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.
Toh auron pe zulm dhaaoon
Toh auron ke zulm jheloon
Tujh ko naaz hai apni munsifi* par
Zara sunoon main
Ke aaj kya tera faisla hai
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
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
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
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.