On his 73rd birthday today, we want to take you on a journey through his best works. We decided to dig up for his non mainstream poetries so you can revel in the genius we call Javed Akhtar.

Javed Akhtar is a man of many talents. A renowned poet, writer and lyricist, his work needs no introduction. And even given the fact that Javedji has been a part of numerous controversies till date, we cant help but admire the man’s wit and charm when it comes to standing up for what he believes in. He has also addressed at Harvard, Oxford,Cambridge, Berkeley and University of London and many such prestigious institutions as a keynote speaker.

 In 1995, Urdu poetry received an unexpected gift in the shape of Javed Akhtar’s collection of poems titled Tarkash (Quiver). Each poem in Tarkash was a wondrous joy and an exquisite pain. Aptly called ‘the arrows of poetic quiver’, most shared here are from this remarkable piece of work.

Chaloon,

Toh auron pe zulm dhaaoon

Rukoon

Toh auron ke zulm jheloon

Zameer

Tujh ko naaz hai apni munsifi* par

Zara sunoon main

Ke aaj kya tera faisla hai

*munsifi: judgement

The protagonist of this poem has to decide between being jostled and thrown around in a crowd or stamping ahead, walking over anyone who comes in his way.

Uske ek haath mein hai jeet uski

Doosre haath mein tanhaai hai

These lines describe the pain of a man who experiences the power as well as its alienating effects from his friends and foe alike.

Mujh ko ikraar hai

Ki maine ek din

Khud ko nilaam kiya

Aur raazi- ba razaa

Sar-e bazaar sar-e aam kiya

Mujh ko keemat bhi bahut khoob mili thi lekin

Main ne saude mein khayaanat* kar li

Kuch khwaab bachakar jo Rakhe

*khayaanat: dishonesty

Akhtar’s hero in this poem is is forced to peddle even his own dreams. These lines painfully describe how he holds onto little shreds of his life.

Main qatl toh ho gaya tumhari galli mein, lekin

Mere lahu se tumhari ghar ki deewarein gal rahi hai.

The rebel in these lines is reminding the society that even though his sacrifices are unsung and rendered inconsequential his soul has gained what it set out to achieve.

Laakh ho hum mein pyaar ki baatein

Ye ladaai hamesha chalti hai

Us ke ek dost se main jalta hoon

meri ek dost se woh jalti hai

Lovers in this poem are in an insecured zone, where they share uncertain futures as well as possessiveness for each other.

What is this thing that goes on without pause?

If it did not pass

Then where could it have been?

Is there a world beyond that

Is there a sky

If there is nothing

Then how far does this nothing extend

These lines are from Waqt, Kainat, Aansoo, Yeh Khel Kya Hai? where he creates an avalanche of questions around time, its existence and its true relevance in our life.

I have always sold my sorrow

For a good price

But

The sorrow I have got today

I cannot display it on any counter

For the first time I am ashamed

This sorrow I shall not be able to sell

These lines from Akhtar’s Banjara are brimful of sadness that even cynicism can’t hide.

Perhaps I should forget you

This is now the proper thing to do

But even if I wish to erase you from my mind

How can I forget?

After all you are real

Not just a dream

What can I say

About this wretched heart

That could never forget

The rapport that never was

That idea, that one idea

Which was never expressed

That word, that one word

Which I could not say to you

That relationship

Which never existed between you and me

I remember all those things

Which never happened

These lines from ‘Dilemma’, need no explanation.

This spectacular body of work is sure to leave us wondering about the world around us. Leaving you with this beautiful nazm recited by the master himself.

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