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Transient Thoughts

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


Anonymous Niranjan said...

Daag's Mere qaboo mein...sung by Iqbal Bano


Sun Apr 15, 11:18:00 AM GMT+5:30  
Blogger anant said...


I have that one on CD...
I like the sher ending, "Aapne yaad dilaya to mujhe yaad aaya".
There's also an old Hindi film song which ends with starts with that phrase...

Sun Apr 15, 01:58:00 PM GMT+5:30  
Anonymous Sushma said...

I've a post that runs something along the same lines - and I completely agree - the best works of art,music or literature - most on them have stemmed from the angst of their creators.

Mon Oct 08, 01:24:00 PM GMT+5:30  
Blogger kafka's ghost said...

I do believe that ails and frustration does bring out the best poetry, and unrequited love has been the best influences for ghazal writers for ages.
A rich and seemingly content man can still have the fire burning.
I would suggest Momin, a brilliant shayar and a happy and content man.

Thu Oct 20, 08:23:00 PM GMT+5:30  

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