Amir Khusro, is regarded as THE pioneer poet of khadi boli. Every kid, at least in the northern part of India, is familiar with his timeless riddle, “ek thaal moti se bhara…”. His series of “kyon sakhi saajan, nahi ____” riddles are a fine example of utilizing the internal syllabic rhythm of language to highlight the playfulness of the two protagonists in these riddles. But that is for another post.
It turns out that Khusro was much more than a Hindi (khadi boli) poet. Behold an excerpt from one of his poems:
Zehal-e miskin makun taghaful, duraye naina banaye batiyan;
ki taab-e hijran nadaram ay jaan, na leho kaahe lagaye chhatiyan.
This is a masterpiece in its own accord. Apart from the obvious beauty of rhyme, the true brilliance of this poem is that it has been composed in two different languages. The first half of each line is Persian, or Faarsi, while the second half has been composed in Braj bhasha.
Taking the initial phrase out this poem of Khusro’s, Gulzaar has created a different couplet, somehow preserving the original idea of interweaving two languages as well as the emotion of romantic anguish. Here it is:
zihaal-e-miskeen mukon ba-ranjish,
bahaal-e-hijra bechara dil hai
(A song from movie Ghulaami)
Now this is called inspiration. It’s like a true artist paying homage to another true artist. Legend saluting legend. Brilliant.
Let’s look at another such example. This ghazal composed by Ghalib is in praise of romantic idleness..
jee dhoondhtaa hai phir wohee fursat,
ke raat din baithe rahein tasavvur-e-jaanaa kiye huye
Gulzar borrowed the ghazal, re-punctuated and changed the meaning a little and added some more lines beautifully illustrating his idea.
Dil dhoondta hai, phir wohi fursat ke raat din,
Baithe rahein tasavvur-e-jaanaa kiye huye…
Jaadon ki narm dhoop aur aangan mein let kar
Aankhon pe kheench kar tere daaman ke saaye ko
Aundhe pade rahe kabhi karwat liye hue…
Gulzar somehow made the verse more romantic, by singing about the times of enjoying the elation arising out of oblivion, being satisfied with the nothingness and cherishing every moment of it, being aware of your surroundings but not bothering to notice anything in particular…
(Disclaimer: I am no expert on ghazals or any form of poetry. I can barely recollect a couple of them. I am just a common admirer. And this is only admiration.)