Rahat Indori ( fifth from left)  releases his autobiography ‘Rahat Sahab’  in an event ‘Vishwarang’  at  Ravindra Bhawan, Bhopal in November last year
Rahat Indori ( fifth from left) releases his autobiography ‘Rahat Sahab’ in an event ‘Vishwarang’ at Ravindra Bhawan, Bhopal in November last year

Bhopal: Rahat Indori’s death has sent shock waves through the literary circlesof the city. The legendary Shayar was known for his sharp and witty attacks on communalism and on those claiming ownership over the legacy of the country. ‘Sabhee ka khoon shamil hain yahan ki mitti mein, kisee ke baap ka Hindustan thodi hai,” was his oft-quoted lines.

He had a very close association with Bhopal, which he considered his second home. His ex-wife and shayara Anjum Rehbar lived here and he was a frequent visitor to the city. He took part in innumerable mushairayas here. His last mushairaya was held in Ravindra Bhawan, Bhopal in a literary event ‘Vishwarang’ in November last year. Free Press talked to city litterateurs to know their reaction to the passing away of the people’s poet. Nusrat Mehdi, director of Happiness Department and former secretary of MP Urdu Akademi, said, "Rahat Indori Saheb was, by far, the biggest Shayar of the country. He was extremely popular and equally talented. The younger generation was mad after him. He was a litterateur of international repute. And yet, arrogance was miles away from him. He was so simple, so down-to-earth that it was unbelievable. In today’s world where everything and everyone has become professional, he was guided by his heart, not by his mind. People like him do not belong to any particular city or state or country – they belong to the entire world. His death is a personal loss for me for he always treated me like his younger sister. He was my guide, my mentor. I am in deep shock. He considered Bhopal his second home and never turned down an invitation to visit the city."

Writer Rasheed Anjum said, "He had visited Bhopal an innumerable number of times. He took part in numerous Mushairayas at Iqbal Maidan and in programs organised by the Urdu Academy. No gathering of poets in Bhopal was complete without him. He had a dominating presence on the stage. He was Shayar of Mushairas. His voice, his modulation, the way he recited his poetry was unmatched. People came to Mushairayas just to hear him. He was a people’s poet and political satire was his favored genre. His second wife, Anjum Rahbar, who is an accomplished poet herself, lives in Bhopal. Though the two were divorced they were still like friends.

"Mushairas at Bhopal played an important role in enchancing his popularity. He pioneered a new style of reciting poetry and it was very much popular among public. He loved Bhopallites and culture of Bhopal a lot. I was fortunate to share the stage with him his last mushairaya, held in Ravindra Bhawan, Bhopal in an event ‘Vishwarang’ in November last year. I also conducted the event. It is such a great loss for Urdu Shayari. The void he has created would take long to be filled," said Badr Wasti, a poet and shayar.

"Rahat Indori's voice was the voice of resistance. He used to raise his voice against injustice - whether social or political. He was very popular among the people and so what he said spread far and wide. Unaka jana pratirodh ki ek aawaz ka chup ho jaana hai (his demise is an end of revolt). It is very sad. I pay tributes to him on behalf of Janwadi Lekhak Sangh," said Rajesh Joshi, poet and author.

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