Writer's Blog

Transient Thoughts

Sunday, April 15, 2012

The squirrel

A bad one:
Thiruvalluvar had a pet squirrel after which he named his famous work. The name of the squirrel? Thiruquirrel.

Saturday, April 07, 2012

Daag and his alliterations

I have always contended that Ghalib and Daag used entirely opposite methods. Ghalib creates beauty out of complexity; Daag out of simplicity. But Mir was a poet of simplicity too. So what is then the difference between Mir's and Daag's poetry. The answer, I think, is that Daag's poetry is almost totally free of that precious commodity, that as Munshiji says to Amitabh Bacchan in Sharaabi, actually makes a poet: 'dard' or angst.

Most poets are born out of discontentment, of restlessness, out of (existential) angst. A poet born out of contentment is rare I think. Daag was a happy poet - perhaps because he led a happy, comfortable and easy life - his step father was one of Zafar's sons - unlike Mir and Ghalib who were mostly poor or only occasionally well-to-do. Daag is a great exception that way - a poet who was happy, yet successful as a poet. He perhaps ought to be celebrated that much more - for discontent is a key tool for creativity - and Daag managed so well without it.

The absence of angst, angst which has more to do with the brain than with the heart, meant perhaps that Daag actually wrote from the heart. Which probably also explains why he used alliteration so often - it is the laziest of the figures of speech and requires (I think) the least mental machinations. The similes, the metaphors and of course the transferred epithets (think Faiz) they are for the intelligentsia. Give me the figure of speech (one can imagine Daag saying) of the masses, of humanity. It is alliteration again that betrays the joy in the Daag's heart even in shers where he is apparently complaining about his beloved.

Here are a couple of verses from the ghazal "Aafat ki shokiyan hain tumhari nigaah mein" that I think are perfect examples of Daag's alliterations, though you will find alliteration in at least one sher in most of his ghazals.

Aatii hai baat baat mujhe yaad baar baar,
Kehta hoon daud daud ke quasid se raah mein.

quasid: messenger.

I keep remembering more things I wanted to say to you,
I keep running to the messenger and adding to my message.

Woh dushmani se dekhate hain, dekhate to hain,
Main shaad hoon, ke hoon to, kisiki nigaah mein

shaad: happy, just like na-shaad: unhappy or morose.

It's ok if she looks at me, regards me, with anger,
I am happy that she is at least looking at me, that I am in her thoughts