Dabistan-e-Lakhnau ke kuch namoone #9: Insha

In this installment, we come to Syed Inshallah Khan Insha – a multi-facetted genius. Not only was he a consumate shair, he was excelled in ‘rekhti’ – a genre much frowned upon by purists but enjoyable none the less. (For those who would puzzle over it, I’ll be forthcoming enough – it is a form of poetry purporting to be written by women and using a peculiar idiom. Along with Insha, his cronies like Rangeen and  Jurrat were also into it. Other practitioners included Jaan Sahab.)

Insha was also responsible for the Darya-e-Latafat, the first-ever book on grammar of Urdu, which also contained a masterful analysis of the different dialects, regional variations in usages and the like of the language. He was also a master of languages other then Urdu, writing Rani Ketaki Ki Kahani,  in which there is no single word of Urdu, Persian or Arabic – an astounding feat for the early 19th century. He also excelled in bi-lingual shers, like this one.

Dil ko jab se darya-e-hayat mein daala
“Tawaqqul tu allalahi ta aala!”

 

Returning to his craft. This is one of his most well-known ghazals. 

Kamar baandhe huye chalne pe yaan sab yaar baithe hai
Bahut aage gaye, baaqi jo hain tayyaar baithe hai

Na chhed ae nikhat baad-e-bahaari, raah lag apni
Tujhe athkheliyan soojhi hai, ham bezaar baithe hai

Khayaal un ka padhe hai arsh-e-azam se kahin saaqi
Garaz kuch aur dhun mein is ghadi maikhvaar baithe hai

Basaane naqsh-e-paa-e-raharavan kuu-e-tamanna mein
Nahi uthne ki taaqat kya karen lachaar baithe hai

Kahen hai sabr kis ko aah nang-o-naam hai kya shai
Garaz ro peetkar in sab ko ham yakabaar baithe hai

Kahin bos ki mat jurrat dila! kar baithyo un se
Abhi is had ko wo kaifi nahi hoshiyaar baithe hai

Najeebon ka ajab kuchh haal hai is daur mein yaaron
Jise poocho yahi kahte hai ham bekaar baithe hai

Nai yah vaza sharmaane ki seekhi aaj hai tum ne
Hamare paas sahab varna yun sau baar baithe hai

Kahan gardish falak ki chain deti hai sunaa ‘Insha’
Ganimat hai ki ham-soorat yahan do char baithe hai

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