In words of lyricist Gulzar, Urdu poet Rahat Indori, who died on Tuesday afternoon of a heart attack after being diagnosed with Covid-19, was one of a kind, who has left a void in Urdu ‘mushairas’ which can never be filled.
Largely because of his inimitable style of delivery – as if he was chatting with his audience; his mesmerising mannerisms on the dais; and poetry that would sting with its biting sarcasm and yet not draw any blood.
Again, in the picturesque language of Gulzar, "Wo toh lutera tha mushairon ka."
Most important, he was able to strike a rapport with the new generation, he never got under their skin with his nuanced poetry.
Said Javed Akhtar in a tweet: "Rahat Saheb's demise is an irreparable loss…Like Habib Jalib, he was from the fast disappearing tribe of poets who are never short of courage and call a spade a spade," Akhtar tweeted.
Born to Rafatullah Qureshi, a cloth mill worker and Maqbool Un Nisa Begum, he grew up in Ranipura. Fascinated with Urdu language, he grew up learning the idiom on the street. There was no lack of formal education: he did MA in Urdu literature from Barkatullah University, Bhopal, and was later awarded a PhD in Urdu literature at Bhoj University in Madhya Pradesh for his thesis titled ‘Urdu Main Mushaira’.
Controversy was in his blood. One moment he was proclaiming love for his mother land and, on the other, lampooning the system.
Even as he grappled with coronavirus and reconciled with the forced lockdown, Indori talked about dying rather than living in restrictions.
With a 50-year-long career, Indori also penned memorable lyrics of songs like "M Bole toh" from Munnabhai MBBS (2003), ‘‘Chori Chori Jab Nazrein Mili’’ from Kareeb (1998) and "Neend Churai Meri" from Ishq (1997).