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
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

12 Comments so far

  1. Zainub (unregistered) on August 4th, 2007 @ 4:39 am

    Ah, yes, rickshaw poetry, its just one aspect of an entire rickshaw induced culture. I’m sure many of our readers will already know about IFaqeer’s blog dedicated to rickshawisms, for those not aware, any read on this subject is probably incomplete without having a look at it.

    Another one I like is from Owais Mughal’s rickshaw pictures collection, it goes something like

    Mohommbat ko zamane mein gul-e-nayab kehte hein
    Ham aap ko behte se pehley adab kehte hein

    See also Owais’ comprehensive rickshaw post on ATP from a while back, and another shair quoted from it:

    malik ki gaaRi, driver ka paseena
    chalti hai road par bun ka haseena

  2. Neena (unregistered) on August 4th, 2007 @ 8:20 am

    whatever. the day of ghalib ended with the advent of cable tv anyway.

    Some what true but on the other hand www is keeping it alive. Visit this great site for all your Urdu ghazals cravings

  3. Sajid (unregistered) on August 4th, 2007 @ 12:16 pm

    Englistan say ayi hu, bedford mera naam hai
    dilwala chahiyay, bhaagna mera kaam hai

  4. Adnan Siddiqi (unregistered) on August 4th, 2007 @ 12:55 pm

    HUWI MUDDAT GHALIB mar GAYA par Yaad aata hay
    Wo har ek baat k pa kahna k you Hota tu Kia Hotaa

  5. Bolshevik (unregistered) on August 4th, 2007 @ 5:45 pm


  6. SHAUKAT ALI (unregistered) on August 5th, 2007 @ 6:31 am


    HOW OLD ARE YOU Xill-e-Ilahi?

  7. IUnknown (unregistered) on August 5th, 2007 @ 8:40 am

    no its not like making fun of mother toungue. its comedy poetry or public poetry :D

    Nice snippets are posted by @Zainub.

    @ADnan: Tujhay hum wali samajhtey , jo na bada khuwar hota ;)

  8. MB (unregistered) on August 5th, 2007 @ 9:23 am

    “whatever. the day of ghalib ended with the advent of cable tv anyway”

    I guess its more of transformation/change of medium than a death. As someone rightly pointed out dont you see the poetry is all over internet. And with the advent of websites like and i guess those who have some interest in poetry have finally found a way to satisfy their poetical thirst. In any case isn’t this easy then going to URDU BAZAR to get a poetry book ?

  9. Imran (unregistered) on August 5th, 2007 @ 9:35 am

    Urdu is a living language spoken across continents. I don’t think cable-tv or other media can develop or diminish one’s interest in Urdu (or any language for that matter) unless you’re motivated. So it’s all about one’s interest.

    Yeh kia jagah hai dosto?
    yeh kaun sa dayaar hai?
    Hadh-e-nigah tak jahan
    Ghubar hi ghubaar hai!

    Yeh kis maqaam per Hayaat
    Mujh ko le ke aa gaye?
    Na bas khushi pe hai jahan
    Na gham pe ikhteyaar hai!

    Tamaam umr ka hisaab
    Mangti hai zindagi
    Yeh mera dil kahe to kia
    Ke khud se sharmsaar hai

    Bula raha hai kaun
    Mujh ko chilmanon ke uss taraf
    Mere liye bhi kia koi
    Udaas beqaraar hai!

    ~ Sheheryaar

  10. Tariq Mufti (unregistered) on August 5th, 2007 @ 10:43 am

    Shaakhoon pur ab phool kahan
    kaantey hi kaantey reh gaiey
    dost saarey mar gaey
    ullo key pphattey reh gaiey

  11. xill-e-ilahi (unregistered) on August 5th, 2007 @ 2:57 pm

    munib, i was alluding to the change in culture. its easier to access poetry on the net – if you want to. tragically, most people these days don’t make the effort. and to these people urdu poetry will mean only the stuff that they read off these moving vehicles. and for the record, for old fashioned people like yours truly the book is always a better option than a screen. :)

    shaukat ali, this blog is for people with an intelligence quotient above ten. drop in when you qualify.

  12. shaukat ali (unregistered) on August 6th, 2007 @ 6:56 am

    * this blog is for people with an intelligence quotient above ten

    ROFL.. thx, xill-e-ilahi..

Terms of use | Privacy Policy | Content: Creative Commons | Site and Design © 2009 | Metroblogging ® and Metblogs ® are registered trademarks of Bode Media, Inc.