Rahat Indori: Poet who brought Urdu closer to masses
Sabhi ka khoon shaamil yahan ki mitti mai, kisi ke baap ka Hindustan thodi hai'. As the world bids adieu to noted Urdu poet Rahat Indori, these famous lines from his poem are resonating louder. The couplet from Dr Rahat Indori's poem is a sentiment of belonging, secularism and pluralistic fabric of the country which tends to look beyond the communal divides.
Rahat Qureshi, later known as Rahat Indori, was born on 1 January 1950 in Indore to Rafatullah Qureshi, a cloth mill worker, and his wife Maqbool Un Nisa Begum. He did his schooling from Nutan School Indore from where he completed his Higher Secondary and later went to Islamia Karimia College, Indore for his graduation. He passed his MA in Urdu literature from Barkatullah University, Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh) in 1975. Rahat was awarded a Ph.D. in Urdu literature from the Bhoj University of Madhya Pradesh in 1985 for his thesis titled 'Urdu Main Mushaira'. Rahat was also a pedagogist of Urdu literature at Devi Ahilya University, Indore but went on to teach Urdu literature at IK College. In the meantime, he became busy with 'mushairas' and started receiving invitations from all over India and abroad.
With a 50-year career in poetry, Indori had attended poetic symposiums in almost all the districts of India. He had also travelled multiple times to USA, UK, UAE, Australia, etc to perform in Mushaira and Kavi Sammelan. For mushaira organisers, he guaranteed auditoriums packed with young and old.
The ace poet, who was appreciated for reciting couplets in a very expressive style, had authored more than half a dozen collections of poetry including 'Rut', 'Do Kadar Or Sahi', 'Mere Baad', 'Dhoop Bahut Hai', 'Chand Pagal Hai', 'Maujood' and 'Naraz'.
Besides, Indori left his footprint in Bollywood as he wrote lyrics of hit songs like 'M Bole Toh' from Munnabhai MBBS (2003), 'Chori Chori Jab Nazrein Mili' from 'Kareeb' (1998), 'Koi Jaye to Le Aye' from 'Ghatak' (1996), and 'Neend Churai Meri' from Ishq (1997).
Indori was frequently compared to Dushyant Kumar, who died in 1975 at the age of 42. Dushyant wasn't accepted by the literary establishment but was quite popular for his revolutionary ideas. There were people who said that he went too far in his criticism, playing into communal stereotypes resulting from recent religious polarisation. He got trolled online for confronting Hindutva, but those who knew him personally said he was not religious at all, that his concerns were social, rather than communal.
Well, everything else aside, Rahat Indori had taken Urdu to the masses. It's indeed a fact that no Urdu poet today can sway a mushaira crowd as he did.