Friday, 15 February 2013

Mohsin Zaidi (1935 – 2003)

Mohsin Zaidi (1935 – 2003) was an Urdu poet who used to write by the pen name 'Mohsin'. Saiyed Mohsin Raza Zaidi (Urdu:سید محسن رضا زیدی ‎) was born in Bahraich, a town in the state of Uttar Pradesh in India on 10th July, 1935, to parents, Saiyed Ali Raza Zaidi and Sughra Begum. He died in Lucknow on 3rd September, 2003.

Education -

He had his early schooling in Pratapgarh, Uttar Pradesh - Islamia School (1940 – 1942); K. P. Hindu High School (1943 – 1948); Government High School (1949 – 1950).
He did his senior school from Maharaj Singh Inter College, Bahraich, Uttar Pradesh (1951-1952).
He did his Bachelor in Arts from Lucknow University, in English Literature, History, Economics (1953-1954).
He got his Masters in Economics from Allahabad University (1955-1956).

Occupation -
He joined the Indian Economic Service in 1956 and worked with the government of India till his retirement in 1993.
Career –
Held many positions with the Central Government in ministries of Chemicals & Fertilizers, Labour, Agriculture; and in the Planning Commission. He retired as a ‘Senior Economist’ in the Senior Administrative Grade of Joint Secretary. As part of government assignments he toured countries like Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Algeria.
Through out his unblemished career he remained steadfast to his values of honesty and integrity.
Poetic Life –
He started writing in 1950 at the age of 15 while still in high school in Pratapgarh. Initially he was impressed by Naazish Pratapgarhi, a young progressive writer who was emerging as a prominent poet on the local literary scene. However his major inspiration came from the works of classical poets like Mir Taqi Mir, Momin Khan Momin, Mirza Ghalib, Haider Ali Aatish, Mir Anis, Daagh Dehlvi and Mir Dard. Among the neo-classical and modern poets his favourites were Allama ‘Iqbal’, Raghupati Sahay ‘Firaq’, Faiz Ahmed ‘Faiz’ , and ‘Jigar’ Muradabadi.
Poetic Style -
Some critics regard Mohsin Zaidi as a poet closer to the classical tradition of Urdu poetry, some feel that he was a progressive writer; while others view him as part of modernist Urdu poetry. Though his style adhered to the traditional Urdu poetry, his poetic ideas were modern and progressive. He would put his thoughts in plain words and his simple poetic style touched the hearts of the readers. Mohsin Zaidi was among the few poets who used the perfection of diction and pleasantness of narration of traditional ghazal to express new ideas (review by renowned progressive poet of Urdu, Kumar Pashi, in Rishta-e-Kalaam, published in 1978).
The doyen of Urdu poetry, Firaq Gorakpuri, who was a teacher of Mohsin Zaidi in Allahabad University, said in his written comment on Mohsin Zaidi’s ghazals from his first collection of poems, Shehr-e-Dil (1961) that “….his ashaar have softness of style, mellow words and flow of narrative.”
Mohsin Zaidi’s poetry has been acclaimed by many Urdu critics. Makhmoor Saeedi, a contemporary of Mohsin Zaidi and himself a poet and critic of highest repute was of the opinion that “Mohsin Zaidi’s language is not decorative but simple, and to create impression through his simplicity is his special skill. And this skill is not easy but Mohsin Zaidi has a mastery over it” (Foreword to Mataa-e-Akhir-e-Shab, 1990).
According to another noted Urdu critic, Dr. Shaarib Rudawlvi, “…..Mohsin’s ghazals had freshness of thought, intense feelings, and dexterity of expression. One aspect of his poetry is spontaneity; and he has got a flow of ideas that presents one image after another” in the form of his ashaar…… Mohsin Zaidi’s poetry witnessed many literary ups and downs of his times and the rise and fall of many movements. But in every age he preserved his unique poetic style. And this is his greatest quality.”
Mohsin Zaidi was a poet of ghazals. As he himself put it in a lighter vein, he adopted the ‘ghazal’ form of Urdu poetry rather than ‘nazm’, following the economic principle – minimum input to achieve maximum output – where one can express one’s thoughts in a few words. This was indeed an interesting analogy between ghazals and economics.
The study of economics had its influence on his poetry, especially economic issues like economic disparity – ‘Tha shahraah pe to ujala har ek su. Lekin gali mein apni andhera raha tamaam. Apne dayaar hi mein raha qaht-e-aab kyo. Kya abr ek samt barasta raha tamaam?’; uneven distribution of wealth – ‘Ye baat dekhne ki nahin soochne ki hai. Iflaas hai zyaadah ki daulat ziadaah hai; and the economic dominance of developed countries – ‘Wo bhao badal sakta hai bas ek nazar se. Saari hi dukaane sabhi baazaar hain uske’. As per Legendary Urdu litterateur, Dr. Gyan Chand Jain, Mohsin Zaidi was not only a poet but a social commentator (foreword to Baab-e-Sukhan, 2000).
According to Makmoor Saeedi, Mohsin Zaidi’s “poetic character” had been weaned on these elements – self respect, self confidence, integrity of character, opposition to all tyrannical powers, belief in retribution for one’s actions, search for virtues in human nature, belief in the victory of truth; and also a sense of sacrifice for the wellbeing of the coming generations. These elements, which are in his subconscious, form the backdrop for his poetic works.
One of the bloodiest and tragic chapters of history, the battle of Karbala has become symbolic of protest against all forms of brutality and injustice. Karbala has usually been a topic of marsiya form of Urdu poetry, which however does not go beyond the narration of the incident. One obvious trait of Mohsin Zaidi’s poetry is that Karbala forms the backdrop of his contemplation and manifests itself as a metaphor in numerous ashaar. Makhmoor Saeedi in his book, ‘Vaadi-e-Khayaal’ writes that “Mohsin Zaidi was the first poet who used ‘Karbala’ as a metaphor in Urdu ghazal; a trait that was later followed by many other poets”.
- Hai Marka-e-Karb-o-bala asl mein duniya. Baazicha-e-atfaal ko duniya nahin kahte.
- Tum mein se jo bhi chahe mera saath chod de. Dekho yahaan se raaste dushwaar aeynge.
- Wo zer-e-khanjar-e-qatil na tha gulu koi. Wo ek khayaal tha jisko shaheed karte rahe
While on one hand his poetry deals with the harsh realities of life, on the other there are those beautiful and delightful moments of life that represent the enchanting and heartwarming form of poetry which ghazal is known to be in Urdu literature and which has been the tradition of ghazal.
- Voh raaz-e-ishq diloon se bhi the jo posheedah. Unhein khamosh nigaahon ne aashkaar kiya
- Tumhaari yaad is tanha safar mein. Hai shama’a-e-raah bhi rakht-e-safar bhi
- Yeh teergi yeh teri yaad ke bujhe se charaagh. Dhuaan dhuaan si fiza aur ye sham-e-tanhaayi
Poetic Works -
• Shehr-e-Dil (1961)
• Rishtah-e-Kalaam (1978)
• Mataa-e-Aakhir-e-Shab (1990)
• Baab-e-Sukhan (2000)
• Jumbish-e-Nok-e-Qalam (2005)
Awards -
He got many awards from Urdu Academy for his works, the last being from Uttar Pradesh Urdu Academy for his last compilation of ghazals – ‘Jumbish-e-Nok-e-Qalam’ which was published posthumously.
Personal life –
Mohsin Zaidi lived in Delhi for nearly four decades before settling down in Lucknow after retirement. He was a man of simple tastes. Neither his professional achievements nor his standig as a poet of repute ever influenced his humble disposition.
He was not one to chase fame. Speaking in an interview broadcast on All India Radio he stated that he could not learn the art of self publicity; though he was satisfied with the appreciation and adulation he had got. Quoting a sher of Brij Narayan ‘Chakbast’, Chamanzaar-e-mohabbat mein usi ne baghbaani ki. Ke jisne apni mehnat ko hi mehnat ka samar jaana, he said that he had kept writing to the best of his satisfaction without bothering about adulation.
Renowned short story writer of Urdu, Dr. Bisheshar Pardeep wrote a tribute titled ‘Mohsin Zaidi – an honest poet’ in ‘Jumbish-e-Nok-e-Qalam’. He quoted the last couplet of the poet which the latter wrote on his death bed – ‘Ham ne khud ko to badalne ki bahot koshish ki. Sakht haerat hai badal jaati hai duniya kaise’ and went on to explain that the poet could never deviate from the rules that he had set for himself. He concluded by saying that “Mohsin Zaidi was indeed a principled man and an honest poet”.

Some ghazals by Mohsin Zaidi

Nah fikr-e-khaar, nah parwa-e-aabla paayi
Bas eik dhun hai chale ja rahe hain saudayi

Nigaah-e-naaz uthi uth ke jaese sharmai
Khusha voh vaqt hui dilki jab pazeerayi

Jahaan pahoonch na sake shahpar-e-takhaiyyul bhi
Teri nigaah vahaan bhi diye jala aayi

Junoon ko chand qadam chal ke mil gayi manzil
Bhatak rahi hai khirad baavajood-e-daanayi

Teri hi zulf se shoreedgi naseeb hui
Teri hi chashm se hamne junoon ki sheh paayi

Ajab nizaam-e-gulistaan mein hai ta’attul sa
Chaman mein koi kali khil saki nah murjhaai

Yeh teergi yeh teri yaad ke bujhe se charaagh
Dhuaan dhuaan si fiza aur ye sham-e-tanhaayi

Tujhe khabar bhi hai Mohsin kea aah-e-neem shabi
Waqaar-e-dard ka saara bharam gawaan aayi

(Shehr-e-Dil, page 22, 1961)

Hansne ko to hanste hain par ab kaun bataaye
Hum kitne hi zakhmoon ko hain seene mein chhipaaye

Kya kahiye ki ek baar garaan hai gham-e-duniya
Kitne hi subuk varnah teri zulf ke saaye

Jab apni tabaahi peh nahin khud bhi main ghamgeen
Kiyon meri tabaahi peh koyi ashq bahaaye

Begaanahvashi jaese ho is shahr ka dastoor
Is shahr mein aakar hooye apne bhi paraaye

Shaayad ho kisi shab ke muqaddar mein sahar bhi
Ham jaage hain ik umr yahi aas lagaaye

Is kaargah-e-shauq mein jaadu-e-khurd nay
Jitney hi sanam tore hain utne hi banaye

Mohsin hai vahi zulmat-e-auhaam abhi tak
Ek arsa hua aql ko faanoos jalaye

(Shehr-e-Dil, 1961, page 28)

Chaaron taraf baland nishaan teergi ka tha
Rakkha hua faseel pe sar raushni ka tha

Kya soonch ke tum aese safar par nikal pare
Imkaan na jis safar se koi vaapsi ka tha

Yoon dam ba dam charaagh ki lao ho rahi thi kam
Jaise har ek qadam safar-e-aakhri ka tha

Meri hi tarah toot ke vo bhi bikhar gaya
Meri tarah gumaan use shishah gari ka tha

Main kiyon na toot jaata havaadis ke boojh se
Ek bojh mujh pe yun bhi meri zindagi ka tha

Aaya tha lootne mera hamzaad bhi mujhe
Kisko khayal loot mein hamsayagi ka tha

Manzil ba manzil uske bichharne ka gham hai kiyon
Raste mein jiska saath ghari do ghari ka tha

Sar par mere azzaab-e-zamana na tha koi
Mujh par to ek azaab meri aagahi ka tha

Rango ke izdahaam mein sab rang aam thay
Mumtaaz tha to rang teri saadgi ka tha

Barh kar vahaan bhi shab ne seyaahi undhel di
Halka sa shaeba bhi jahaan raushni ka tha

(Rishta-e-Kalaam, 1978, page 21)


Jitna tahzeeb-e-badan se main sanwarta jaaoon
Utna hi toot ke andar se bikharta jaaoon

Zindagi jaise calendar pe badalti taareek
Main shab-o-roz ke maanind guzarta Jaaoon

Kya pata khwaabon ki taabir mile ya na mila
Kisi kaaghaz pe inhe note hi karta jaaoon

Sahn-e-gulshan se woh aakhri rishta bhi gaya
Khushk patton ki tarah ab to bikharta jaaoon

Tah-e-zulmaat un aankhon ke diye jalte jaayein
Zeenah zeenah main ujaalon mein utarta jaaoon

Gard-e-daaman ki tarah mujh ko uraane wale
Aks ban kar teri aankhon mein thaharta jaaoon

Kitne ghabraae huye hain mere qaatil Mohsin
Aasteenon pe lahu ban ke ubharta jaaoon

(Rishta-e-Kalaam, 1978, page 103)


Taraaj bastiyoon mein kidhar jayegi ye raat
Khaali gharoon ko dekh ke dar jayegi ye raat

Din kat gaya hai bhaagte saayoon ke saath saath
Khwaabon ke darmiyaan guzar jayegi ye raat

Ham har taraf mileinge liye haath par charaagh
Jis samt bhi muregi jidhar jayegi ye raat

Yaadon ke izdhaam mein kya neend aayegi
Ab to jaga ke taa-bah sahar jayegi ye raat

Karlo shumaar kushtah charaaghon ko warnah kal
Ilzaam-e-qatl subha pe dhar jayegi ye raat

Kuch der ko hai aur farebe nazar ka khel
Jab khatm hoga khel bikhar jayegi ye raat

Koi to shakl ubhregi aab-o-saraab se
De kar koi to aks-e-sahar jaayegi ye raat

Mohsin hai shab ka saath to hangaam-e-subah tak
Badh jaayeinge ham aage thahar jaayegi ye raat

(Rishta-e-Kalaam, 1978, page 62 )


Aesa nahin ke aur sitamgar na aayenge
Lekin tumhare qad ke barabar na aayenge

Ham aayenge to hoke rah-e-mustaqeem se
Auron ki tarah bhul bhatak kar na aayenge

Is baar kho diya to milayenge na phir tumhein
Abke jo ham gaye to palat kar na aayenge

Mil julke aao bakhsh dein in lamhon ko doaam
Ye lamhe zindagi mein mukarrar na aayenge

Kya ye lahu ka daur mere sar pe khatm hai
Kya doosre ke sar pe ye khanjar na aayenge

Hamne bhi koi gul to na phainke thay us taraf
Patthar ke kya jawaab mein patthar na aayenge

Chahre sitam garoon ke to kya honge be naqaab
Unke to naam bhi sare mahzar na aayenge

Aayenge ham banate hue apne naqah-e-pa
Chal kar kisi ke naqsh-e-qadam par na aayenge

Mohsin ye daur khatm samajhye ab iske baad
Gardish mein ye pyala-o-saaghar na aayenge
(Mataa-e-Aakhir-e-Shab, 1990, page 30)


Koi be-wajah kiyon khafa hoga
Kuch to usko bura laga hoga

Aage jaakar thahar gaya hoga
Wo meri raah tak raha hoga

Chhor aaye thay ham jala ke jise
Woh diya kab ka bujh gaya hoga

Jab woh awaaz tham gayi hogi
Shab ka sannaata bolta hoga

Kaise maaloom ho ke aakhri waqt
Usne kiya kuch kaha suna hoga

Kiyon hawa tez abhi se chalne lagi
Ghuncha kam kam abhi khila hoga

Lahja uska bhi kuch tha apna sa
Woh bhi apne dayaar ka hoga

Pahla sajda jahaan kiya tha wahin
Aakhiri sajda bhi ada hoga

Ho nah ho manzil aagayi Mohsin
Chand qadmon ka faasla hoga

(Mataa-e-Aakhir-e-Shab, 1990, page 71)


(This information and input by his son Arshad Zaidi)

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