Remembering the rebel poet, Rahat Indori

Bidding adieu to people’s poet

Culture

August 12, 2020

/ By / New Delhi



Rahat Indori

A critique of modern remix songs in new cinema, Indori was also popular at literary events and reality and comedy shows on television

Famed poet and lyricist, Rahat Indori, passed away due to cardiac arrest on August 11, a day after he tested positive for Covid-19. His poem and couplets remain more relevant and rage louder than ever today.

Sabhi ka khoon shaamil hai yahan ki mitti mein, kisike baap ka Hindustan thodi hai? (India has been nourished with everyone’s blood, it isn’t the property of anyone’s ancestor). These famous lines by a noted Urdu poet became the voice of many protestors earlier this year during the anti-CAA protests.

Taken from a ghazal (couplets), Agar khilaf hain to hone do(If they’re against me, let them be), these lines gave a voice to dissent and became a rallying cry. From social media posts to placards, the couplet conveyed the sentiment of an entire community. These are the lines by the rebel poet, also considered people’s poet, Rahat Indori.

Born Rahat Qureshi in Madhya Pradesh, central India, in January 1950, Indori was the fourth child of Rafatullah Qureshi, a cloth mill worker and his wife, Maqbool-Ul-Nisa Begum. A gold medallist in Urdu, he taught the language at a college in Indore for 16 years, while still composing poems and participating in various events. In the late 1990s, he began writing lyrics for Bollywood films, too. Known for his sharp imagery of human emotions in his work, Indori was also a painter. Author of nine poetry and couplet anthology, Indori’s popularity could be seen through his extensive social media reach among all ages across the world.

There was more to Indori’s poetic universe than his popular poems laced with love and longing. In his literary collections like Rut, Mere Baad and Do Kadam Aur Sahi, he wrote extensively about contemporary issues like globalisation, the status of women in the society and increasing communalism.

Rahat Indori

Indori remained a vocal critic of the current government and growing communal tensions in the country

In Bollywood, Indori’s association with music composer and singer, Anu Malik, director Mahesh Bhatt and musician and singer A.R. Rahman gave birth to several hit songs in movies like Murder, Meenaxi, Munna Bhai MBBS and Begum Jaan. Many of these songs still continue to be a chartbuster after years.

Indori also received several awards and honoured by various Indian and foreign institutions and organisations. An award from International India Film Academy for best lyrics,  Honour from Houston City Council, Houston USA and Honour from Embassy of India, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia are few among the countless awards and honours bestowed on Indori throughout his life.

A critique of modern remix songs in new cinema, Indori was also popular at literary events and reality and comedy shows on television. He constantly gave interviews and was part of discussions on various digital channels. In the last four-five years of his life, Indori remained a vocal critic of the current government and growing communal tensions in the country.

Even though the raging voice of Indori has fallen silent, his literary works and ideas continue to swell and inspire generations to come. As condolences over his unfortunate demise continue to pour from all over the world, he bids adieu in his own words, “Ab na main hun, na baaki hain zamane mere; fir bhi mashoor hain shaharon mein fasane mere.”

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