Weaving ghazals on love
Weaving ghazals on love|
- by Ashraf Faruqi
Ali Sikandar 'Jigar Muradabadi' has a special place in the history of Urdu
poetry. A flamboyant and cavalier poet, he set many poetic meetings on fire with
his style of recitation and rindana verses. He was born in Moradabad in 1890.
The Mughal royalty in Delhi employed his ancestral family and late in 18th
century, it moved to Azampur and Moradabad. Jigar had traditional education in
Arabic and Farsi. He didn't really have a teacher or ustad and showed one ghazal
to Dagh Dehlvi. But Dagh died on February 10, 1905. At this time Jigar was only
15 years old and had just begun to write poetry. Mazhar Jaleel 'Shauq
Bachrayuni' a schoolmate of Jigar says in his book 'Yadgar-e-Jigar': "together
we would consult Munshi Hayat Baksh 'Rasa Rampuri' for correcting our
poetry…who later became his ustad".
As a young man, Jigar moved to Agra and was a traveling salesman for an optical
eyewear company who sold his merchandise in towns and cities. He could also give
eye exams. He had an intense personality. In his youth he picked up drinking.
Alcohol captivated Jigar from 1920 through 1938. In mushairas he recited his
poetry melodiously. Amazingly, he was also a deeply religious man and went for
Hajj in 1953.
Jigar belonged to that middle class group which was deeply conscious of its
historical past. It respected its culture and was aware of its religious and
moral values. Jigar grew up in this environment. Emotionally he was inclined
towards poetry and mentally he cherished his eastern values. For Jigar reality
of life is beauty. However, there is no philosophical depth and no serious
thinking in his poetry, which one finds in poems of Iqbal or Ghalib. So Jigar
should not be compared with the standard of these two poets. He is closer to the
poetry of Meer, Momin, Dagh and Hasrat, which is laced with intense
emotionalism. Jigar by temperament worshiped beauty. His various love affairs
taught him ups and downs of life.
When Jigar Muradabadi died in 1960, it appeared as though a pillar of modern
Urdu ghazal had crumbled. He was a link that connected past with the present.
Jigar was not only a great poet but also a great human being. The ghazal poetry
that he created was really a wine, which could not stay in his glass. Ghazal was
not his profession but his passion, which seeped from his nature and
personality. It was in his temperament and amalgamation of his thoughts. If the
veil covering his poetic signs is removed, it will reveal that his views on
caring, feelings and emotions flowed from his heart.
Urdu ghazal has completed many strides from Vali to Meer, Firaq and Jigar. It
has glittered in Mushairas and laced Urdu culture with its reputation. The 20th
century produced four prominent poets: Hasrat, Asghar, Faani and Jigar who are
considered pillars of modern Urdu ghazal. Urdu ghazal due to them reached new
heights, respectability, and popularity. As a result of this gushing interest in
poetry, mushairas suddenly erupted throughout the vast land, offering a
delightful escape from the prosaic humdrum of daily life. It was a new realm,
where fantasy embraced fact, and dreams merged with the realities of life.
Poetry provided an additional world, or at least an extra dimension to life.
Poetry is part of an environment and many facets contribute to its richness.
Ghazal of an era differs from other. Hasrat, Jigar and Fani were contemporaries
but their style and thought process was different from each other. Jigar is a
poet of love; Hasrat portrays the beloved, and while poems of Asghar reflects
beauty. Jigar has introduced new signs, new colors of love and beauty by weaving
and absorbing them in his ghazals. Ghazal is a fusion of feelings, emotions and
imagination and to imbibe these into ghazal format is not an easy task.
Jigar is a poet of unfulfilled love, but he can find joy in the very experience
of love. There is, as such, an element of buoyancy and mystic ecstasy even in
situations, which are generally believed unhappy. He presents concepts of
reality, romance, sunshine and shade like a dream. His love is romantic and
beauty is not a shade but living reality. He presents life as it is. Jigar is
not ashamed to leave his past behind. He had been in love many times and his
ghazals often glisten with this feeling. He was gifted with the subtle art of
combining lyrical verse with sublime melody that went straight to the listener's
heart. The rhyming beauty of the soul-stirring couplets is simply overwhelming
because Jigar was a great exponent of romantic passion.
Jigar's ghazals adhere to the traditional spirit and highlight contemporary
values simultaneously. His ghazals reflect ideas, related to transformations in
literature and the changing values of life, giving them new meaning, color and
direction. His lyrical style, and words combination take the audience into a
new magical world. When he comes to his peak he becomes a pied piper who takes
his audience into a different world of magic. He is not inclined towards
politics or social moments, and he concentrated on the subject of love.
When Jigar became most respected and sought-after poet, he never thought of
presenting himself as a guide or mentor to budding versifiers.
there soon emerged young men who admired his poetic diction, his romantic
imagery and his incomparably mellifluous style, and had also developed a great
fondness for the affable and kind-hearted person that Jigar was. They emulated
him and each one of them became famous. The list includes such names as Behzad
Lucknavi, Shakil Badayuni, Majrooh Sultanpuri, Ravish Siddiqui, Khumar
Barabankvi and Nushur Wahedi.
His poetry collection Daag-e-Jigar, Sholey Toor and Atish-e-Gul has been
published. There is a separate area at the Jamia University Library in Delhi
called "Goshe Jigar". He was given an honorary doctorate of literature from
Aligarh University. In 1955, he earned Sahitya Academy award on his book Atish-
e-Gul. There was also a rare film on him in which he recites a couple of his
Jigar Muradabadi occupies a lofty niche in Urdu literature's hall of fame. He
belongs to that special breed of achievers who 'come, see and conquer' the world
around them, and serve as a source of profound inspiration for a generation or
two, leaving behind a beckoning imprint upon the field of their choice.