Opinion

Remembering Faiz's poetry in times of bulldozer governance and right-wing brigades' arms training camps

Last week news reports focused on Right-Wing brigades holding arms training camp in Karnataka. This is not the first time there’s been such a blatant display of arms and training of the young

Last week news reports focused on Right-Wing brigades holding arms training camp in Karnataka. This is not the first time there’s been such a blatant display of arms and training of the young. Almost five years back, news-reports had detailed that VHP and Bajrang Dal were holding arms training camps in Uttar Pradesh’s Greater Noida, Varanasi, and in several other locales, where the young were getting trained to attack the ‘enemy’- dummies of skull capped men! Yet no arrests of the organisers and promoters of those camps!

The under lying relaying-factor is that in today’s governance, two sets of rules prevail. The Right-Wing factions and brigades and outfits are openly defying the traditional law and order system. But they are not arrested, nor is any action taken against them, as though they are being encouraged to hold many more such arms training camps.

Then this rumour too is gaining momentum that Lucknow could see a change in name. One really wishes the Right-Wing obsession with the name change gimmick ends. Plucking off the traditional names. Planting new names to further the chaos unleashed by bizarre governance tactics. Surely the rulers of the day can do better than just hacking names of our cities and villages and roads! Please spare them!

And if these Right-Wing politicians have their way, they would want the name of Ahmedabad to be changed to Karnavati, Bhopal to Bhojpal, Aurangabad to Sambhaji Nagar, Patna to Patliputra, Hyderabad to Bhagyanagar, Goa to Govapuri, Kerala to Keralam, Nagaland to Naganchi…and this name changing obsession would carry on till this Right-Wing government remains in power. Needless to add this will wreck the already dented and damaged system. This change of names should be halted right now, before we reach the dead end, before we are at a loss to figure out just about where we are!

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What if Razia Sultan was still ruling Delhi!

Reading, rather re-reading, verse after verse on the erstwhile ruler of Delhi, Razia Sultan, in the backdrop of the bulldozers moving about in the different localities and mohallas of Delhi. What if she was still ruling here, in the capital city? Would she have sat in one of those offices and not moved out to protect her citizens?

She’d be out there, fighting for the rights of her citizens! Yes, she was a brave courageous ruler who ruled Delhi centuries back but to this day she is remembered!

In fact, today’s modern day poets have been writing verse after verse on her, on her courage, and her brilliant moves. Here I am quoting verse on her, from Bushra Alvi Razzack edited anthology -‘Dilliwali - Celebrating The Woman Of Delhi Through Poetry – A Multilingual Anthology’:

These lines of Aabha Vatsa, from her poem- Mallika Delhi: Razia Sultan –

“Razia Sultan, the darling daughter/

Of Iltutmish, the Sultan of Delhi/

Was born with a meteoric destiny/

That blazed Medieval India. /

Her reign of less than four years/

A torch bearer/

Not just for women of the contemporary world/

But as long as life exists/

Razia/

No Sultana/

But the Supreme Sultan herself/

Grew up as a princess/

Regal and beautiful/

Totally aware of the destiny/

That Allah had bestowed on her…”

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And this verse of poet Rajesh Joshi, titled – Razia Sultan:

“Though soft at heart/

Melting at a glance/

Of that big black man, Altunia/

A slave /

And she a princess/

She was a woman of substance/

Razia Sultan/

Reigning her rule over Delhi/

The first ever Muslim woman ruler/

Surpassing her two brothers/

In matters of mind /

In matters of might /

Holding the sword in her young hands /

Dropping off the veil/

And donning the garb of a man/

Refusing to be called Sultana/

Just the wife of a king/

Sultan herself was she/

Fighting till the end/

Never surrendering/

Though soft was she at heart/

To fall in love/

To look into the sorrows of her people/

Yet strong enough/

To be remembered till day/

The Razia Sultan/

Not only ruling over the sultanate of Delhi/

But the heart of people too.”

And also these lines of poet Abhay K.:

“ Razia Sultan/

Queen and king fused in one/

As Ardhnarishwar- Parvati and Shiva/

I ruled the court dominated by men/

With my seductive charm/

As a tigress/

Gently turning the wheel of time/

Delhi eagerly awaits my return/

To rescue her women/

Raped in moving vehicles/

To answer their distress calls.”

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Faiz Ahmed Faiz's 'Heart Attack':

With heart aches and pains and attacks increasing by the day in these bulldozer times, leaving you with these lines of Faiz Ahmed Faiz, from the volume, 'The Best of Faiz’ (translated by Shiv K Kumar) :

'Pain so intense that night, my savage heart/

wanted to grapple with every artery /

and drip from every pore /

and out there, as though in your courtyard /

each leaf ,bathed in my despondent blood /

began to look pale in the moonlight /

In my body's desert places, it seemed /

As if, all the fibres of my wincing veins, undone /

Began shooting out signals, ceaselessly /

preparations for the departure of love's caravan/

And when in memory's fading light /

There emerged somewhere before the eye /

one last moment of your love's kindness /

the pain was so lacerating that/

it ventured to overstep the moment/

I too willed to hold on to it

But the heart would not agree…"

Views are personal

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