Lyricist-poet Bashar Nawaz’s demise leaves world of literature in mourning

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Yogesh Pawar

Karoge yaad toh har baat yaad aayegi, guzarte waqt ki har mauj thhaher jaayegi.. (Try recollecting, it’ll all come back to you, as you do so – waves of time will stand still) this hugely popular song from the film Bazaar he penned over three decades ago hung like a thick cloud over the crowd of mourners gathered outside Bashar Nawaz’s family home at Jubilee Park in Aurangabad, 350 km from Mumbai. The hale and hearty octogenarian Urdu poet-lyricist’s sudden demise has left not only his family but several of his associates and fans shocked.

“This is a very sad, dark day for not only Urdu but the world of literature. It marks the end of an era… a way of life and thinking. We have lost one of the most sensitive poets of our time,” lamented composer Khayyam who not only lent music to the iconic ghazal from Bazaar but several others. “He was effortlessly brilliant and yet very soft spoken and modest to a point of being self-effacing. The hallmark of his poetry was its simplicity. He could evoke the most complicated abstract mood with finesse due to his grasp and command of the language,” he added in anguish.

Singer-musician Bhupinder Singh whose velvety voice brought ‘Karoge yaad toh’ alive too remembers Nawaz as a shy person. “He was introduced to me by Khayyam saab before I went into the recording room. We actually interacted very briefly yet its been a more than 30-year-old association with Nawaz saab because of his ghazal. Irrespective of where I have performed at a live concert both in India or abroad, this is unfailingly a much-requested number by audiences,” Singh told dna. “Often times, the listeners who are requesting the ghazal are very young and may not even have been born when Bazaar and its music released. While this is an indicator of how the ghazal as a genre works with young audiences, it is also an indicator of how captivating Nawaz saab’s poetry is that it stands its own along with a Mir Taqi Mir composition like ‘Dikhayi diye yoon’. Of course, Khayyam saab’s musical touch too has worked its magic.”

Bharat Ratna songstress Lata Mangeshkar who has sung the lullaby ‘Aaja Nindiya Aaja’ in Lorie (1985) said, “Poets like him are rare to come by. This is a big blow.” Others like Talat Aziz who has sung a duet with Asha Bhosale for the same film too expressed sadness at Nawaz’ demise. “I heard about it around noon and felt saddened. Though it was a passionate love duet you should see how he conveys the feeling with his words without once making it too suggestive.”

The noted Urdu poet, writer and orator was found dead in his Aurangabad flat in the early hours of Thursday. Born on August 18, 1935 at Aurangabad, Nawaz’s writings were regularly published in various Urdu literary journals magazines in India and abroad. Initially influenced by the leftist movement, a reflection of which can be seen in his work, he later went on to pen lyrics for quite a few Hindi movies, dramas for radio and scripted the tv serial Amir Khusrau. His son Yahya Khan told dna, “He had insisted on buying a flat oppostie our family home and would often retire there when he wanted to spend time reading or writing. Last night he was happily chatting with us before going to the flat. In the morning when I went to wake him up, he wasn’t responding to the doorbell or knocking. We then went in from the open balcony door to find he had passed away in his sleep.” Interestingly the poet was reading an old anthology of poems by Mir Taqi Mir which lay open on his chest when he was found, said Khan. While poet’s wife Chand Sultana passed away two years ago, he is survived by his seven daughters, four sons and a brood of grandchildren who had all gathered at the Nawaz residence for the last rites.

TV journalist-turned All India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul Muslimeen MLA from Central Aurangabad, Imtiyaz Jaleel who is a next-door neighbour remembered going with the poet to an iftar party two days ago. “While he was quite jovial, he complained about not getting the measly Rs 1,500 stipend from the state cultural department since a year. I had asked him to give me the documents so that I can follow it up at Mantralaya. Alas! That will never be…”

Yogesh Pawar, ” Lyricist-poet Bashar Nawaz’s demise leaves world of literature in mourning,” in DNA India, July 10, 2015. Accessed on July 12, 2015, at:

The item above written by Yogesh Pawar and published in DNA India on July 10, 2015, is catalogued here in full by Faiz-e-Zabaan for non-profit educational purpose only. Faiz-e-Zabaan neither claims the ownership nor the authorship of this item. The link to the original source accessed on July 12, 2015, is available here. Faiz-e-Zabaan is not responsible for the content of the external websites.

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