite all the poets personally. We went to Tourist Reception centre first . Firaq sahib was staying in TRC complex. I had never seen Firaq sahib nor even his photograph till then though I knew him as a towering urdu poet of the country .  while looking for Firaq sahib’s room , I saw an elderly person in White Khadi Kurta Pyjama strolling in Gallery and engrossed in deep thoughts . I told my friend Shuja Sultan that this could be Firaq . He asked me as to how I had identified him. To this I added that I had seen a strange fright in his eyes and thus concluded that this should be Firaq Gorakhpuri.

We introduced ourselves to Firaq sahib and spoke about the invitation to University Mushiara . He was kind enough and  asked us to come inside  his room. He then asked Shuja to open one of his suit-cases that had many bottles of imported Liquor  . He asked Shuja to open one bottle and had his two Pegs. Thereafter he asked Shuja to open his another suitcase that had his clothes . Shuja took out his dry cleaned black  Sherwani and passed it to Firaq sahib. Firaq sahib wanted to visit kamaal Ahmed Siddiqui’s residence . I aranged a taxi and we dropped Firaq sahib over there . Poet Shaharyaar , Aadil Mansoori and some more poets were already waiting for Firaq sahib. The moment Firaq sahib entered , Liquor and poetry session started once more in full swing  over there .”

Now coming to the poems “ Aadhi Raat Ko “ etc. that Firaq read in srinagar Mushaiara ..

Firaq’ wrote a series of Poems on Raat or night in 1944..These Poems are…Aadhi Raat ko. Raat ka pehlaa pahar,Raat Gaye, Aadhi Raat ke kuchh pehlay, Dalti Huyi Aadhi Raat and Pichhala Pahar etc…So many poets in the subcontinent have admitted that they are influenced by these Poems. These poems describe different beautiful phases of night and Firaq adds world affairs, Feminine beauty, loneliness and so many issues . The skill of the poet can be understood from the deft interweaving of the description of his loneliness in the middle of the night with world affairs . While the beginning of the poem is on the loneliness that envelops a person , Firaq goes on to integrate world affairs in his own exceptional way.His Loneliness wants end of the second world war , peace in the world and victory to Russian forces .. I quote some lines from this great poem…

Jaga raha hai koi Aadhi raat ka jaadu—

Chhalak rahi hai khum-e-ghaib se sharab-e-wajood,

Faza-e-neem shabi nargis-e-khumaar Aalood,

Kanwal ki chutkiyon mein band hai nadi ka suhaag

Guzar rahein Hain kayii Kaarwan Dhundhalke mein

Ab Inquilaab Mein Shaayad Ziyaada Deir nahin

Zamaana Kitnaa Ladaayi ko reh Gayaa Hogaa?

Meray Khayaal se ab Eik Baj Rahaa Hogaa…

Sipah-e-Roos hain ab kitni duur Berlin se ?

“Over here , Some one awakens the magic of the Midnight ,

The wine of existence overflows from some mystifying spring

In this ambiance of mild darkness ,

Intoxicated lies the the Narcissus flower too ,

The river‘s bridal delight   lies wrapped  in the folds of the lotus flower,

In this Hazinees ,Many Kaarwaans of thoughts keep passing through mind’s highway.

Perhaps the Revolution is not far away now ..

How much time is still left for these wars to vanish ?

I Believe it should be 1 A.M. Now….

 How Far is the Russian Army from Berlin Now ?”

I quote some more lines  from this series  ……

“Ye Roop sar se kadam tak haseen Jaise gunaah..

ye seena Parr hi gayi devlok ki bhi nigaah..

utaartein hain Teri Aarti sitaar O Maah ..

Ye sar zameen hai Aakaash ki parastish-gaah…….

Dhuaan dhuaan si zameen hai dhulaa dhulaa sa falak..

Laton ko khol de jis tarah shaam ki Devi..

Ye kaaynaat ka thehraav ye Athaah sukoot.

siyaah peid hain Ab aap apni parchhaai..

zameen se ta mah o Anjum sukoot ke meenar..

Falak pe taaron ko pehli jamhaaiyaan Aayi.

ye sarnigoon hain sar e shaakh Phool gudd-hal ke.

ke Jaise be bujhe Angaare thande ho jaayein..

zameen se ta Ba falak Intezaar ka aalam ……..

Khud apne aap mein yeh kaaynaat doob gayii…

Khud apni Kokh se phir jagmagaa ke ubharegi….

Badal ke kenchuli jis tarah Naag lehraaye ……..

Gulon ne Chadar e shabanam mein Munh lapeit liyaa ………

hayaat Pardaa e shab mein Badalti hai pehloo……

Khadaa hai ouss mein chup-chaap harsingaar ka peid..

Jidar Nigaah karein ekk Athhaah Gum-shudagi …

Na Muflisi ho to kitani Haseen hai duniyaa…

Autar Mota writes in English , Urdu , Kashmiri and Hindi. His write-ups have appeared in many national magazines and journals