Goodbye Ahmed Faraz, You live in our hearts
Syed Ali Mujtaba
Ahmed Faraz, one of the greatest urdu poet of contemporary times is no more. When I heard the news of his demise, first thing I did was to go to the U tube and heard his immortal lyrics Rangish hi sahi, dil hi dukhane ne ke leye aa….. over and over again. So much was the intensity of his feelings, that I heard this poem from five different singers, all of international repute. Well I had the pleasure of seeing Ahmed Faraz. It was in early eighties when I just joined as an undergraduate student at Aligarh Muslim University. Some of my friends told me that Ahmed Faraz had come from Pakistan and is attending a poetry session organized by the engineering college student there. At that I had little interest in Urdu poets and their poetry. I was even unaware who was Ahmed Faraz and what kind of poetry he writes. Since my friends insisted me to come so more due to peer affiliation and less to the charm for the poet, I went and attended his poetic session. The hall was jam-packed, and I could just have a glimpse of Ahmed Faraz from a distance. He looked more like a professor than a Urdu poet, bellying all imagination that we have of such persons in the Hindi movies. He was sitting along with two other great stalwarts of Urdu poetry. At that point of time of life I had no clue that who were the other two gentlemen. One was Mr Gulam Rabani Taaban and other Anand Naryan Mullah. When I had entered the hall, it was Mr Mullah who was reciting the poetry and Fraz seem to be enjoying every bit of it. The crowd was more focused on Faraz who seems to have memorized Mulla’s poetry and was preempting his words before he recited them. While watching Mr. Mullah, who dressed like a Nawab, I had a feeling what this Hindu man was doing with Urdu literature. I had no clue that he was a revered man in Urdu literature. About Gulam Rabani Taban, I can only say, my friend whispered in my ears that he is great poet and father of my teacher Prof Iqthidar Alam Khan. So I looked at him from the angle of father figure than a poet who had a following of its own. Coming back to Ahmed Faraz, well he had a gracious personality and the most striking thing was that he was smoking the Dunhill cigarette. I still remember the red color pack kept by his side and the cigarette in his hand. There was some different kind of charm and grace in this man that was beyond Urdu poets. The aura of his personality was very different and from no angle he represented the tribe Urdu poets. When I heard the news of his demise the flash back of this event started haunting me. I regretted why I did not sit through that entire poetic session and heard him recite his poems. As I silently prayed for the departed soul listening to his immortal lyrics Ranjish….I felt may his words come true and he gets back into this world once more even for hurting our hearts and then leave again!