the death of ghalib
bulbulon ghul na kero, yaar humara sotee hai
tum to urr jata hai wo hum pe khafa hotee hai
i have long been a loud decrier of the unchecked development of the genre of urdu literature that we generally call “rickshaw poetry”. call me old-fashioned, but i always preferred the untainted, unadulterated literary experience that came when some old guy recited a few couplets of his latest ghazal to you with a paan in his mouth to the exceedingly crass poetry you come across on the buses and trucks and rickshaws of today’s karachi. at the same time, we have to live with the fact that this is probably the only medium left where the poor man can express his feelings and showcase his talents. yet you often feel you don’t want your children to read stuff like this:
chandni raat beetee ja rahi hai
ullu ki pathi tu ab arahi hai?
whatever. the day of ghalib ended with the advent of cable tv anyway. so we are reduced to scouring the back of the diesel smoke spewing monster in from of our car to satiate our thirst for poetry. i write this post merely to catalog the more ridiculous of the couplets we come across everyday. feel free to add your own contributions to the list.
qatal kiya ker nazron se, talwaron mein kya rakha hai
sair kar minibus mein, pijaro mein kya rakha hai
kabhi aagay jaata hai kabhi peechay aata hai
abay horn de ker kyun mujh ko tu satata hai
qismat aazma chuka hoon, naseeb aazma raha hoon
kisee bewafa ki khatir, ricksha chala raha hoon
but this one definitely takes the cake:
hum truck chalate hain, shayaron se nahin darte
bus shair kehte hain, shairee nahin karte