Phir murat se bahar aakar bikhar ja, Phir mandir ko koi Meera deewani de maula Garaj baras pyaasi dharti ko phir paani de maula (Come out of the idols again, and spread your presence everywhere Give a love-crazed Meera to the temple again Oh lord, give water to this parched earth)
Poet Nida Fazli wrote this piece, a plea in the form of a ghazal in 1994, a few months after riots and communal tensions in Mumbai had rattled the nation to its core.
In `Insight’, a Jagjit Singh-Nida Fazli collaborative album, it was set to raag Miyan Malhar. This wasn’t just a rain song sung by a farmer tilling his land; it came with a larger and significant sub-text. Here was a piece in which `Maula’, a word from the Quran met Krishna’s Meera. And it was here that the poet coaxed the Creator, through a ghazal’s contours, to bring prosperity, peace and common sense to the people. (Read: In memory: The times when two greats — Nida Fazli and Jagjit Singh — joined forces)
With lines such as `jeenewalon ko marne ki asaani de maula’ (let those who live know how to die in peace), Nida Fazli asked for integrity of life and dignity with death. Here was a poet who created a connection so intensely personal that it intertwined the profound with the simple and played out all of life’s dramas in one poem. (Also read: Industry greats remember late Nida Fazli)
It remains one of the finer pieces of poetry from the poet’s oeuvre. His death in Mumbai on Monday, at the age of 78, will be recalled as the death of a realist – with secularism was always in tow. He realized what the absence of tolerance had brought upon his own family, many of whom he had lost in the riots of the 60s. `Ghar se masjid hai bahut door, Chalo yun kar le, ki kisi rote huye bachcho ko hasaya jaye’, he recited at a mushaira after the riots. (Read: Best Ghazals by Nida Fazli)
When singer Talat Aziz was asked to sing for then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, he went to Fazli for a new piece. The poet wrote `Vrindavan ke Krishan kanhaiya Allah hu, Bansi lala geeta gaiya Allah hu’ referring to Krishna as Allah and in turn the message of oneness of God. Here wasn’t a lover of an imaginary beloved; he understood the idea of according love and respect to a real human being. (Noted lyricist Nida Fazli passes away)
Fazli didn’t write in heavily ornate Urdu –daunting to understand — but a language of the masses that could be understood by everyone. His Urdu wasn’t laced with heavy words– instead, he brought flair to Braj bhasha and khadi boli . He bridged the Hindi-Urdu divide that was the cause of so much conflict in the country. (Film fraternity condoles Nida Fazli’s death)
More than the idea of just aesthetic elegance, here was poetry from a realist who didn’t mourn loss in his poetry but wished for a better India, a better world, a better life and even a better death.
India has lost one of its finest poets. It will be difficult to find a worthy successor to Fazli’s poetry and writing style. He was, truly, one of a kind.