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LEGEND: Farooq Argali's 60 year reign in Urdu literary world

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Farooq Argali  Urdu  Urdu literature  Poetry  Delhi




Shams Ur Rehman Alavi

BHOPAL/LUCKNOW: How do you describe such a prolific author, poet, novelist and a multi-faceted personality who has been editor of at least 10 magazines and newspapers?

That Farooq Argali has compiled thick anthologies of umpteen Urdu poets, written at length about forgotten figures and whose autobiography is eagerly awaited, is just a beginning of the list of his accomplishments.

Devoted to Urdu, he calls himself Faqeer-e-Urdu but in reality the octogenarian is today one of the biggest names in literature and is considered a man who has seen almost entire era and been with most of the literary giants in post-Independent India.

Kunwar Muhammad Farooq Khan, who is known as Farooq Argali in the world of literature, was born in Fatehpur in Uttar Pradesh. Since 1956, he has been at the centre of Urdu adab in India's national capital, Delhi, which is also the nucleus of Urdu's prose and poetry.

After initial lessons in Urdu and Persian at home, he obtained Jamia Urdu's Adeeb Mahir degree and once he came to Delhi and pulled the pen out of pocket, there was no looking back. He wrote memorable books and also emerged as a unique poet in later years.

Apart from his command over 'Taksaali zabaan' and the idiom in Urdu, his indefatigable work, especially, his voluminous books, efforts to unearth hidden and forgotten writers, long essays on historic personalities, variety of novels and holding big events for the language, he has also written scripts for TV and made documentaries.

From popular novels that were best sellers to becoming editor of the mass circulated film magazine Roobi, he has also rubbed shoulders with master poets whose names we have just heard and who were once pride of nation. In fact, he has compiled anthologies of master poets of the past and it rekindled public interest about writers of 18th, 19th centuries.

His major works include Fakhre Khawateen, Dastaane 1857, Fakhre Watan, Urdu Hai Jiska Naam and dozens of books. Besides, he has poetry collections to his name and people expect his autobiography to be a saga of Urdu authors, language and literature in India.

A passionate activist for Urdu, he was associated with Alami Urdu Conference as well as Urdu Morcha that raised voice for the rights of Urdu in the country.

He saw and met legends, hence, he has anecdotes at the tip of his tongue. Farooq Argali is 82. But his energy, passion and hard work have no match and it is a lesson for young generation too.

He may call himself Faqeer-e-Urdu but in true sense rules over a sultanate of Urdu and lives in the hearts of Urdu lovers, readers and admirers.

His poetry also has a magical affect. Some of his couplets instantly hit and stun the listener. For example:

Zohaak-e-waqt ke shaane pe bhooke hain

Hamaara maghz bhi baari ke intzaar mein hai

It must be known that despot, evil king Zohaak is a character in mythology. Two serpents grew out of his shoulders and to soothe them, two peraons were regularly killed and their brains fed to serpents.

Now think of poet's imagination and courage, the powerful who rule and deceive, eat brains of people in the sense of befooling them, makes it a really astonishing couplet.

Yet another couplet: 

Kahee.n Gita ka hawaala, kahee.n Quraan ka tha

Uski har baat mei.n khatra mere imaan ka tha

Shams Ur Rehman Alavi

Journalist for more than 20 years. Had started his career with National Mail in the nineties. Worked as Special Correspondent with Hindustan Times, as an Assistant Editor with DB Post, later Contributing Editor with The Huffington Post, writes for First Post, The Wire, Newsd & several other major publications.