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Urdu lovers aghast at Badr-Manzar sparring

AS A great seat of Urdu poetry, Bhopal has had a fair share of literary polemics involving outstanding poets like Kaif, She?ri, Asad and Taj, to name only the prominent ones.

india Updated: Feb 09, 2006 13:21 IST
Shams Ur Rehman Alavi
Shams Ur Rehman Alavi

AS A great seat of Urdu poetry, Bhopal has had a fair share of literary polemics involving outstanding poets like Kaif, She’ri, Asad and Taj, to name only the prominent ones.

But the rivalry had a grace and charm in equal measure. The indomitable poets would provide enough food for thought to their fans to enliven mehfils and ‘patias’ with animated debates. That great tehzib stands sullied, feel old-timers of the City as they talk of the unsavoury rows involving Bashir Badr.

The poet and MP Urdu Academy Chairman  has created a storm of sorts by accusing fellow poet (also a fellow BJP man) of maligning his image through getting libelous posters pasted against him. Incidentally, both have participated in Mushairas not only in India but also in towns abroad.

Octogenarian poet Akhtar Saeed Khan is aghast by their ugly sparring. One of the oldest living Urdu poets in the country, Saeed Khan says that he has never seen poetic rivalry hitting such a low in the last seven decades of his poetic career.

“Even if the poets made mistakes, a hint was given in a subtle way so as not to cause any offence. That was a healthy criticism and everybody used to take it in right spirit and enjoy that”, an anguished Khan recalls.

The grand old man further recalled that Kaif and She’ri did have a rivalry as both had immense following and belonged to the same era but it neither came into public nor led to such distasteful acts. 

“All limits of decency have been crossed in the City that had a glorious tradition of Urdu poetry and produced Taj, Kaif, Basit and She’ri” , another veteran poet said not wishing to be named and getting drawn into the controversy.

He described the present situation in the couplet, “Kah raha hai shor-e-daria se samandar ka sukoot/ Jiska jitna zarf hai utna hi woh khamosh hai”.

The sophisticated tradition of Urdu poetry in Bhopal has been shaken with a spate of controversies in the last few months. With Bashir Badr approaching police against Manzar Bhopali the situation has now hit a nadir.

It started when poet Munawwar Rana’s couplet at a ‘mushaira’ was hooted by Badr from the stage itself. He allegedly said ‘lahaul walaquwwat’ in front of a huge audience. The spar was seen by thousands and even recorded on cameras.

This led to an outcry. Local organisations held protests against Badr for making a mockery of the tradition of mushaira. His reaction was widely condemned in Lucknow and other centres of poetry as well.

Then came Badr’s outrageous remark on ETV that he could enact any role starting from Adam to the later prophets and also that of Satan. Eminent poets voiced their anger over the statement.

Senior poet of Bhopal school of Urdu poetry, Ishrat Qadri, was livid and termed Badr’s statement as highly objectionable. Poets also questioned his mental balance. His effigies were burnt.

Manzar Bhopali even alleged that “He (Bashir Badr) can lodge a complaint  against even Atal Bihari Vajpayee”. Interestingly, both Manzar Bhopali and Bashir Badr had to face brickbats from Muslims for forming an outfit Atal Bihari Fans’ Club just before the last parliamentary elections in order to gather support for BJP.

At several Mushairas they were hooted and at times not even allowed to recite. But after the BJP came to power, Badr was made the chairman of Madhya Pradesh Urdu Academy.


Recent rows involving Badr
1 Hooted poet Munawwar Rana from stage

2 Statement that he could enact role of prophets and even Satan

3 Complaint with police naming Manzar Bhopali as suspect

ht epaper

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