Hyderabad: Noted poet, Rahat Indori, who passed away on August 11th, was a show stealer at mushairas. People just hung around to listen to him whatever the time of the night. Of course he was the last shayer to come on to the stage and recite his poems. Concert organisers knew if he was invited earlier none in the audience would remain to hear other poets.

A live wire performer, Rahat Indori was equally popular among people of all age groups. His reputation knew no bounds and he was a big draw abroad. Mushairas were considered incomplete without his presence. Essentially a poet of love, he captured the romantic sentiments with a touch of finesse. He excelled in all genres of Urdu poetry be it nazm, ghazal or qat'a. Rahat Indori also penned iconic lyrics for a few Hindi movies. What was unique about him was his unique style of recital. His poetry was straight from the heart and no wonder it left the audience asking for more. Sample these verses:

Kis ne dastak di a dil par, kaun hai

Aap to andar hain, bahar kaun hai

Razz jo kutch ho isharon mein bata bhi dena

Haat jab usse milana to daba bhi dena

Kabhi dimag, kabhi dil, kabhi nazar mein raho

Ye sab tumahre hi ghar hain, kishi bhi ghar mein raho

A peoples poet, Rahat Indori was alive to the day to day happenings. Nothing escaped his keen observation. Social injustice, political doublespeak, plight of marginalised sections - everything figured in his poetry. In recent times he turned to poetry of protest and wrote against the controversial CAA/NRC. On the eve of the Republic Day this year, the celebrated poet came to Hyderabad and took part in a mushaira organised by the Alliance Against CAA and NRC. He recited his hugely popular ghazal and received standing ovation for this verse:

Sabhi ka khoon shamil hai yehan ki mitti mein

Kisi ke baap ka Hindustan thodi hai

What endears Rahat Indori to the people is his fearless and outspoken way of saying things. His poetry was vibrant and reflected the everyday concerns of the common man. Interestingly, he himself twitted about his testing positive for Covid-19 and hoped to defeat the disease. But fate willed otherwise. That he did not fear death was clear from his own verses which he wrote some time back. He said:

A saneh to kisi din guzarne wala tha

Mai bach bhi jata to ek roz marne wala tha

In another couplet he says how death turned him a zamindar.

Do gaz sahi magar ye meri milkiat to hai

Aye maut tu ne mujh ko zamindar kar diya

J.S. Ifthekhar

J.S. Ifthekhar is a senior journalist with nearly four decades of experience. Ifthekhar cut his teeth in journalism at the Indian Express before he moved to The Hindu. He was also associated with the Siasat Daily, Telangana Today, Deccan Chronicle, Onlooker magazine, Newstrack, Detective Digest and a few news agencies. He has written on different subjects and aspects of Hyderabadi life. However, his passion remains literature in general and Urdu poetry in particular. He is equally concerned with culture, heritage, civic affairs and problems confronting the man in the street. As a journalist he has taken up cudgels on behalf of the underprivileged and many of his stories in The Hindu saw the government promptly taking corrective measures. Ifthekhar has authored two books - Hyderabad - The Nawabi City on The Move and Haj - The Spirit Behind it. He has also translated two books from Urdu to English. His third book - Urdu Poets and Writers , Gems of Deccan  - is just released. Loves to write and writes to live. Can't imagine doing anything else.

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