The pulse and impulse of harmony

The pulse and impulse of harmony

A loving heart and a sensible mind that always cared for the humanity and believed man is above all religions, a soulful poet Muktidaa Hasan Nida...

Renowned poet and lyricist Nida Fazli, 78, passed away on February 8, leaving behind a great treasure trove of literature behind. Although the stalwart has left this world, his works will always remain in the hearts of the people and his legacy lives on

A loving heart and a sensible mind that always cared for the humanity and believed man is above all religions, a soulful poet Muktidaa Hasan Nida Fazli known as Nida Fazli was a unique man. Born into a Kashmiri family in Delhi in 1938 and brought up in Gwalior, from where he completed his studies in English literature. His father was also an Urdu poet. Nida was against the partition of India and did not migrate along with his parents to Pakistan but stayed back in India.

He came to Mumbai in 1964 in search of a job. His spontaneity of language and expression gave him an opportunity to contribute to the journals Dhamayug and Blitz. Kamal Amrohi gave him the first break in his film ‘Razia Sultana’ in 1983 as the writer of the film Jan Nisar Akhtar (Javed Akhtar’s father and friend of Nida) had suddenly passed away and there were two more songs and dialogues to be written. Nida’s work received great applause and he went on to make a successful career in Hindi films.

His songs and ghazals were used in some of the films and became very popular. “Hosh waalon ko khabar kyaa” (‘Sarfarosh’), “Tu is tarah se mere zindagi me shaamil ho” (‘Aap To Aise Na The’) were chartbusters among many others.

He was very popular as ghazal singer and was always invited to all mushairas. The imagery in his poetry and ghazals was non-cliché and he always had a fresh expression which attracted the audience. Fazli wrote a book on all the poets of sixties including Kaifi Azmi, Sahir Ludhianwi and so on in a book ‘Mulaqathein’ for which he was boycotted for some time in the field of literature for his candid and critical analysis. Nida was the only man who kept a very low profile in spite of being a successful Hindi film writer.

He derived inspiration not only from Urdu poets like Mirza Ghalib and Mir but also from Mira and Kabir. He started penning poesy for the first time when he heard a bhajan of Surdas sung by a lady, and that was about Radha pouring out her woes to her maids in her yearning for Lord Krishna. This sensitive and soul rendering bhajan brought him into poetry and he often quoted Mirza Ghalib and Kabir.

Finding Urdu poetry to be in limited confines, he chose to express himself in a more elaborate and refined way in Hindi and Urdu. He enhanced his knowledge of modern expression reading T S Eliot, Gogol, and Chekov who were his favorite writers.

Nida Fazli felt poetry was the urge of the soul to express. He felt penning lyrics for the films was not a big job. It was easy for him to write as to please the filmmakers and the audience. Realising the importance money he worked for the films. Recently, he wrote a few columns for the BBC Hindi website too.

He was a man of various moods and always used his words to better the world. His philosophy was that of the Sufis about the existence of man. In a poem he asks:

“Mandiro me bhajan, masjidon me azan,
Aadmee hai kahaa?
Aadmee ke liye ek taaza ghazal
Jo hua so hua” (from ‘Khoya Hua Sa Kuch).

His first anthology of poetry was published in 1969 and in 1998, he received Sahitya Akademi Award in Urdu for his poetry book ‘Khoya Hua Sa Kuch’. In 2003, he received the Star Screen Award for Best Lyricist for the film ‘Sur’. He was honoured with Padma Sri in 2013 and National Harmony Award for writing on communal harmony.

Nida was always against the communal riots. He had to stay away from his home for safety when some groups attacked his home after the Babri Masjid incident. There were some more times he had to face the brunt of the radicals, but he never left India. He has 24 books to his credit in Urdu, Hindi and Gujarati. Some of his books were assigned to school textbooks in Maharashtra.

He received the Mir Taqi Mir Award for his autobiographical novel ‘Deewaron Ke Beech’ from the government of Madhya Pradesh. His best-known works are ‘Mor Naach’, ‘Ham Qadam’, ‘Safar Me Dhoop Hogi’, among others.

King of ghazals Jagjit Singh and Nida were very close pals. Together they made an album ‘Insight’, Nida’s soulful poetry rendered in the velvet voice of Jagjit made it a great success. His ghazal “Duniya jise kehte hai” sung by Jagjit and Chitra is very popular. It was February 8, 1941, Jagjit was born and this year it was the 75th birthday and on this same day, Nida left this world in his 77th year.

His ghazals were sung by other eminent singers like Ghulam Ali, Pankaj Udhas, Chandan Das and Kavitha Krishna Murthy. The themes of his poems are full of harmony, peace, nostalgia, love and philosophy of life. His finesse of expression left the reader spellbound.

The famous ghazal in Jagjit’s voice still resonates in the ears of music lovers “Tum nahi gam nahi, sharaab nahi”
After paying a visit to Pakistan he penned a poem:
“Insaan mein haiwaan yahaa bhi hai wahaa bhi.
Allah nigahban yaha bhi hai waha bhi.
Hindu bhi maze me hai, Musalmaan bhi maze mein.
Insaan pareshaan yaha bhi hai wahan bhi hai”.
(Demons in humans dwell here and there too
The grace of Allah is bestowed here and there too
Hindus are in joy and Muslims are in joy
It is the people who are worried here and there too)
This shows his concern for the man as a human being and not belonging to any religion.

A poet like Nida Fazli is a rare phenomenon in this world and his demise remains a great loss to the world of literature and mankind. But his words shall remain forever and ever. As a poet he will be remembered for his humanity and as a man cherished for his humility. Long live Nida Fazli!

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