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Monday, Nov 18, 2019

Banker by day, poet by night

During the day he works at the Lucknow Urban Co Operative Bank of which he is the deputy manager. At night, he is busy increasing his ?intellectual capital? bank. His eyes light up when he is successful giving wings to his thoughts.

india Updated: Mar 03, 2006 00:26 IST
Hindustantimes
         

During the  day he works at the Lucknow Urban Co Operative Bank of which he is the deputy manager. At night, he is busy increasing his ‘intellectual capital’ bank. His eyes light up when he is successful giving wings to his thoughts.

Yet, despite thousands of Urdu couplets and two hugely impressive works on poetry, he says he doesn’t know “the Urdu script still.” This, despite the fact that his poems have been appreciated by Pakistan’s leading poet, Amjad Ali Amjad, filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt and famous singer Anoop Jalota among a host of others. He is Bharat Bhushan Pant, a poet par excellence.

“Thank You,” he says, when you congratulate him both for his poetry as well as for being ‘selected’ for doing lyrics (along with friend Khushbir Singh Shaad) for Pooja Bhatt’s forthcoming film ‘Thank You.’

Ever since he chanced upon couple of books of Sardar Jaffri at his maternal uncle’s house in 1977, Pant who was in his intermediate then, got hooked on to poetry.

Belonging to Almora’s Dania village Pant was referred to Lucknow’s famous poet Wali Asi by Basheer Badr in 1988. Pant still remembers his first few meetings with ‘Ustadji’ at his shop in Aminabad.

“He asked me how many ghazals had I penned so far? I replied, ‘About 700’. Ustadji said that in that case he should have come to him,” Pant reminisces.

Ustadji’s comment made Pant realise his mistake. “I went through my verses again and discovered that of the 700 barely 9 odd were worth retaining.”

This was obviously his learning curve. Pant who, so far, had concentrated mostly on free verses on the lines of Sardar Jaffri gradually realised his verses had to be deeper, mature and proper verses (ghazals).  However, by this time Pant’s first book, a collection of free verses titled ‘Koshish’, had been published.

How did he take to poetry? “I used to be a good student till my inter first year.

My father KC Pant who had a lasting impression on me died in 1974. CP Pant, my uncle, tried to fill the emotional void, as did my wife Monica Pant later. But then, since I had lost all interest in my studies after my father’s death and was emotionally broken I took to poetry to vent my emotions that were boiling within me,” he recalls.

In 1986, Pant found a job in bank and two years later met his Ustadji.

Wali Asi’s grooming helped Pant develop a more mature outlook. He started picking up the nuances of poetry rapidly. His mentor realised the potential and actually suggested that he attend poetic congregations (mushairas).

“I told ustadji that I wasn’t interested in going there and he too agreed that given the deteriorating standards of mushairas there was no harm in actually staying away. There is hardly any scope for serious poetry there,” Pant says.

Pant who had set sail on his poetic voyage also started experimenting. “I regard the sun as the centre of all energy. Most poets prefer to base their poetries on the moon. I preferred sun,” he says. In his latest book ‘Tanhaiyan Kehti Hain’ that was released by Mahesh Bhatt, Pant has dedicated an entire chapter on his verses based on sun. Moon finds an expression in his poetry as well, but sun’s presence is overwhelming. 

Then, he decided to pay his tribute to Mirza Ghalib whom he regards the best ever in a markedly different way in his own way. He created an entire chapter on verses inspired based on the legendary poet’s creations.

So, for Ghalib ‘s ghazal, “Ho chunki Ghalib balayein sab tamam, aik marghe nagahani aur hain,” Pant offered his tribute thus: “Jo padhi maine kitabe aasmani aur hai, woh kahani doosri thee, yeh kahani aur hai.”

When his ustadji saw Pant’s tribute to Ghalib, he was delighted with his phenomenal ability. His second tribute to Ghalib was even more brilliant.

For Ghalib’s “Rone se aur ishq mein bebak ho gaye, dhoye gaye hum aise ki bas pak ho gaye”, Pant wrote, “Payee nijaat jism se aur pak ho gaye, duniya samajh rahi hai ki ham khaak ho gaye.”  Of the several brilliant verses inspired by Ghalib, one was simply irresistible.  

Ghalib had written, “Ragon Mein daurte phirne ke ham nahi kayal, Jo aankh hi se na tapka toh phir lahoo kya hai…”. Pant’s tribute went thus: “Aahle sukhan ki rah gaye apni ragon main qaid, Ghalib ke baad aankh se tapka lahoo kahan.” In this verse Pant describes Ghalib’s poetry as ultimate.

Pant, who says Deoraha Baba and Yogananda Paramhansa’s book ‘Autobiography of a Yogi’ inspired him tremendously on a personal level, took to poetry passionately.  But there is hardly any healthy competition around. And that’s a big let down.

As Pant comments in his book, “Hami aik ishq ke karein jiyan main sarf hai warna, yahan har aadmi masroof hai paisa banane main.” Tanhaiyan Kehti Hain is available at Universal Booksellers both at Ganj and Aliganj. If you like good poetry, pick it up.