Taj Mahal

Taj_2816675gThe Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince William and Kate Middleton, who were on a week-long tour of India and Bhutan, visited the Taj Mahal on the final leg of their tour on the 16th April 2016.

The royal couple posed in front of the monument and this visit to Agra generated much excitement and it was cleared of tourists so as to facilitate their visit .

We have been told and retold that Taj Mahal is the ultimate declaration and symbol of eternal love but what about the Love of the ordinary mortals who don’t have the wherewithal to spend lavishly in memory of their loved ones ??

This reminded me of a poem i recently heard / read by Sahir Ludhianwi (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sahir_Ludhianvi) on Taj Mahal , where he raises concerns and questions Taj Mahal as the symbol of love in this iconic poem :

ताज तेरे लिए एक मज़हर ऐ उल्फत ही सही,

तुझ को इस वादी ऐ रंगीन से अकीदत ही सही,

मेरी मेह्बोब कहीं और मिला कर मुझ से ..

The Taj, mayhap, to you may seem, a mark of love supreme

You may hold this beauteous vale in great esteem;

Yet, my love, meet me hence at some other place!

बज़्म ऐ शाही में गरीबों का गुज़र क्या मानी,

सब्त जिस राह में हों सतवत ऐ शाही के निशाँ,

उस पे उल्फत भरी रुहूँ का सफ़र क्या मानी

How odd for the poor folk to frequent royal resorts;

‘Tis strange that the amorous souls should tread the regal paths

Trodden once by mighty kings and their proud consorts.

मेरी महबूब पास-ऐ-पर्दा-ऐ-तश-हीर-ऐ-वफ़ा,

तू ने सतवत के निशानों को तो देखा होता,

मुर्दा शाहों के मक़ाबिर से बहलने वाली,

अपने तारीक़ मकानों को तो देखा होता

Behind the facade of love my dear, you had better seen,

The marks of imperial might that herein lie screen’d

You who take delight in tombs of kings deceased,

Should have seen the hutments dark where you and I did wean.

अनगिनत लोगों ने दुनिया में मोहब्बत की है,

कौन कहता है की सादिक़ न थे जज़्बे उन के,

लेकिन उन के लिए तश्हीर का सामान नहीं

क्यों की वो लोग भी अपनी तरह मुफलिस थे,

Countless men in this world must have loved and gone,

Who would say their loves weren’t truthful or strong?

But in the name of their loves, no memorial is raised

For they too, like you and me, belonged to the common throng.

ये इमारत-ओ-मक़ाबिर, ये फ़सीलें, ये हिसार,

मुतलक़-उल-हुक्म शहंशाहों की अजमत के सुतून

दामन-ऐ-दहर पे उस रंग की गुलकारी है ,

जिस में शामिल है तेरे और मेरे अजदाद का खून,

These structures and sepulchres, these ramparts and forts,

These relics of the mighty dead are, in fact, no more

Than the cancerous tumours on the face of earth,

Fattened on our ancestor’s very blood and bones.

मेरी महबूब!! उन्हें भी तो मोहब्बत होगी

जिनका सन्नाई ने बख्शी है इसे शक्ल-ऐ-जामील

उन के प्यारों में मक़ाबिर रहे बेनाम-ओ-नामूद

आज तक उन पे जलाई न किसी ने कंदील

They too must have loved, my love, whose hands had made,

This marble monument, nicely chiselled and shaped

But their dear ones lived and died, unhonoured, unknown,

None burnt even a taper on their lowly graves.

ये चमनज़ार, ये जमुना का किनारा, ये महल

ये मुनक्क़श दर-ओ-दीवार, ये मेहराब , ये ताक़

एक शहंशाह ने दौलत का सहारा ले कर,

हम गरीबों की मोहब्बत का उड़ाया है मज़ाक

मेरी महबूब कहीं और मिला कर मुझ से ….

This bank of Jamuna, this edifice, these groves and lawns,

These carved walls and doors, arches and alcoves,

An emperor on the strength of wealth,

Has played with us a cruel joke.

Meet me hence, my love, at some other place.

https://rekhta.org/nazms/taaj-mahal-sahir-ludhianvi-nazms This is the link to the above quoted poem and do listen to the excellent rendition of this nazm by Hamida Banu ji whose Audio CD is the reason I first came across this beautiful Gem.


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