kisi ke baap ka hindostaan thoRi hai – raahat indori

For word meanings and explanatory discussion in English and important problems with interpretation click on the tabs marked “Roman” or “Notes”.

تھوڑی ہے ۔ راحت اندوری

۱

اگر خلاف ہیں ہونے دو، جان تھوڑی ہے

یہ سب دھواں ہے، کوئی آسمان تھوڑی ہے

۲

لگے گی آگ تو آئیں گے گھر کئی زد میں

یہاں پہ صرف ہمارا مکان تھوڑی ہے

۳

ہمارے منہ سے جو نکلا وہی صداقت ہے

ہمارے منہ میں تمہاری زبان تھوڑی ہے

۴

میں جانتا ہوں کہ دشمن بھی کم نہیں لیکن

ہماری طرح ہتھیلی پہ جان تھوڑی ہے

۵

جو آج صاحبِ مسند ہیں کل نہیں ہوں گے

کرائے دار ہیں ذاتی مکان تھوڑی ہے

۶

سبھی کا خون ہے شامل یہاں کی مِٹّی میں

کِسی کے باپ کا ہندوستان تھوڑی ہے

थोढी है – राहत इंदोरी

अगर ख़िलाफ़ हैं होने दो, जान थोढी है

ये सब धुआं है, कोई आस्मान थोढी है

लगेगी आग तो आएंगें घर कई ज़द में

यहां पे सिर्फ़ हमारा मकान थोढी है

हमारे मुंह से जो निक्ला वही सदाक़त है

हमारे मुंह में तुम्हारी ज़बान थोढी है

मैं जांता हुं के दुश्मन भी कम नहीं लैकिन

हमारी तरह हथेली पे जान थोढी है

जो आज साहब-ए मस्नद हैं कल नहीं होंगे

किराए-दार हैं ज़ाती मकान थोढी है

सभी का ख़ून है शामिल यहां की मिट्टी में

किसी के बाप का हिन्दोस्तान थोढी है

 

Click here for background and on any passage for word meanings and explanatory discussion. raahat indori (1950-2020) did his PhD in urdu literature and later taught at a local college in indore. He started out at a young age as a sign painter because of the dire financial condition of his family. He was a very popular, crowd pleasing, mushaa’era shaa’er and a lyricist. This is one of his very popular mushaa’era Ghazals. He wrote this 30-35 years ago and did not remember the exact context in which he wrote it. I include what an interpretation might have been 30-35 years ago and what it might be in the poisonous atmosphere of the current day. I do this with some hesitation because my interpretations may be based on over-sensitivity and may not be what the shaa’er meant. But I do think that it is possible for some in the audience to interpret it that way. My interpretation straddles the border between rightful defiance and veiled threat. Some ash’aar (3,6) appear to be justifiable defiance, and one (5) appears to be justifiable even if it sounds like a warning/threat. Some ash’aar (2,4) appear (to me) to lend themselves to a risky interpretation as a veiled threat and not in the spirit of justifiable defiance. However, it is best to remember that he wrote this 30-35 years ago and my fears of alternate interpretations are based on present day conditions. It is also best to remember that exaggerated defiance is a strong tradition in urdu poetry similar to the courageous calls for independence from colonial rule.
1
agar Khilaaf1 haiN hone do, jaan2 thoRi hai
ye sub dhuaaN3 hai, koii aasmaan4 thoRi hai     
1.opposed, different opinion 2.life, but also jaankaari i.e. knowledge 3.smoke, fog, deceptive ‘smoke and mirrors’ 4.sky, holy writ, truth
30-35 years ago, when the shaa’er wrote this the meaning might have been unambiguous. If they think differently, let it be, their thinking is not ‘jaankaari’ knowledge/truth. It is all smoke and mirrors, not a clear sky – openness, brightness. But in today’s poisonous atmosphere it is possible for some to interpret this in a dangerous way. If they are opposed to you, let them be, it is not as if your life is in danger. It sounds cavalier, because lives are in real and mortal danger. What is going on in India is not ‘smoke and mirrors’, it is not just ‘the fog of electioneering’. It may not be truth, it may not be holy writ and may not be justifiable, but it is real, oppressive and dangerous. It cannot be dismissed as fog which will disappear on its own. This is a reflection on the poisonous times, not on the poet’s meaning/intent.

2
lagegi aag to aayeNge ghar kaii zad1 meN
yahaaN pe sirf2 hamaara makaan thoRi hai     
1.limits, domain 2.only
If there is a fire, many houses will be engulfed. It is not just our house that is situated here. There are two shades of interpretations. The one that might have been clear 30-35 years ago … all communities live here together, cheek by jowl. If there is a fire, everyone will be hurt, not just muslims. Today, this is not entirely true, poorer muslims in most urban areas are ghettoised, are likely to be (and have been) hurt, but it is good to recognize that we are in this together. But, there is a real risk that some people might interpret this as a warning, if you burn my house, yours will burn down too. There is a further risk that some might intepret it as a veiled threat – if you burn my house, I will burn yours. This is a risk that the beleaguered muslim can ill afford to take. Again, a reflection of the changing times. Words should be chosen, carefully.

3
hamaare muNh se jo nikla vahi sadaaqat1 hai
hamaare muNh meN tumhaari zabaan thoRi hai    
1.truth, authenticity
Whatever we speak is authentic true. The ‘we’ could refer to poets, representing the sentiments of the people. We will not speak with your tongue … you cannot put words in our mouth. This is an implicit and justifiable criticism of some who have been coopted into taking the hindutva line. This shaa’er stands apart.

4
maiN jaanta huN ke dushman bhi kam nahiN laikin
hamaari tarah hatheli pe jaan1 thoRi hai    
1.hatheli pe jaan lena usually means ready to risk life, it relates to an expression used often – marta kya na karta
I know that the opponent/rival is no less strong than I am. The second misra lends itself to two interpretations. The milder interpretation is that, our lives are in greater danger. My commentary – in the light of the current atmosphere, a riskier, but possible interpretation is that we are cornered, desperate and ready to die, therefore we will take greater risks and inflict more damage. This makes us stronger. Stronger in what way? Ready to risk life demanding justice … this is admirable. Or, ready to die, therefore able to inflict more damage on you? This is a dangerous message and the risk of such interpretation should be avoided. Again, words should be chosen carefully. This may not be what the shaa’er meant, especially 30-35 years ago, but today, there is a real danger.

5
jo aaj saahib1-e masnad2 haiN kal nahiN hoNge
kiraayedaar haiN, zaati3 makaan thoRi hai    
1.masters 2.throne 3.personal, fiefdom
Those who are masters of the throne today will/need not be so tomorrow. They are renters and will/can be out when the lease is up. This is not their personal fief.

6
sabhi ka Khoon hai shaamil1 yahaaN ki miTTi meN
kisi ke baap ka hindostaan thoRi hai   
1.included, mixed
Everyone’s (people of all communities and persuasions) blood is mixed in this soil. India is not the exclusive property of any one of them.

raahat indori (1950-2020) did his PhD in urdu literature and later taught at a local college in indore.  He started out at a young age as a sign painter because of the dire financial condition of  his family.  He was a very popular, crowd pleasing, mushaa’era shaa’er and a lyricist.  This is one of his very popular mushaa’era Ghazals.  He wrote this 30-35 years ago and did not remember the exact context in which he wrote it.  I include what an interpretation might have been 30-35 years ago and what it might be in the poisonous atmosphere of the current day.  I do this with some hesitation because my interpretations may be based on over-sensitivity and may not be what the shaa’er meant.  But I do think that it is possible for some in the audience to interpret it that way.  My interpretation straddles the border between rightful defiance and veiled threat.  Some ash’aar (3,6) appear to be justifiable defiance, and one (5) appears to be justifiable even if it sounds like a warning/threat.  Some ash’aar (2,4) appear (to me) to lend themselves to a risky interpretation as a veiled threat and not in the spirit of justifiable defiance.   However, it is best to remember that he wrote this 30-35 years ago and my fears of alternate interpretations are based on present day conditions.  It is also best to remember that exaggerated defiance is a strong tradition in urdu poetry similar to the courageous calls for independence from colonial rule.
1
agar Khilaaf1 haiN hone do, jaan2 thoRi hai
ye sub dhuaaN3 hai, koii aasmaan4 thoRi hai

1.opposed, different opinion 2.life, but also jaankaari i.e. knowledge 3.smoke, fog, deceptive ‘smoke and mirrors’ 4.sky, holy writ, truth

30-35 years ago, when the shaa’er wrote this the meaning might have been unambiguous.  If they think differently, let it be, their thinking is not ‘jaankaari’ knowledge/truth.  It is all smoke and mirrors, not a clear sky – openness, brightness.  But in today’s poisonous atmosphere it is possible for some to interpret this in a dangerous way.  If they are opposed to you, let them be, it is not as if your life is in danger.  It sounds cavalier, because lives are in real and mortal danger.  What is going on in India is not ‘smoke and mirrors’, it is not just ‘the fog of electioneering’.  It may not be truth, it may not be holy writ and may not be justifiable, but it is real, oppressive and dangerous.  It cannot be dismissed as fog which will disappear on its own.   This is a reflection on the poisonous times, not on the poet’s meaning/intent.
2
lagegi aag to aayeNge ghar kaii zad1 meN
yahaaN pe sirf2 hamaara makaan thoRi hai

1.limits, domain 2.only

If there is a fire, many houses will be engulfed.  It is not just our house that is situated here.  There are two shades of interpretations.  The one that might have been clear 30-35 years ago … all communities live here together, cheek by jowl.  If there is a fire, everyone will be hurt, not just muslims.  Today, this is not entirely true, poorer muslims in most urban areas are ghettoised, are likely to be (and have been) hurt, but it is good to recognize that we are in this together.  But, there is a real risk that some people might interpret this as a warning, if you burn my house, yours will burn down too.  There is a further risk that some might intepret it as a veiled threat – if you burn my house, I will burn yours.  This is a risk that the beleaguered muslim can ill afford to take.  Again, a reflection of the changing times.  Words should be chosen, carefully.
3
hamaare muNh se jo nikla vahi sadaaqat1 hai
hamaare muNh meN tumhaari zabaan thoRi hai

1.truth, authenticity

Whatever we speak is authentic true.  The ‘we’ could refer to poets, representing the sentiments of the people.  We will not speak with your tongue … you cannot put words in our mouth.  This is an implicit and justifiable criticism of some who have been coopted into taking the hindutva line.  This shaa’er stands apart.
4
maiN jaanta huN ke dushman bhi kam nahiN laikin
hamaari tarah hatheli pe jaan1 thoRi hai

1.hatheli pe jaan lena usually means ready to risk life, it relates to an expression used often – marta kya na karta

I know that the opponent/rival is no less strong than I am.  The second misra lends itself to two interpretations.  The milder interpretation is that, our lives are in greater danger.  My commentary – in the light of the current atmosphere, a riskier, but possible interpretation is that we are cornered, desperate and ready to die, therefore we will take greater risks and inflict more damage.  This makes us stronger.  Stronger in what way?  Ready to risk life demanding justice … this is admirable.  Or, ready to die, therefore able to inflict more damage on you?  This is a dangerous message and the risk of such interpretation should be avoided.  Again, words should be chosen carefully.  This may not be what the shaa’er meant, especially 30-35 years ago, but today, there is a real danger.
5
jo aaj saahib1-e masnad2 haiN kal nahiN hoNge
kiraayedaar haiN, zaati3 makaan thoRi hai

1.masters 2.throne 3.personal, fiefdom

Those who are masters of the throne today will/need not be so tomorrow.  They are renters and will/can be out when the lease is up.  This is not their personal fief.
6
sabhi ka Khoon hai shaamil1 yahaaN ki miTTi meN
kisi ke baap ka hindostaan thoRi hai

1.included, mixed

Everyone’s (people of all communities and persuasions) blood is mixed in this soil.  India is not the exclusive property of any one of them.

2 comments:

  1. You will be pleased to know that Late Mr. Rahat Indori visited to attend an International Musha’irah arranged by Washington Bazm-e-Adab. We the members of the Bazm had the pleasure of meeting him.

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