Wednesday, September 20, 2023

Anjum Rahbar: A Poetess Readers Can Relate To

By Sumit Paul, New Age Islam 20 September 2023 "Shayari Toh Auratein Bhi Bakhoobi Karti Hain Magar Aksar Ye Sehra Mardon Ke Sar Bandhta Hai" Ahteshaam Rizvi, Pakistani Urdu critic (Women also write poetry with aplomb/ But the credit often goes to men / male poets) "Sach Baat Maan Leejiye, Chehre Pe Dhool Hai Ilzaam Ainon Pe Lagana Fuzool Hai" Anjum Rahbar (Accept that the lineaments are dusty/ Holding the mirror responsible is of no use) September 17 was Anjum Rahbar's Birth Anniversary. ----- Fahmida Riaz, Ada Jafri, Zehra Nigah, Bushra Farrukh, Kishwar Naheed, Parveen Shakir and many more female Urdu poets have enriched the landscape of Urdu poetry with their deep(er) sensibilities, resilience and empathy. Yet, unfortunately, male poets have always got more acclaim than their female counterparts. That may be attributed to our patriarchal mindset. Anyway, one Urdu poetess who effortlessly joins the elite and august constellation of the abovementioned female poets is Anjum Rahbar, whose birthday fell on September 17. Though she's often introduced as a popular mushaira poetess, it sounds a tad derogatory. This suggests as if she plays to the gallery and lacks depth. That's not correct. Granted, her poetry doesn't have that metaphysical or philosophical profundity, what she conveys through her poetry enters the heart and stirs the emotions. For example, "Maine Ye Soch Kar Dil De Diya Use/ Dil Kisi Ka Dukhana Nahin Chahiye" (I gave away my heart to him, thinking that one mustn't hurt anyone) or "Dafna Diya Gaya Mujhe Chaandi Ki Qabra Mein/ Main Jis Ko Chahti Thi Woh Ladka Ghareeb Tha" (I was buried in a silver tomb/ Whom I liked was a poor boy). You can relate to these couplets instantaneously and strike a quick rapport with the poetess and her crafts(wo)manship. Those who love Anjum's poetry will unanimously say that this couplet is by far her best. All women in love will be able to relate to it: "Hai Ta'alluq Toh Ana Chhodni Hogi Ek Din/ Tujh Se Roothi Hoon, Tujhe Aake Manana Hoga" (If there's a bond, you must part ways with your ego/ If I'm angry with you, you shall have to come and patch up). "Milna Tha Ittifaaq, Bichhadna Naseeb Tha/ Woh Utni Door Ho Gaya Jitna Qareeb Tha" (Meeting was a coincidence, separation was destined/ He went as far away as he was close to me). This Sher of Anjum Rahbar empathises with all lovelorn and jilted hearts. I particularly love her couplet, "Tujh Ko Duniya Ke Saath Chalna Hai/ Tu Mere Saath Chal Na Paayega" (You've to walk along the world/ You cannot accompany me). This reminds me of Khumaar Barabankwi's famous couplet, "Ye Wafa Ki Sakht Raahein, Ye Tumhare Paa-E-Nazuk/ Na Lo Intiqaam Mujh Se Mere Saath-Saath Chal Ke" (The path of love is hard and harsh and your feet are tender/ Don't take a revenge by going along with me). By the way, Khumaar Barabankwi was born on September 15. Anjum is a poetess with a refined taste and a sense of aesthetics. This couplet vindicates my observation: Kal Shaam Chhat Pe Mir Taqi Mir Ki Ghazal / Main Gunguna Rahi Thi Ke Tum Yaad Aa Gaye (While I was humming the ghazal of Mir Taqi Mir strolling on the roof/ Your memory suddenly sprang to mind). May this Bhopal-based Urdu-Hindi poetess scale dizzying heights of success. ------- A regular columnist for New Age Islam, Sumit Paul is a researcher in comparative religions, with special reference to Islam. He has contributed articles to the world's premier publications in several languages including Persian. URL: New Age Islam, Islam Online, Islamic Website, African Muslim News, Arab World News, South Asia News, Indian Muslim News, World Muslim News, Women in Islam, Islamic Feminism, Arab Women, Women In Arab, Islamophobia in America, Muslim Women in West, Islam Women and Feminism

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