In between the daily mundane chores of life, on 8th February, a shining star in the skies of Urdu Poetry bid us goodbye forever, leaving behind some of the greatest and immortal shers of Hindi and Urdu shayari.
It is next to impossible to take a full view of Nida Sahab’s versatility, emotions and the sheer force with which his shayari and songs have both soothed and pierced us for ages. But let’s take a short tour at some of his best and lesser known shers and gauge, with our limited capacity, the depth of the Hindi and Urdu poetry contained in his heart.
Nida Fazli’s gazlein and shayaris were full of life, but were not limited to life itself. The language and the craftsmanship of Nida Sahab was a trademark that could never be experimented upon by others in detail because it was neither too complex, not too less-subtle to be written down with ease. The strain of grasp, primarily, was not in words but in the deep essence of the subject; be it an advice, a longing to relate to, or a struggle for self-identity and characterization in the world which is both a benign friend and a ruthless stranger.
It is known that different shers in a Ghazal are usually independent of each other, but Nida Sahab, as always, was never a fan of restrictions when it came to expressing his emotions. His shers, more or less, talked to each other frequently.
Whereas, the simplicity of some of his shers is the bittersweet truth of life such that only someone who has gone through it can only realize the full profound penetration of it…
“मैले हो जाते हैं रिश्ते भी लिबाज़ों कि तरह
दोस्ती हर दिन की मेहनत है चलो यूँ ही सही”
But so many of his other shers are for everyone, across age and gender that anyone can connect to. For example, there is a succinct advice for farmers and toilers in
उठ के कपड़े बदल, घर से निकल …
रख कर काँधे पे हल खेत की और चल
but for the whole of mankind, his message was even clearer in
“एक ही धरती सब का घर, जितना तेरा उतना मेरा
दुःख सुख का ये जंतर मंतर, जितना तेरा उतना मेरा
The sheer helplessness of a man when faced with acute circumstances cannot be more aptly put in other than in
“अपनी मर्ज़ी के कहाँ अपने सफर के हम हैं”
(which is so popular that the reader must be know the moola-e-saani of it) while the versatility and adaptability, and the stroke of a rather similar emotion is clear when the poet helplessly gives in to the ways of life and the world in which he lives
अब ख़ुशी है न कोई दर्द रुलाने वाला
हमने अपना लिया हर रंग ज़माने वाला
While he favors raising your voice and challenging the status quo in
हर बात को चुपचाप क्यों सुना जाए
कभी तो होंसला करके नहीं कहा जाए
A sudden stroke of a completely contrasting emotion, bearing the hollowness of life, a meek submissive struggle with the longing and it’s continuing presence as if he is still not convinced even with the hope of a change, is evident in
सब कुछ तो ढूंढ़ती रहती हैं निगाहें
क्या बात है मैं वक़्त पे घर क्यों नहीं जाता
which was immortalized in the voice of Jagjit singh in the song ‘Benaam sa ye dard’ as well. On one hand, the self becomes both the battle and the battle ground for him in
हर घडी ख़ुद से उलझना है मुकद्दर मेरा
मैं ही कश्ती हूँ मुझ में है समुन्दर मेरा
Amid this voice, there is an assurance for a pleasurable journey as well if, he suggests, people can come close and walk together in this sher of a truly universal appeal, from a poet who knows the pain of partition
मुमकिन है सफर हो आसान अब साथ भी चलकर देखें
कुछ तुम भी बदल कर देखो कुछ हम भी बदल कर देखें
As much as he was influenced by Mir’s poetry but his style is not similar to Mir. Mir’s poetry is in the depth of words and then the construction of poetry around it, while Nida Sahab never wanted his readers to burn their heads in words. He took them to the same depth where Mir took, with much ease. He was both the boat rower, and the fellow passenger to his readers.
Take for example this,
मुट्ठी भर लोगों के हाथों में लाखों की तक़दीरें हैं
जुदा जुदा हैं धर्म इलाके एक सी ज़ंजीरें हैं
The metaphor of zanzaarein with the caricature of life, that is displayed same in every hand, tells us that his observance and imagery is not his prime tool but a deep philosophical implication in the arrangement of his shers – that combine the best of both – is. The connotation is simple, or none at all, still the poetry reaches the same heights as that of Mir’s. His poetry is full of versatility and the length between one emotion to the next is both in the mood and in the subject. Time and again, Nida Sahab has returned to life and the way a life can be lived with others..
दिल मिले या न मिले हाथ मिलाते रहिये
or/and as a promise to oneself
बड़े बड़े ग़म खड़े हुए थे रास्ता रोके राहों में
छोटी छोटी खुशियों से हमने दिल को शाद किया
But again when the reader is convinced that the poet has returned to mortal life in
ज़िन्दगी क्या है किताबों को हटा कर देखो,
a sense of detachment like a monk suddenly appears and surprises readers in
पहले हर चीज़ थी अपनी मगर अब लगता है
अपने ही घर में किसी दुसरे घर के हम हैं
no surprise if the connotation in this is spiritual.
Without love, shayari is incomplete, but who can forget the song from Sarfarosh that continue to be a favorite of many- “Hosh waalon ko khabar Kya”. A contemporary to other poetic giants such as Sahir Ludhianvi, Ahmad Faraz, Sardar Jafri and Kaifi Azmi, Nida Fazli was no less of a repute than them in his later life.
A career that spans across wide vistas of songs writing in TV and movies, poetry and ghazals in Hindi, Urdu and Gujrati across a great array of moods and nature, animals, trees, objects, poetry of love, of relationships and nostalgia. But none without a meaning that goes beyond the normal sense of perception and artistry. Who cannot know the way his shers brings out the truth equivalent to a hundred modern proverbs.
उस के दुश्मन है बोहोत, आदमी अच्छा होगा
No doubt, Nida Sahab had only a few enemies, but a place in the hearts of millions of Urdu shayari readers.
He was as much influenced and inspired by Urdu poetry of Mir and Ghalib as much as he was enamored by the devotional charm of bhakti poets and equally, was a fan of the expanse of western poetry as well. A poet par excellence, an immortal ghazlar, Padam Shri Nida Sahab jaise log mara nahi karte, bas amar hone ka intezaar karte hain.
His words like these will continue to echo and brighten the dark ways of a thousand stranded passengers for ages to come.
इतना सच बोल की होठों का तबस्सुम न बुझे
रौशनी खत्म न कर आगे अँधेरा होगा
1938 – 2016