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Updated: February 15, 2012 15:16 IST

Shahryar (1936-2012): The poet who gave Umrao Jaan her voice

Ziya Us Salam
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Urdu poet Akhlaq Mohammed Khan 'Shahryar' .
Urdu poet Akhlaq Mohammed Khan 'Shahryar' .

Akhlaq Mohammed Khan, better known as Shahryar, who breathed his last in Aligarh on Monday following a prolonged battle with cancer, straddled the worlds of pure and popular poetry with equal ease

Akhlaq Mohammed Khan, better known as Shahryar, who breathed his last in Aligarh on Monday following a prolonged battle with cancer, straddled the worlds of pure and popular poetry with equal ease. As a lyricist, he courted fame and riches with the unforgettable lyrics of Umrao Jaan. As a poet, he catered to connoisseurs of the Urdu language. He served both from his perch at Aligarh Muslim University, where he was a widely respected academic. He did not need to change his address to taste success in Hindi films as filmmakers approached him in Aligarh with their stories. A much sought after name in mushairas – poetic soirees – Shahryar was conferred the Jnanpith award in 2008 and the Sahitya Akademi Award for “Khwab ka Dar Band Hai”.

Shahryar got success on his own terms. Eminent filmmaker Yash Chopra offered him three films after Faasle. However, Shahryar turned down the proposal as he did not want to be reduced to a “song shop” ready with wares according to the demands of the consumer. He preferred leisure and solitude for his work, something he got in Aligarh. In his poetry, he preferred to talk of the pain of the deprived, the social concerns of the man on the street. The feeling came out most aptly in the ghazal, “Seene mein jalan aankhon mein toofan sa kyun hai” which became part of Muzaffar Ali’s film Gaman in 1978.

Ali and Shahryar were friends from the student days. It so happened that Ali was a painter and once Shahryar went to show him some of the ghazals he had composed. Later, when Ali became a filmmaker, he used them in Gaman. They again worked together in Umrao Jaan. Incidentally, Asha Bhonsle got the National Award for rendering the ghazal, “Dil cheez kya hai” in the film.

However, Shahryar almost did not become a poet. In his younger days, he wanted to be an athlete. His father wanted him to join the police. Shahryar, though, ran away from his home and honed his craft under the watchful eye of Khalil-ur Rehman. To earn a living, he ended up teaching Urdu fiction in AMU, from where he retired as chairman of the Department of Urdu. He never taught poetry in the university as he believed poetry could never be taught. His first poetry collection, Ism-e-Azam was released in 1965 and he used to co-edit a literary journal Sher-o-Hikmat. He also composed songs for Ali’s forthcoming project Noorjehan.

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Respectful farewell to Akhlaq Mohammed Khan Shahryar.

from:  Dr.Cajetan Coelho
Posted on: Feb 16, 2012 at 02:02 IST

great loss indead.old charm lost.

from:  suleman daresalaam
Posted on: Feb 15, 2012 at 20:56 IST

“Seene mein jalan aankhon mein toofan sa kyun hai”
kya koi nai baat nazar atee hia hum
ayina hume dekh kar hairan sa kyoin hai
Shahyar saab ko dekh kar
Duniya bhi hairan ho gayi hai
May his soul rest in peace

from:  satyasrinivas
Posted on: Feb 15, 2012 at 20:06 IST

“Seene mein jalan aankhon mein toofan sa kyun hai”
kya koi nai baat nazar atee hia hum
ayina hume dekh kar hairan sa kyoin hai
Shahyar saab ko dekh kar
Duniya bhi hairan ho gayi hai
May his soul rest in peace

from:  satyasrinivas
Posted on: Feb 15, 2012 at 20:05 IST

He was a great poet and good,father,good husband,in last best human for
our society .We lost a dynamic personality .

from:  Wajid
Posted on: Feb 15, 2012 at 17:02 IST

Really a great loss of urdu as well as entire literary community,we admire him a lot as poet,human hockey player,and a dashing personality .he influenced many people by his atitude and style. we salute shaher yar saheb for his comitment an devoion. alvida

from:  TUQEER ZIA
Posted on: Feb 15, 2012 at 16:51 IST

hazaroon saal nargis apni benoori pe rooti hai... badi mushkil se hota hai chaman me deedawar paida... irrecoverable loss.. may allah rest the soul in heaven.. ameen... aasia{j&k}

from:  aasia
Posted on: Feb 15, 2012 at 16:04 IST

Is anjuman me aapko aana hai baar baar,
Deewar-o-dar ko gaur se pachan lyjye !

This is a great loss for us. Shahryar Sahab has always been a bridge between Hindi and urdu poetry. He is equally loveable to hindi and urdu poetry lovers.

from:  Munna Kumar Yadav
Posted on: Feb 15, 2012 at 12:08 IST

A great loss to the world of 'Shayaris'...
Sir, You will be remembered by 'Dil cheez kya hai....'

from:  Sindhu
Posted on: Feb 15, 2012 at 10:37 IST

Indeed, a great loss.

from:  Akbar Nawab
Posted on: Feb 15, 2012 at 09:33 IST

There will be, can be another, only like him,the finest Urdu poet of our times.His ability to translate emotions with such dignity and fine balance will remain unique.I hope a scholarship or an award can be set in his honor as a mark of his contribution of Urdu and building of bridges.

from:  Amnah Khalid
Posted on: Feb 15, 2012 at 07:26 IST

i love sheharyar ghazals... he was a legend... he worte awesome poetry which brings true feelings... justajoo jis kee thee us ko to naa paayaa hum ne
is bahaane se magar dekh lee duniyaan hum ne
tujh ko rusawaa naa kiyaa, khud bhee pashemaan n huye
ishk kee rasm ko, is tarah nibhaayaa hum ne
kab milee thee, kahaa bichhadee thee, humei yaad nahee
jindagee tuz ko to bas khwaab mein dekhaa hum ne
aye adaa aaur sunaaye bhee to kyaa haal apanaa
umar kaa lanbaa safar, tay kiyaa tanahaa hum ne

from:  javed iqbal
Posted on: Feb 15, 2012 at 04:34 IST

It is the stature of your newspaper that you cover all the news which
is literary for the subcontinant without prejudice.It is sad that
such a person has passed away.

from:  syed abdurrab
Posted on: Feb 15, 2012 at 02:49 IST

Ccontribution made by him must be recognised and remembered by our great & proud secular Nation.Shahryar Ji, a wonderful person and great soul, definitely deserves a National Award. His works shall always remain immortal. An unbearable loss to the entire Nation - I pray for his soul to rest in peace

from:  AK Lall
Posted on: Feb 15, 2012 at 00:06 IST

what a great loss ! May his soul rest in peace.
Bhatak rahi thi jo kashti wo Gaqr-e-aab hui
chadha hua tha jo dariya utar gaya yaaro
Wo kaun tha wo kahan ka tha kya hua tha use
Suna hai aaj koi shaKhs mar gaya yaaro...

from:  Amalendu
Posted on: Feb 14, 2012 at 23:31 IST

Urdu is a rich Indian language with excellent literature. It pains me to see its gradual demise in India. We should re-introduce it widely as a 3rd language at school-level. Who will take the mantle after urdu poets like Javed Akhtar, for example.

from:  Irfan
Posted on: Feb 14, 2012 at 23:25 IST

by listing his ghazals in films, you can immediately sense who is writer.

from:  DD SHARMA
Posted on: Feb 14, 2012 at 22:48 IST

He was a great poet of modern era.After Faiz Faraz.He wrote all in one sentence Dil cheez kya hai aap meri jaan leejea.

from:  Dr Shakil jazan KSA
Posted on: Feb 14, 2012 at 22:07 IST

a great loss to us (aligarians),allah unhen jannat ata kare aur unke
gharwalon ko sabreazeem ameen

from:  m.hasnain
Posted on: Feb 14, 2012 at 21:31 IST

“Seene mein jalan aankhon mein toofan sa kyun hai” remains my favorite Ghazal. What a loss, may God bless his soul.

from:  Peeyush Chaudhary
Posted on: Feb 14, 2012 at 21:21 IST

a,real loss for poetry.he was a lycal thinker

from:  kirti nath tiwari
Posted on: Feb 14, 2012 at 21:07 IST

Great loss indeed. It is hard to imagine such poetic grace and feeling
that we have seen in Umrao Jaan will be reproduced in these "modern"
times.The poetic and literary quality of today's music is a far cry from
songs of those days.

from:  ravi
Posted on: Feb 14, 2012 at 20:43 IST

@shahryar
lahoo luhan sabhi kar rahe hain sooraj ko
kisi ko khauf yahan raat ka nahi hai kya

a wonderfull couplet of the legendry poet "shahryar".

from:  tabish naqvi
Posted on: Feb 14, 2012 at 20:43 IST

Indeed a great loss, for the entire culture. Not so long ago we all appreciated the hit poetry and music of Umrao Jaan (the older movie), now everyone is reduced to the Kolaveri level of gibberish. Sad times.

from:  SS
Posted on: Feb 14, 2012 at 20:42 IST

a great loss for the literary world.
i have listened him many times as he attended annual functions of several AMU hostels. he was so down to earth and warm-hearted.

from:  ariz
Posted on: Feb 14, 2012 at 19:46 IST

Quality of litrature will detoriate slowly in the years to come and quality of art will improve. Can we have a poet like Shaharyar from present or future generation very difficult to say.

from:  S P Sharma
Posted on: Feb 14, 2012 at 19:14 IST

I have seen Umrao Jaan many times (if I get a chance I will see it again) not only for the acting of the famous artistes but for Dil ky cheez hai and the last song "eh kon sa jagah... Superb and always to be remembered where family members except the mother refuse to recognise her

from:  Mani Iyer
Posted on: Feb 14, 2012 at 18:49 IST
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