Many poems credited to Gulzar on social media are not his
Talking to HT on the growing phenomenon of poems wrongly attributed to him, the veteran poet said, “Earlier I used to say 99 per cent poems on Whatsapp posted as mine are wrongly attributed to me, but now I can say for sure that 100 per cent of them are fake. I had written a poem called ‘Adatein bhi ajeeb hoti hain’ (Habits are strange, indeed) but I would certainly not write that women are strange!”Updated: Jun 30, 2019 02:35 IST
Some time ago, poet Gulzar saw two young girls dallying outside his Pali Hill home in Mumbai with bouquets in hand, hesitating to ring the bell. The poet asked the attendant to let them in. They presented him bouquets and cards saying they had come to celebrate the anniversary of his poem which had changed their lives.
When the 84-year celebrity poet asked them the name of the poem, they replied–Auratein bhi ajeeb hoti hain (Women are strange, indeed). At this, the poet was compelled to tell the naïve fans that they had come to the wrong address for he had not written any such poem. However, the girls insisted they had read the poem attributed to him on social media.
Talking to HT on the growing phenomenon of poems wrongly attributed to him, the veteran poet said, “Earlier I used to say 99 per cent poems on Whatsapp posted as mine are wrongly attributed to me, but now I can say for sure that 100 per cent of them are fake. I had written a poem called ‘Adatein bhi ajeeb hoti hain’ (Habits are strange, indeed) but I would certainly not write that women are strange!”
This is not an isolated instance. Many poems have been attributed to great legends such as Mirza Ghalib, Allama Iqbal, Harivansh Rai Bachchan, Munshi Prem Chand and also the Bard of Avon– Shakespeare. Even thinkers such as Einstein, Vivekanand and Mahatma Gandhi are victims of this epidemic. In the case of Gulzar, there exists a fake twitter handle called @maingulzar, and tweets wrongly credited
to him are even picked up by news channels.
Even TV anchor Arnab Goswami, once, unwittingly quoted a fake couplet attributing it to Gulzar.
The trend prompted Jaipur-based technocrat Pavan Jha, who documents poetry and music, to initiate Facebook page called ‘NotbyGulzar’ which has identified some 200 poems in Gulzar’s name as fake.
“This whole thing is upsetting,” said Gulzar, adding, “I will not speak for myself but it pains me greatly, when I find my ideal–the great Ghalib–being wronged thus!” Gulzar adds on a lighter note, “All I can say is that I am in exalted company. Pranksters have spared no one, not even Ghalib”.
Yet another poem ‘written’ by Gulzar for Rakshabandhan goes thus: ‘Usse eyeliner pasand tha, mujhe kajal’ (She liked eyeliner and I, kohl’).
The 23-year-old scribe Bhaskar Tripathi, embarrassed that his poem was being read because people thought it was Gulzar’s, said on record: “I am a huge Gulzar fan.
This poem is nowhere near his genius; I felt his reputation was being ruined.”
However, not all think so, and the game thus goes on. Documenter Pavan Jha’s sheds light on the phenomena, saying: “Ours has been an oral tradition. In the same manner, verses were credited in old times even to Kabir and Amir Khusro. However, with the advent of social media, it has become an explosion.
There are more writers than readers. In Gulzar’s case, his name is a big brand, so everyone wants to ride the buggy.”
Meanwhile, another friend of Gulzar has created Facebook page called O’ Gulzar, where his original poems are posted. Will the record be set right? Jha says: “It takes more time to identify fakes than document the authentic which I, too, have been doing.
Fakes get established when prominent people quote them. Amitabh, on KBC, ascribed to his father, a poem written by someone else, but withdrew it when he realised the truth. Recently, PM Modi did the same to Ghalib in Parliament.”