Ek bhoola hua ‘khitaab’/A forgotten epithet

Haali mein mujhe apne yaad ke benishaan jaziron se kuch ajeeb-o-ghareeb khayalat aaye/In the last few days, from the forgotten and unmapped isles of my brain, a strange memory resurfaced. Kya ittefaq tha… main ke kitaab dekh raha jise haasil karne ka iraada ban raha tha aur us mein ek lafz mila, jise padhte hi ‘school’ aur university ke din aur aapne ustaad yaad aa gaye/What a coincidence it was… I was browsing through a book I intended to buy when I came on a particular term in it and magically, my thoughts returned to my days in  school and university and all my teachers of the time.

Woh lafz ek khitaab tha jo kam se kam mujhe yaad hai do ustaadon ne istemaal kiya bhale kisi aur ke liye lekin maine bhi suna tha aur zehn mein – khoya sahi – maujud tha/That word was an epithet I can clearly remember at least two teachers using though not on me but in my presence and it has lingered – though buried – on in my memory.

Woh lafz tha “Lur”/The word was “Lur”. Mujhe yaad hain St Francis mein Saxena sahaab aur Lakhnau university mein Dr. A.P Singh (MilSc) use kisi na kisi pe istemaal karte hue – jabke Saxena ji – jinhe hamare se saalon pehle log PP bulaate the – use Lakhnavi andaaz mein istemaal karte hue: “Ama, aap lur hai” aur jahan tak Singh sahab ka sawaal tha, unka zara talaffuz sahi nahi tha aur unse woh “Lul” ban jaata/and I remember Mr Saxena of St Francis and Dr A.P.Singh of Lucknow University’s MilSc department using it – for Mr Saxena, the chemistry teacher – who generations before us used to call PP (but that elsewhere and later) – used in the characteristic Lucknow style: “Ama, aap lur hain” (Ama = Usual word used by a typical Lucknow resident at the beginning of any sentence, you (polite form) are a Lur” and as far as Dr Singh, who had a slight speech impediment, is concerned, it came out as “Lul”.

Lekin Lur ke maane kya hote hai? Mujhe to pata chal gaya lekin mein janna chahta ke kitne jaana hua lafz tha/However, what is a Lur? I had found  the meaning, but I wanted to know how widespread and well-known it was. Maine kaafi logon se pucha – har ilaake ke se. Aath mein se do ne suna hua – aur ek is mein Lakhnau ke hi the aur doosre maghribi Uttar Pradesh se taaluk rakhte the – aur teesre ko pehchane laga… lekin maane kisi kop nahi pata tha. Hindustan ke baaqi hisse so logon ne to kabhi suna bhi nahi tha/ I asked quite a few people about the word. Out of eight people, I asked, two of them – one from Lucknow and another from Western Uttar Pradesh had heard it – and a third termed it familiar…. however, nobody knew the meaning. The others from various parts of India had never even heard it.

To yeh Lakhnavi lafz tha/This was a Lakhnavi word.

Lur Faras ke Lorestan subeh ke logon ko kaha jaata hain. Hulagu Khan ki ahd se inhe kisi wajah se bewaquf aur vehshi maana jata tha aur dekhiye saat sau saalon ke baad bhi yeh pamaal – jo Mughlai ahd mein Hindustan mein aane waale Farsion ke saath aaya hoga – zindah hain/Lur basically denotes the inhabitants of Lorestan province of Iran. In the time of Hulagu Khan, they had been characterised as foolish and wild and it is incredible that this stereotype – possibly brought to India by the Persians who came to serve in the Mughal court and so on – still persists after seven hundred years and more.

Lekin kitno ya yaad hai/However, how many people remember these things?

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