Urdu poet Rahat Indori, who died on August 11 in Indore, was noted for using simple expressions in his poems that resonated with both the young and old alike. Some of his most-popular couplets like Dosti Jab
Kisi se ki Jaaye; Dushmanon ki bhi Raye li Jaye (while making friends with someone/opinion of enemies should be taken as well), Sabhi ka Khoon Shaamil Yahan ki Mitti Me; Kisi ke Baap ka Hindustan Thodi Hai (Everybody’s blood is part of this nation’s soil/India does not belong to anybody’s father) along with Naye Kirdar Aate Jaa Rahe Hain; Magar Naatak Purana Chal Raha Hai (new characters are regularly coming/ but the old drama is still going on), always garnered standing ovations from enthusiastic audience.
The lyricist writer gave us lasting Bollywood melodies such as Dekho Dekho Janam Hum from Ishq (1997), Chori Chori Jab Nazrein Mili from Kareeb (1998), and almost the entire playlist for Mission Kashmir (2000) offered his varied range. As tributes pour in, The Morning Standard speaks to some of his friends and admirers from the world of literature and writing.
Rahat Indori was a very responsible and bright star of Urdu mushaira; his death is an irreparable loss for this stage. Now the scene will change, as people came in lakhs to listen to him on the stage. He explored a variety of themes with his renderings. If someone saw him on stage even for once, it is quite possible that the audience member wouldn’t forget the poet in his lifetime. It is worth noticing that Indori was a man of theatre. He had a stronghold on the power of expression. For anyone taking the stage, it is essential that one’s thoughts, words and expressions should be in sync. And Indori mastered it. Not just on stage, his words in his books also found terrific readers. I have been friends with him for over 30 years. I would say, along with being a great poet, he was also a great person.
Rahat Indori was one of the most popular Urdu poets of today. Although he was branded as a mushaira poet, his literary merit is undeniable. Indori was known as the potent voice of protest. This set him apart from others. He confronted life directly. His diction was simple and his imagery was drawn from the world. He put questions, sought answers and remained a seeker all throughout. This is where his individuality lies. I think Indori took more pleasure in travelling than in arriving, and this is what distinguished him from many of his contemporaries.
He understood more about post- Independ - ence India than many scholars who witnessed and studied the transition. He knew, understood and, which is important, forgave people and the processes that make societies less than what they could be. He thought of his poetry as a vantage point from which to observe the world and the people in it, in all their beauty and folly. His adroit mind ranged across the personal and the political. He had a profound sense of ownership and belongingness towards his city and its storied neighbours. A lot of what I saw and understood of Indore and Bhopal, and of their princely pasts, comes from what he had explained to me during my visits. Much of the insights about these cities in my writing, too, come from him. A wonderful host, a great storyteller, a poet who knew how to talk to someone whose Urdu was and remained poor. He never lost his faith in the India that could have been. We will not see his kind again.
Role in the anti-CAA protests
This couplet by Rahat Indori became a prominent slogan slogan during the anti-CAA protests: Sabhi ka Khoon Shaamil Yahan ki Mitti Me; Kisi ke Baap ka Hindustan Thodi Hai (Everybody’s blood is part of this nation’s soil/India does not belong to anybody’s father)