Firaq Gorakhpuri 124th birth anniversary: Immortal couplets on love and life by the legendary Urdu poet
Known to be at par with Ghalib and Meer, noted Urdu poet Firaq Gorakhpuri’s 124th birth anniversary will be celebrated this Friday. A master of three languages, Firaq’s soul resides in the heart of people of Gorakhpur and he is best remembered not only for his contribution to poetry but also to the freedom struggle of India.
Born on August 28, 1896, in Banwarpar village under Gola Block of Gorakhpur, Firaq Gorakhpuri was the pen name of Raghupati Sahay who gave Urdu literature some of the immortal creations and grew up to become an inspiration to many writers, poets and freedom fighters. A close friend of former prime minister Jawahar Lal Nehru, Firaq’s residence Laxmi Nivas was converted into Saraswati Shishu Mandir, the junior high school run by the RSS since 1980.
During the non-cooperation movement call given by Mahatma Gandhi in 1920, Firaq had quit his job as a PCS officer of British India. He was consequently jailed and even served 18 months in jail during the freedom movement.
His couplets instil love, a sense of patriotism and honour towards the country and many claim that there is no match of his stature in Urdu poetry. Check out some of his sher on love and life that are still relevant in 2020:
1.“maut kā bhī ilaaj ho shāyad
zindagī kā koī ilaaj nahīñ”
Translation: For death a cure there well maybe
But for this life no remedy
2.“tum muḳhātib bhī ho qarīb bhī ho
tum ko dekheñ ki tum se baat kareñ”
Translation: Close to me you are there
should I speak or should I stare/see
3.“koī samjhe to ek baat kahūñ
ishq taufīq hai gunāh nahīñ”
Translation: If someone were to listen, one thing I will opine
Love is not a crime for sooth it is grace divine
4.“na koī va.ada na koī yaqīñ na koī umiid
magar hameñ to tirā intizār karnā thā”
Translation: No promise, surety, nor any hope was due
Yet I had little choice but to wait for you
5.“maiñ huuñ dil hai tanhā.ī hai
tum bhī hote achchhā hotā”
Translation: Me, my loneliness, my heart are here
Would be nice if you were here too
6.“aa.e the hañste khelte mai-ḳhāne meñ ‘firāq’
jab pī chuke sharāb to sanjīda ho ga.e”
Translation: We came to the tavern all gay and frolicsome
Now having drunk the wine, somber have we become
Firaq was a scholar of Persian and Sanskrit who used his knowledge of Indian philosophy in his rubais. He was also an English lecturer in Allahabad University and was conferred with the Sahitya Academy Award in 1961 and the Padam Bhushan in 1967 for his immense contribution to literature.
(Couplet and translation courtesy Rekhta.org)