Friday, July 30, 2021

ज़ब्त शुदा नज़्में: भगत सिंह और दत्त

'Bhagat Singh aur Dutt' another poem from 'Zabt-shuda Nazmein', also filed under 'anonymous'. I found it particularly interesting because of the way the author switches emotional register while addressing tyranny: now warning against the scorn of future citizens, now calling upon the tyrant (state) to cease his (its) tyranny, now placing hope in divine intervention, now defiant of all outcomes. The poem mentions Bhagat Singh upfront in the title and 'Dutt' probably refers to Batukeshwar Dutt, who had thrown bombs in the Central Legislative Assembly along with Bhagat Singh. 

The reference to 'Das' is probably Jatin Das, who was also jailed for his role in the Lahore Conspiracy Case. In 1929, when this poem was written and published in 'Bande Matram', Jatin Das, Bhagat Singh and Batukeshwar Dutt were all on hunger strike, protesting against prison conditions. Das died in jail. Bhagat Singh was executed. Dutt was sentenced for life, but released a few years later.

'Bhagat Singh aur Dutt'

Sakhtiyon se baaz aao, hakim bedaadgar
Dard-e-dil is tarah dard-e-la-dava ho jayega

Bais-e-naaz hain Dutt, Bhagat aur Das
Inke dum se nakhl-e-azaadi haraa ho jayega

Tu nahin sunta agar fariyaad-e-mazloomaan, na sun
Mat samajh ye bhi magar bahra khuda ho jayega

Zom hai tumjhko ki tera kuch nahin sakte bigaad
Jail mein gar mar bhi jayenge to kya ho jayega

Yaad rakh mehngi padegi unki qurbani tujhe
Sarzameen-e-hind mein mahshar bapa ho jayega

Jaan bahaq ho jaaein gar shiddat se bhookh aur pyaas ki
O sitamgar jailkhaana karbala ho jayega

Khaak mein mil jayega is baat se tera vaqaar
Aur sar aqvaam bhent neecha tera ho jayega

Degi ahl-e-qaum ko dars-e-shahadat inki maut
Bachcha-bachcha hind mein dard-aashna ho jayega

Zaalim-o-jabir sab apni maut mar jayenge aap
Dahar se mafqood jor-e-naravaa ho jayega.


 'ज़ब्त शुदा नज़्में' में से एक और उर्दू नज़्म। किसने लिखी है ये मालूम नहीं, किताब में 'नामालूम' लिखा हुआ है।

'भगत सिंह और दत्त'

सख़तियों से बाज़ आओ हाकिम बेदादगर
दर्द-ए-दिल इस तरह दर्द-ए-ला-दवा हो जाएगा

बाइस-ए-नाज़ हैं दत्त, भगत और दास
इनके दम से नख़्ल-ए-आज़ादी हरा हो जाएगा

तू नहीं सुनता अगर फ़रियाद-ए-मज़लूमाँ, न सुन
मत समझ ये भी मगर बहरा ख़ुदा हो जाएगा

ज़ोम है तुझको कि तेरा कुछ नहीं सकते बिगाड़
जेल में गर मर भी जाएंगे तो क्या हो जाएगा

याद रख महंगी पड़ेगी उनकी क़ुरबानी तुझे
सरज़मीं-ए-हिंद में महशर बपा हो जाएगा

जाँ ब-हक़ हो जाएँ गर शिद्दत से भूख और प्यास की
ओ सितमगर जेलख़ाना करबला हो जाएगा

ख़ाक में मिल जायगा इस बात से तेरा वक़ार
और सर अक़वाम भेंट नीचा तेरा हो जाएगा

देगी अहल-ए-क़ौम को दर्स-ए-शहादत इनकी मौत
बच्चा बच्चा हिंद में दर्द-आशना हो जाएगा

ज़ालिम-ओ-जाबिर सब अपनी मौत मर जाएंगे आप
दहर से मफ़क़ूद जोर-ए-नारवा हो जाएगा।

 - ये नज़्म 'बंदे मातरम', १९२९ में छपी थी.

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Zabt-shuda nazmein: 'Muqaddama Saazish-e-Lahore ke Aseeron ki Avaaz'

This is a poem from the Urdu collection 'Zabt-shuda Nazmein'. Perhaps on account of censorship or fear of reprisals, many poets wrote anonymously. This poem has been credited to 'Namaloom' (anonymous) in the book. It was first published in 'Payaam-e-Jang' in 1930. The Editor, Narayan Singh 'Musafir', had written by way of introduction: 'This poem was read aloud by Comrade Prem Dutt, an accused in the Lahore conspiracy case, during his trial; then the other accused would also join in and start singing it'. I have transcribed it into Nagri and Roman, both versions below: 
"Muqaddama Saazish e Lahore ke Aseeron ki Avaaz"

Bharat na rah sakega hargiz ghulam-khana
Azaad hoga, hoga, aata hai vo zamaana

Ab bhed aur bakri mil kar na rah sakenge
Kar denge zaalimon ka ab band zulm dhaana

Khoon khaulne lagega hindostaaniyon ka 
Is past-himmati ka hoga kahaan thikaana 

Bharat ke hum hain bachche,bharat hamaari mata 
Iske hi vaaste hai manzoor sar kataana

Urooj-e-kamyaabi par kabhi Hindostan hoga
Bahaar aa jayegi us din apna baagbaan hoga

Chakhayenge maze barbaadi-e-gulchin ko 
Jab apni hi zameen hogi aur apna aasmaan hoga

Shaheedon ki chitaaon par lagenge har baras mele
Vatan par marne walon ka yahi namonishaan hoga


'ज़ब्त शुदा नज़्में' किताब में से एक और नज़्म। इसे किसने लिखा है ये मालूम नहीं, किताब में 'नामालूम' लिखा है।

"मुक़दम्मा साज़िश ए लाहौर के असीरों की आवाज़"

भारत ना रह सकेगा हरगिज़ ग़ुलामख़ाना
आज़ाद होगा, होगा, आता है वो ज़माना

अब भेड़ और बकरी मिल कर न रह सकेंगे
कर देंगे ज़ालिमों का अब बंद ज़ुल्म ढाना

ख़ूूँ खौलने लगेगा हिन्दोस्तानियों का
इस पस्त-हिम्मती का होगा कहाँ ठिकाना

भारत के हम हैं बच्चे भारत हमारी माता
इसके ही वास्ते है मंज़ूर सर कटाना

उरूज-ए-कामयाबी पर कभी हिन्दोस्तान होगा
बहार आ जाएगी उस दिन जब अपना बाग़बाँ होगा

चखाएंगे मज़े बर्बादी-ए-गुलशन के गुलचीं को
जब अपनी ही ज़मीं होगी और अपना आसमां होगा

शहीदों की चिताओं पर लगेंगे हर बरस मेले
वतन पर मरने वालों का यही नामोनिशां होगा।  

    ये नज़्म 'पयाम ए जंग' में १९३० में छपी थी। एडिटर नरायन सिंह 'मुसाफ़िर' ने नज़्म के ता'र्रुफ़ के तौर पे लिखा था: 'ये नज़्म कॉमरेड प्रेम दत्त, मुल्ज़िम साज़िश-ए-लाहौर, अपनी सीधी आवाज़ से मुक़द्दमे के समाहत के दौरान पढ़ा करते हैं. बादा ज़ाँ फिर तमाम मुल्ज़िम मिल कर गाते हैं।

Tuesday, July 06, 2021

A play read, at last

 When I first began work on my own, as a freelance writer, I had decided to give myself permission to write in any genre, form or style without thinking of whether it would lead to an income, or even a publishing contract or a performance. 

Not having a daily job, being free of the compulsions of form and word restrictions, I was also finally free to really think about all the things that I'd gathered over eight years of being a journalist and an observer of society. I had done some stories around children who worked as domestic workers, and while many were ill-treated and had to be rescued by social organisations, I had also observed many children growing up as employees in middle class families and not being "abused" (I use the quote marks with some deliberation, to suggest the ambiguity of familiar behaviour). Some of these kids were sent to school, or at least, were given the option of studying, usually at a government school or a cheap, private school. They ate what their employers ate, most of the time, and some of them even had a room with a modicum of privacy. Some were scolded or hit, or prevented from going out without permission, but in many Indian families, parents tended to treat their own children in similar ways. 

Those who grew up within a household of which they are a part, face a quandary. If they were good students, they might seek their employer's help to go to college, or they might want to marry and settle into families of their own making. However, their choices would be restricted by whatever ideas their employers had about deserved freedoms. In large cities, space is at a premium. Where would a young domestic worker go if she wanted to date someone? Could she afford to marry for love and/or to quit her job? 

On the other hand, where would a middle-class girl go if her parents disapproved of her lover? Apart from having a better education and a chance to find a well-paying job, is a daughter's situation so different from that of a domestic worker? Who is allowed to make mistakes, and what does nomenclature have to do with self-image?

Questions like these had been revolving around in my head for a few years and they led me to write a play, Name, Place, Animal Thing. The script was shortlisted for The Hindu playwrights' prize, and that gave me the confidence to keep writing plays. This particular script was never staged or professionally read, though. Now, nearly 11 years later, it has been read (and read very well!) at the Almeeda Theatre in the UK

A recording of the reading is up on YouTube, and is free to watch for a few days. Please click on the link below to watch.


I noticed months later that Maryam Philpott had written about this performance. Here's an extract from what she writes, and a link below:

"When men appear in this fascinating story, they create lane-changing momentum in the pace and direction of the play and Nancy’s life. Her severe Uncle Malik represents the established social order, the old world that seeks to confine Nancy within a religious and political structure that sees marriage as the ultimate outcome for a woman. Malik’s personality and belief in his absolute righteousness defines the play, motoring the action that, prior to and during this story, shape his family so completely – especially the haunting presence of his daughter lost shortly before Nancy took the same treacherous path.

But other men provide direction as well, not least Nancy’s ineffectual rubbish collector husband who appears more than once to demand the return of his wife as property and to plead his cause, while a clothing salesman’s alluring patter charms the homely women of the play in a variety of ways. What is clear is that none of these men have the best interests of the womenfolk in mind and, young or old, these men prioritise their own happiness and sense of propriety such as it is with fateful effects."

The full article here:

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