RMIM Archive Article "353".
From the RMIM Article Archive maintained by Satish Subramanian
# RMIM Archives..
# Subject: Maqdoom Muhiuddin
# Posted by: Surajit A. Bose (firstname.lastname@example.org)
# Source: [Deccan Chronicle] June 22, 1997
From the RMIM Article Archive maintained by Satish Subramanian
Here is an article on Maqdoom Muhiuddin, poet and lyricist. The poems
of his which have been used in films include "jaanevaale sipaahii se
puuchho," beautifully rendered by Manna De and Sabita Chaudhuri for
Salil in USNE KAHA THA; "phir chhiDii raat baat phuulo.n kii" by Lata
and Talat Aziz for Khayyam in BAZAAR; and, if I remember correctly,
"aap ki yaad aatii rahii raat bhar" by Chhaya Ganguli for Jaidev in
[Deccan Chronicle] June 22, 1997
Maqdoom's pen was his sword
Hayath leke chalo, kayanath leke chalo Chalo to sare zamane ko saath
On February 3, 1908, in a small village in Medak district, Abu Sayeed
Mohammed Maqdoom Muhiuddin Qadri was born. The fields, the waters and
the beauty of the countryside found a rhythmic resonance in Maqdoom's
heart. The Telangana woman who is baanki (attractive) and happy in her
hut inspired him to write poems.
Most of the poems of his early romantic period are set in the
countryside, notably Toor (Mount of Vision), Telangan (Telugu woman),
Jawani (Youth), Yaad Hai (I still remember) and many others from the
collection Surq Savera (The Red Dawn).
Telangana continued to haunt his work in various guises and lent to it
many of its typical characters and physical imagery.
Raat bhar deeda-e-nam taak me lehrate rahe Saans ki tarha se aap aate
rahe jate rahe
All night your image flickered in my tearful eyes All night, you came
and went, like my breath.
Maqdoom in his compilation of poetry Bisat-i-Raqs (The Dance Floor)
says that the poet in his creative journey changes himself as he
absorbs the world around him. He travelled a long way from Surq Savera
(The Red Dawn) to Bisat-e-Raqs (The Dance Floor), from romantic to
realistic and revolutionary poetry. The images, symbols and metaphors
changed from the countryside to an essentially urban repertoire: Toor
(The Mount of Vision) to Sipahi (Soldier), Pichle Paher Ke Chand Se
(Late Night Moon) to Sannata (Desolation).
He was not alone on his way to revolution. He took the masses with
him, the Kayanath (Universe) with him, the Zamana (The Age) with him.
His poetry was not his voice alone, it was the era, the revolutionary
period of Hyderabad when the peasant revolt was at its height in
Woh ek shaqs tha zamana tha ke deevana bana
He was the man, the world was crazy about.
This is the essential truth of his life. All college students, the
school-going boys and girls used to admire Maqdoom ^W the darling of
Hyderabadis. Wherever he went, whomever he talked to, he would infect
them with his joyous nature. He was a teacher at City College, who
was a genius and yet simple and modest. In the classroom, the students
would not allow him to teach and instead insisted on his reciting his
own poetry. As a Communist leader, he had the masses behind him; as a
poet, in a mushaira he had the audience spellbound, who would
constantly ask for encores: 'Mukkarrar irshad'.
Maqdoom's pen was his sword but he never fought for himself, and
always for others. No house of his own, no property, he lived in the
hearts of the people of Telangana.
The beauty of life lies in sharing it with others. He shared the
sorrows, the poverty, the problems of his people and used his words
and images to express them.
His earlier poetry was conventional in metre and rhyme. Later he
changed his style and expressed himself in free verse.
The poet lives in time and space. But moves beyond it to become
eternal. With the social change, comes the change in thinking, feeling
and emotions. The poet cannot be isolated from society and more so a
poet like Maqdoom who served Telangana till his last breath.
A man of brownish complexion, not very tall but very lively, he
suddenly died of heart attack on August 25, 1969, when he was in
Delhi, away from his people.
All Hyderabadis heard of his death on the radio (no TV then). As he
was brought back, the streets of Hyderabad overflowed with the
Telangana public. No political leader, no poet in Hyderabad must have
received such affection and adoration from the masses.
Maqdoom rebelled against the Nizam, against landlords, against the
Razakars. Here was a poet for the people, of the people. Maqdoom was
the most renowned Hyderabadi poet of his time who spent thirty years
of his creative life exploring his own vision of man and society
through his poems.
His allegories Baaghi and Saagar Ke Kinare were as melodious as his
love poems. Chara Gar and Aaj Ki Raat Na Ja, in which one can see the
chemistry of love and passion and the heartbeat of lovers is much
louder and obvious.
This doesn't mean that there was no dard (pathos) in his work. One
cannot conceive of poetry without dard. His poems Sannata
(desolation), Martin Luther King, Ehsaas ki Raat (The Night of
Feeling), Chup na Raho and his ghazals convey the profound
understanding the poet had of the suffering humanity. He carefully
made note of the social reality which became the starting point of his
quest, his quest for justice and equality.
The tragedy of a farmer's existence or a soldier's sacrifice caused
him great anguish. Many poems in the three collections Surq Savera,
Gule Tar (Dew-drenched Rose) and Bisat-e-Raqs convey the image of a
poet drunk with the agony and suffering of living. A feeling of revolt
rises from his heart as he tries to get rid of this sannata
The darkness of night is a recurring image in his poetry. In Raat ke
Bara Baje (Midnight) he wanders in the dark of the night and tries to
find his way.
But the poet is optimistic, since he knows that he has found truth by
dissolving himself totally in reality. For him Waqt was Bedard Masiha
(Time, the cruel Messiah):
Qabr se utth ke nikal aaye mulaqat ki shaam
Death comes out of the grave to make it a beautiful evening.
He knew that mundane life offers him nothing and that Ek hum ke aarzoo
ka sahara bane rahe, he alone was the hope and yearning of the people.
He knew that it is the destiny of the common man which caused him to
wander, wishing for nothing, abandoning all quest.
He was always longing for a happy life, but in fact this facet is only
one of the many sides of the complex prism that made up Maqdoom's
And one wonders why poets like Shiv K Kumar (barring a few poems),
Agha Shahid Ali or Hoshang Merchant never thought of translating
Maqdoom into English.