Thursday, June 17, 2004

ASAD [4] contd...

[(c) U.V. Ravindra]

The measure of the popularity of a language is how many people use it. English is very popular amongst Indian teenagers today. If you listen to a conversation between two 'Hindi-speaking' teenagers, you may well be struck by the number of 'foreign' words they use! They might say, "मेरे दादाजी को heart में pain होता है" using 'heart' and 'pain' instead of दिल and दर्द which are Hindi words. But wait! Did you know that dil and dard themselves are 'foreign' words? They are Persian (फ़ारसी) in origin! But nobody can say today that they are not part of Hindi. Indeed, which of these two phrases do you think is heard more often: दिल का दर्द, हृदय की पीड़ा. Case closed!

Likewise, one measure of the greatness of a sh'er is how many people know of it, use it, or quote it. Some sh'ers or parts of them are so popular that everyone from a learned Urdu scholar to a road-side rickshaw-wallah can be heard using them ... without realizing for a moment that it could have been a talented shaa'ir who first said those words.

Since we are on the topic of Ustad Zauq, I thought it wouldn't be out of place if I, UVR, made a brief interjection into Abhay's series to mention one such popular, common parlance sh'er by him which uses many 'foreign' words.

ऐ ज़ौक़! देख, दुख़्तर-ए-रज़ को न मुँह लगा
छुटती नहीं है मुँह से ये काफ़िर लगी हुई
ai 'Zauq'! dekh, duKhtar-e-raz ko na muNh lagaa
chhuTti naheeN hai muNh se yeh kaafir lagi hui

दुख़्तर, duKhtar = daughter (observe the similarity in the two words!)
रज़, raz = vine
दुख़्तर-ए-रज़ = अंगूर की बेटी = शराब
duKhtar-e-raz = daughter of the vine = wine

angoor ki beTi is, of course, a 'foreign' phrase that has become common lingo, but isn't it interesting to note the origin of "chhuTti naheeN hai muNh se ... lagi hui"? It is also so common that we don't think that it might have been part of a sh'er by some great shaa'ir!

Now we realize why Zauq was called 'ustad'!

ASAD _also_ stands for "A Sher A Day"


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