Majaz ka ek latifa tallafuz pe

(At the onset, I ask the apologies of people of Hyderabad (Dakkan) for their inclusion in this anecdote, in a manner that is not very complementary)

I came across this anecdote involving Majaz, which I feel has to to be featured by itself for more effect. Not only does it focus on the perils of mispronouncing Urdu words, it also displays a typical Lakhnavi response. I do honestly promise I will provide an explanation at the end.

Hyderabad Dakkan mein “Qaf” (Q for English-speakers) ki jagah aam taur par log “Khe” (Kh for them only) bolte hain.
Kisi Hyderabadi ne Majaz ko ek dawat par madu karte hue kaha: “Majaz sahab! Kal meri azizah ki takhreeb (when he hopefully meant (Taqreeb) hai. Ghareeb khane par tashreef layen.”
ne khauf-zada ho kar jawab diya-
“Nahin sahab. Mujhe se yeh dardnak manzar nahi dekha ja sakega.”

Now, I can hear the clamour for explanations. It is a proverbial mistake to analyse a joke but what can be done. Though the word ‘Takhreeb’ sounds virtually similar to ‘Taqreeb’ as far as pronounciation is concerned, the meanings of the two are vastly divergent as you will appreciate.  ‘Taqreeb’ means a festival or in this case, a celebration. On the other hand, ‘Takhreeb’ means ujarhna  ya barbaadi or plunder or devastation. So then one can understand Majaz’s look of horror and his unwillingness to witness such a gory spectacle…. going by the pronounciation of the ostensibly earnest gentleman of Hyderabad, who thought he had courteously tendered Majaz an invitation to a feast.


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