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Poet par excellence: Keeping the flame of Urdu poetry lit in Lucknow and Awadh, carrying the tradition

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Suhail Kakorvi  Kakori  Urdu poetry  Urdu  Urdu literature



Shams Ur Rehman Alavi

BHOPAL/LUCKNOW/DELHI: Among the centres of Urdu literature, Lucknow remains important and retains its prominence. And, in the literary landscape of Lucknow, there is a knight who reigns. His name is Mohiuddin Hasan but in poetic world, he is known as 'Suhail' Kakorvi.

Carrying the elements of classical poetry along with the progressive and modernist shades, he charted his own course in the world of Urdu poetry. A self-made man, he has written in multiple genres, and despite his simplicity, he is at the centre of literary activities and functions in Lucknow.

The slow and steady tone, the sudden pouring of emotions and the usage of Awadhi or Hindvi words in his couplets, add to the beauty of his expression. Hailing from the famous town, Kakori, which produced legendary Urdu litterateurs, Suhail Kakorvi didn't have any teacher or guide. Poetry came naturally to him. In mid 1980s, he had created a niche for himself.

Within a short period, his ghazals were getting published and he emerged on the Urdu literary scene. That he knows Persian and the elegance of the Farsi tradition is visible in his compositions, adding to the beauty of the poetry. Haven't you heard one of his couplet: 

Ye dil ki baat hai aur baat ye dil hi samajhta hai

Hamaare paas aksar chal ke khud maikhaana aata hai

Zest for life and love, the 'sarshaari' or intoxication that towards this world and its beauty, keeps him possessed and this is reflected in his couplets. Yet another unique feature is that he often translates his own poetry in other languages, especially, English, for readers along with a summary.

Sample this couplet:

main namaaz-e-ishq padhne to gaya tha yaar tanha
teri aashiqi mein kitne mere saath aa gaye
main ne kahaa ki kharaab hoo.n gardish-e-chashm-e-mast se
Usne kaha ki raqs kar, saaraa jahaa.n kharaab hai

[raqs= dance, chashm=eye]

Along with poetry that focuses on different aspects of life, his unique work is 'Neela Chaand' that shows his command and linguistic skills. He has used hundreds of Urdu idioms and phrases in the couplets that are part of the book. Besides, he wrote 'Aam-naama', which brought him immense popularity. Veteran poet Dr Malikzada Manzoor Ahmad mentioned that it was Ghalib who first brought 'mangoes' in his poetry.

However, Suhail Kakorvi who has spent his life in the mango belt of Kakori and Malihabad, wrote the long nazm comprising of hundreds of couplets about the love for mangoes, the varieties, the beauty, aroma and taste, about people and their love for the fruit as well as the city, culture and bringing the entire literary landscape in front of reader, through the metaphor of mango.

No wonder, Aam-naama got so much attention. Along with Urdu, the devnagari script, took the book to many more readers. The tone of his poetry is mild but it has a deep impact and captures the reader, it's poetry that is enchanting, and it also haunts. For example, read these couplets:

shauq tera bedaar rahega, aisa ujaala karke dekh
ruu-e-nigaar-e-husn-e-azl se dil mein saveraa karke dekh

mujh se hue hain khalq anaasir, aaina hoo.n teri anaa ka
mere dil mein kaif ki khaatir apna nazaara karke dekh

Suhail Kakorvi, the affable, readily accessible and prolific shaa'er is truly a people's poet. Either it's elite or the masses, everyone seems to know him in Lucknow. It is to his credit that despite his literary accomplishments, he remains a humble man, who carries no airs and has dedicated himself to the service of language.

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.