Thursday, January 31, 2013

Poetry of Meeraji in a Disco Album

धुँधली रात के दुखिया साये
जाने किस पाताल से आये

धीरे धीरे चलते चलते
दिल के दर्द कि बात सुनाते
धरती का सीना सहलाते
आँखों से हर शय को छुपाते
जाने किस पाताल से आये ...

बोझल दिल हो जाए हल्का
आएगा झोंका सुबह का
जब आएगा नूर उजाला
आएगी नूरानी उषा
दिल के गुन्चे खिल जायेंगे
प्रेमी प्रीतम मिल जायेंगे

I have a huge sense of nostalgia associated with Nazia Hasan’s Disco Deewane album. It was an integral part of my growing up years after all. I was, and still am, quite fond of most of the songs in the album. One song, however, always piqued my curiosity. It was quite different from the rest of the album, especially in terms of lyrics. Mostly free-verse, with some, unconventional mixing of Urdu and Hindi words, I found the lyrics, well, different…. Noorani Usha!

It was many, many years later when I chanced upon the vinyl Disco Deewane at a music shop that I found out that it was written by someone by the name Meeraji. That also piqued my curiosity, but soon it was forgotten and kept in some crevice of the mind (taaq-e-nisyaan). Again, a jump of some years, and I learnt that Meeraji is actually a well-respected modern Urdu poet best known for his unconventional approach towards poetry. His real name was Sanaullah Dar.

I quote from an article written by Syed Noman-ul-Haq, general editor of Oxford University Press’ series, Studies in Islamic Philosophy:

“Miraji is everywhere in the contemporary world of Urdu poetry since it is he who introduced robustly and sustained poetically the genre of free verse in this ghazal-locked poetic tradition, a tradition with its hitherto hardened conventions of metre, rhyme, and form….

“… Now add to this the new poetic form of the free verse along with the daring attending act of cracking through standard metres of Urdu poetry, and we see — Miraji’s work is hard to swallow! He would at a first glance appear obscure, contradictory, and inaccessible, even bizarre.

“The irony in fact multiplies. Miraji, the flouter of standard Urdu metres, has such a firm and mind-boggling grasp of these classical metres that he wrote the longest unilinear poems in the known history of Urdu-Persian poetry — the whole poem being effectively a single line, perfectly metrical, but broken up into numerous lines as quasi-hemistiches (misra’). His monumental poem “Jaatrii” (Pilgrim) is a case in point: the poem has 52 practically equal lines in prosodic terms, one flowing into another, merging in complex manners, but in fact they all constitute a single metrically constructed line. This is no minor feat. ..”

So let’s savour Meeraji’s unconventional poetry in Nazia Hassan’s unconventional voice

Dhundhli Raat Ke Dukhita Saaye–Disco Deewane–Nazia Hassan–Zohaib Hassan - Meeraji