For the Love of Urdu.

Urdu!

I have been reading Mushtaq Ahmad Yusufi lately, and even though I can’t comprehend half of it, I feel enamored by it.  Not just with the way he writes, or what he writes about, but the vehicle of his expression: the language.  Not just trite, repetitive trash that passes off as ‘fiction’ these days, but refined and rich language that reminds one of what Urdu is (or was) all about.  Words and sentences that create a flurry in one’s mind, and add color to one’s imagination.

The greatest asset of an expressive language is not merely being a means of ‘communication’; rather it’s giving meaning and, layers of meanings to things small and large.  It is this expansiveness of words that gives life to ideas and concepts.  If words or their usage become obsolete, that much of meaning and understanding is also lost.  This is the greatest tragedy faced by Urdu today.  The Urdu as it was known, and what it represented in its heyday of literary achievements and scholarly output is arguably no more.  What little use of proper Urdu and its appreciation remains in our collective conscience must be preserved.

The following excerpt from towards the end of first chapter of Yusufi’s ‘Aab-e-Gumm’, I found it amusing yet true.

 

مرزا اکثر طعنہ دیتے ہیں کہ تم ان معدودے چند

لوگوں میں سے ہو جنہوں نے متروکہ جائداد کا کوئ کلیم داخل نہیں کیا

وجہ یہ کہ چلتے وقت تم اپنے ساتھ متروکات کا دفینہ کھود کر

! سموچا ڈھو کر پاکستان لے آئے

تفنن برطرف اگر ان میں سے ایک لفظ جی ہاں

صرف ایک لفظ بھی دوبارہ رائج ہو گیا تو سمجھوں گا عمر بھر کی محنت سوارت ہوئ

 

One needs to read Yusufi, to see the sheer humor in this excerpt.  I thought the use of word ‘matruka’ was quite clever.  Whether the person the person who said it intended it the same way as I am interpreting it, it does get the point across at so many levels, that Urdu words and terms are becoming antiquated.

But, the question is; if something has become obsolete, what is it replaced with?  And, what are the reasons?

Urdu really is becoming ‘matruka’, left off, unclaimed, irrelevant…

…Because of the cultural and social status we have accorded it.  It is considered unbecoming to use it in formal settings (and increasingly in informal ones too).

…Because, we are required to read, write, and understand ideas, concepts, skills – knowledge – in a language other than Urdu.  I’m not against it, I’m utilizing this very language.  But, the lack of emphasis on Urdu has meant that ideas, concepts, ethical precepts, religious injunctions, that are all by far and large better explained, or need to be explicated in Urdu, for the general masses, are overlooked.  If the ‘educated’ ones are failing at this, this could only result in gradual irrelevance and loss of language, and with it such crucial knowledge.

What is happening to us, more complex than ‘loss’ of language, but it is a critical aspect of this dilemma, this ‘loss’ of culture.

وہ لہر نہ پھر دل میں جاگی وہ رنگ نہ لوٹ کے پھر آیا

 

There’s no particular reason for singling out Mushtaq Ahmad Yusufi’s words, while writing this little article, except that his Urdu is extremely expressive (and hard!), and I had the epiphany of writing this down, while reading Yusufi.  I’m learning Urdu, for which reasons are many (some discussed above), and this is just a small token of appreciation.  As I learn and understand it more, I intend to cherish the fact that I ‘know’ it.  For now this should suffice.

 

یہ افسانہ اگرچہ سرسری ہے

ولے اس وقت کی لذت بھری ہے

 

Catharsis

I remember some wise guy once saying:

The freedom of expression guards our other liberties.

Freedom: a word full of meaning and beauty, but foreign to our society! Whether it be the freedom of speech or thought; you name it, and we don’t have it. “Why is it that every beautiful and noble thing is non-existent in our society?” I always ask myself! Anyway, I am not here to answer this question (neither am I in a position to answer this question ;-)). In fact, I am here to relate the consequences of the ‘absence of freedom’.

Everybody would agree with me on the fact that a lack of proper communication has a catastrophic effect on mental health; and it is as necessary as food or air to express oneself. Freedom is the most important thing to make this happen. We could fully express ourselves only when we feel that we are free to say whatever we have in mind. If we place even a single barrier, the whole purpose of communication gets killed.

Before proceeding further, I would like to justify this statement: “Freedom is the most important thing to achieve the real purpose of communication”. Whenever something goes inside, ultimately, it has to come outside. We come across a variety of feelings here in PMC on daily basis, for example, getting humiliated by the teachers, getting depressed because of samosa getting more and more costly, being let down by the fact that we are single and so forth.

These feelings do make their way inside our head, but they never actually come out of it. Could we tell our teachers of what we really think of them? Could we do something about the cost of samosa? Could we tell our friend that we are jealous of him/her because we are single and he/she is not?! The fear of a supplee never allows us to express our real feelings to the teachers; authority of the Café guy stops us from arguing over samosa price; and our ego prevents us from confessing that we are tired of being single! This evident failure to let go of our actual emotions and feelings has led to some extremely disastrous consequences, one of them being (as put in my own words) “a frequent, abrupt and nasty leakage of repressed emotions through certain highly unpleasant channels”.

Everybody has some companions who are otherwise useless but are a good means of releasing frustration and anger. We talk to them and feel somewhat relieved. Some of that “garbage” might get disposed of in this way but much of it remains within us because the above mentioned and other similar reasons compel us to never open up fully to them. We never talk to them about actual matter, hence destroying the purpose of communication.

At this point, I would like to quote Arthur Schopenhauer:-

The conversation among ordinary people mostly consists in hackneyed commonplaces, which they alternately repeat to each other with the utmost complacency.

The conversations that take place among us poor PMCians consist of nothing but hackneyed commonplaces. By taking part in these conversations, any keen observer would readily sense a degree of frustration that has arisen as a result of suppression of the underlying emotion and at the same time would get amused. The charm of these conversations is that they do not just take place among us fellows; they take place almost everywhere in PMC, that is, notice boards, walls, benches and anything that could bear the weight of our delicate emotions!

Thing that makes these conversations so special is that they are a genuine reflection of our collective mindsets and represent our true selves. Take a look at the following ‘picture’:-

I am not a Paindu!

It says, “I am a PMCian and I am not a PAINDU”. It is evident that the people who wrote this are suffering from an inferiority complex because they came to PMC from their pind with a hope that PMC would be a different place (a Camelot, thus to speak). But, nevertheless, we should admire their benevolence because they left much of the chart empty for the others to share their sorrows too!

Now, take a good look at the following placards which give glad tidings of an oncoming ‘book-fair’:-

Book Fair 1

Book Fair 2

The one on top, at various places, contains references to Munni and Sheela. Book-fair, Munni, Sheela…do they seem related to each other? If you are a PMCian, your answer should be: “HELL YEAH!” At other places, it says: “Sir Najam ki pencil mere pas hai, mujh se rujoo karein (I have Sir Najam’s pencil, contact me)”, “uthtay janazay dekho (see the funerals)”, “harkat check kar lo (check that action) etc.

The second one has these inscriptions: “haye Ammi, bhaoo (oh Mom, BHAOO)”, “chal rehn de baba kam kar (leave it dude, go do your job)”, “dafa maaro yaar (let it be, yaar)”, “Molvi teri to… (Molvi, you are a…)”, “jaldi lagaao yaar (do it soon, yaar)”, “Islamic bhai mujhe cheap books buy krni hain (Islamic bhai, I want to buy cheap books)”, “bachna ae hasino, lo main aa gaya (brace yourselves broads, here I come)etc.

Sometimes, the notice boards get polluted with filthy politics. As politics is also a means of letting the ‘garbage’ stored inside come outside, we see many politicians in PMC. Remarkable thing is that you don’t have to belong to some party to be a politician!

The following pictures show ‘politically emotional outburst’ which took place when a party planned an event and some other parties opposed the plan (and probably the ‘planners’ too):-

Political poster 1

Political poster 2

Now, see the rebuttal:-

Political poster 3

It says: “JALLAN KI MAARI (name of the opposing party has been censored)”

Apart from the vulgarities, indecencies, and random trashy stuff; some creative work could also be seen sometimes. Take a look:-

What a great BONGI is this?!

It says: “The RING IS MINE! SAURON LIVES!!!

ARAGON LIVES

FRODO LIVES

–What a Great BONGI IZ This?!–

Now, I would like to end this article with an advice: It is the freedom of thought which is actually important. Real freedom comes when your soul is liberated from petty desires. Learn to communicate with yourself. A famous nazm of Faiz is crossing my mind…

Bol, ke lab aazad hain tere

Bol, zabaan ab tak teri hai

Tera sutwan jism hai tera

Bol, ke jaan ab tak teri hai

Bol, ke thora waqt bohat hai

Jism-o-zaban ki maut se pehle

Bol, ke sach zinda hai ab tak

Bol, jo kuch kehna hai kehle

(Speak, your lips are free

Speak, it is your own tongue

Speak, it is your own body

Speak, your life is still yours

Speak, this brief hour is long enough

Before the death of body and tongue:

Speak, ’cause the truth is not dead yet

Speak, speak, whatever you must speak)

Regards,

The Philosopher’s Stone

دل تو بچہ ہے جی

 

 

 

یہ گز شتہ گنا ہو ں کی سز ا تھی یا آ ئی ہماری قضا  تھی ، جو ا س ا و کھلی میں سر د یا – پچھلے د و سا ل کی جا ں فشا نی تو ایک رام کہا نی ، عبث سنا نی ، نئے دور کا آ غاز ہے، نئی راہیں ، کھو لے با نہیں ۔

،د و سا ل محض کتابوں کی دنیا تھی، مرض تھی  ،مریض نہ تھا طب تھا ، طبیب نہ تھا – تیسرا سال کیا شروع ہوا ، مریض ہی مریض ، چہار سو طبیب، انجکشن اور ادویات اور نہ جانے کیا کیا الا بلا۔

ہر وقت اس ماحول میں رہنے کا ہی شا ید اثر ہو کہ ہم کبھی کبھی لیٹے ہوئے اپنی ٹانگ کو ہلا جلا کر دیکھ لیتے ہیں کہ درست حالت میں ہے یا نہیں – اس طرح وقتاً فوقتاً ہم اپنے سارے ہی اعضا کو ہلا جلا کر دیکھ لیتے ہیں مبادا کسی عضو میں تغیر آ گیا ہو – اور دو ایک بار تو ہم نے ہتھو ڑا مار مار کر اپنے جوڑوں کو بھی خو ب

اچھی طرح سے پرکھہ لیا ہے اور اپنی تسلی کر لی ہے ، اب ہم بلا خوف و خطر چلتے پھرتے ہیں – اس میں ایک بار غلط بھی ہوا تھا- ہتھو ڑا ذرا  زور  سے مار دیا تھا اور قریب میں بھا ئی جان بھی بیٹھے تھے – باقی تو آپ سمجھ ہی گئے ہوں گے- مزید بر آ ں کہ ہما ری ان حرکات و سکنات کو دیکھ کر گھر والوں کو دو ایک بار ہماری ذہنی کیفیت پر شک بھی گزر چکا ہے ۔

کالج جانا اور جا کے نہ جانا تو ننھے ڈاکٹر کا معمول بن چکا ہے – شوخیوں اور چہچہا ہٹوں کے اس دیس میں کہیں سے سنجیدگی بھی ٹپکتی ہے – اور یہ سنجید گی اس وقت بے بسی اور لا چارگی میں بدل جاتی ہے جب کوئی مریض اس سے اپنی مرض بیان کرے – مریض سادہ دل ہوتا ہے ،وہ بیمار ہوتا ہے لا چار ہوتا

ہے – اور یہ ننھا ڈاکٹر بھی اسی کیفیت سے دوچار ہوتا ہے- واللہ یہ ننھا ڈاکٹر مریض سے  ذرا بھی ذیادہ اس مرض کو نہیں جانتا ، واللہ نہیں جانتا – پھر کیو نکر لوگ اس سے امیدیں لگائیں ، کیونکر اس کو دکھڑے سنائیں ، کیونکر اس کو ستائیں – اس ننھے ڈاکٹر کو مرض نہ سنائیں ، بلکہ دو چار سنائیں – اور اگر دوبارہ آپ کے پاس

آئے تو بار بار سنائیں ۔

امسال کالج اور اسپتال کے درمیان ایک کشمکش ہے – اس کشمکش کی وجہ ہماری سمجھ سے  بالا ہے – بہر حال کیفیت یہ ہے کہ لیکچر ہال میرے پیچھے ہے تو وارڈ میرے آگے ، مریض مجھے کھینچے ہے تو طبیب مجھے روکے – یہ

لیکچر ہال والے طبیب شکلیں بدلتے ہیں – کبھی پیا، کبھی جیا اور کبھی مادام-بہر حال دونوں کے درمیان مخاصمت اس وقت سے شروع ہوتی ہے جب سے ہمارا وارڈ میں آنا جانا ہوا ہے – دن میں ڈیڑھ گھنٹہ ہم وارڈ میں اور پانچ گھنٹے کالج میں گزارتے تھے اس پر وارڈ والے ہم سے ناراض تھے – اب ہم شام کو وقت لگا کر وارڈ

والوں کو منا لیتے ہیں ، اور رات کو گھر چلے جاتے ہیں – اگلے روز پھر یہی کھچ کھچ ۔

اور یہ وارڈ میں حسیناوُں کے بن سنور کر آنے پر اور تجلیاں دکھانے پر پابندی ہونی چاہئے- مانا کہ ہمارا پیشہ سنجیدہ ہے ، اور مریضوں کی بپتا بھی لائق شنید ہے ، پر دل تو بچہ ہے – اور صرف ہمارا ہی نہیں کئی مریضوں کا دل بھی بچہ

ہے – پھر یہ نہ کہیں کہ خبر نہ ہوئی ۔

ادھر ننھی ڈاکٹر حسینا کی مریض پر نظر پڑی نہیں اور ادھر ،مریض کی شامت آئی نہیں – میک اپ کی سات تہوں میں چھپی شیر ایسے تیز دانت ، چکور ایسے تیز کان ، عقابی نگاہیں ، پتلی بانہیں ، زلفیں لہرا ئیں – ایسی چیز توبھلے چنگے آدمی کی طرف بڑھے تو اسے دنیا کی ہر آزمائش اس کے سامنے ہلکی اور ہیچ لگے – مریض تو پھر مریض ہے ، دل بھی بچہ ہے- عذاب پر یقین

پختہ ہوتا ہے ۔