Tumhee Kahoo Ke Yeh Andaaz-E-Gufatgoo Kya Hai

November 3, 2010 at 9:15 PMNov (Friends, Literature, Musings, Poetry, Slice Of Life)

Who Aaye Ghar Mein Hamaarey Khuda Ki Qudrat Hai
Kabhi Hum Unko Kabhi Apne Ghar Ko Dekhtey Hai

Fakruddin Saheb and I

Fakruddin Saheb and I

I recollected the couplet by Ghalib and altered it slightly saying, “Hum aaye unke ghar mein khuda ki qudrat hai, kabhi hum unki tasweer kabhi unka ghar dekhtey hai.” I was in Ghalib Haweli at Balli Maaran in Delhi with Neeraj.

Four walls without a roof… poems carved on stones on the walls… some articles that were used by the master poet… a huge painting. That is it! There was nothing much to ‘see’ at Ghalib Haweli. But still we were excited because we knew that the great man breathed in that very place, once upon a time.

“Is there anything upstairs?” I asked Neeraj and Neeraj asked me to ask the well built man in white dress with a white beard and a white skull cap. Both were curious. “Nothing,” came the answer. Crisp answer in an unemotional tone. “Museum?” we asked. “Nothing. He stayed here downstairs. Not up.” The tone was cold. Very cold. It appeared like he was annoyed by our presence and also by our questions. Our eyes were still trying to climb up the stairs and look and realizing this, the man said, “What was he? Drunkard! He was never in his senses. He would be lying down here drunk and blabber his poetry.” I had never heard anyone speaking so lightly of Ghalib! How could have I imagined to listen to something like this in the place where he once lived!

“Who are you?” I asked out of curiosity. “Main iss haweli ka maalik,” (I am the owner of this haweli) said Fakruddin Saheb. I was perplexed. “Isn’t this Ghalib haweli?” I asked. “Yes it is,” he replied. “So, are you his great grandson?” I asked with twinkle in my eyes. “No. He was had rented this room downstairs. He never owned this place,” said Fakruddin Saheb.

Then I understood the reason behind those rough answers that he gave as he came from the STD booth inside the haweli just next to the museum turned room where Ghalib once lived. “When was this room turned into a museum?” asked Neeraj and I to which he answered saying, “Some ten fifteen years ago.” Trying to push things further we asked, “Till then what was here?” “Nothing. It belonged to us,” was the reply. We exclaimed “Oh!” and said, “Hope, you got some compensation.” Fakruddin Saheb replied, “Yeah I did get some little amount.” Saying this Fakruddin Saheb went on to speak of a film that was made on Ghalib which traced the history of Ghalib to the house belonging to Fakruddin Saheb and following this the Government decided to turn this single room in the haweli in Balli Maaran into a memorial. This must have left a bitter taste for Fakruddin Saheb, I thought looking at the STD booth on one corner of the ground floor of the haweli next to the room once occupied by Ghalib. I decided to speak to him more in the same line but then, as though in a film, at the right (or wrong) time, there was azaan in the Masjid and Fakruddin Saheb went for his prayers. Neeraj and I walked towards Jaama Masjid and spent an hour thinking of Fakruddin Saheb and his anger towards Ghalib. I also recollected the couplet:

Huye Mar Ke Hum Jo Ruswaa Huye Kyun Na Garq-E-Dariya,
Na Kabhi Jaanaaza Uth’ta Na Kaheen Mazaar Hota.

"This haweli popularly known as the Mirza Ghalib Haweli was acquired by the Govt. of NCT of Delhi on 2-12-1999"

“This haweli popularly known as the Mirza Ghalib Haweli was acquired by the Govt. of NCT of Delhi on 2-12-1999”

Next weekend I was with Shrini. Then she was doing a short term course in Indian Institute of Mass Communication on photojournalism. She had a photography assignment and we were clicking photos of historical monuments in Delhi. I suggested her that we go to Balli Maaran and click a snap or two of Ghalib haweli. I was also curious to meet Fakruddin Saheb and continue my conversation with him.

Sitting on a cycle rickshaw Shrini and I moved to Balli Maaran. We got down at Ghalib Haweli and decided to take the permission of Fakruddin Saheb before clicking snaps. He did not remember me. Probably because there are so many visitors that it is just impossible to remember people. Shrini introduced herself as a student of media and said that he had to click snaps for an assignment. Fakruddin Saheb happily let her click snaps. When asked about “upstairs” he said, “There is nothing there. He lived here downstairs. Our ancestors stayed upstairs.” Then, to my surprise, he went on to quote a couple of couplets of Ghalib and said, “It feels so proud to say that Ghalib once stayed in the house that belongs to us.”

As Shrini and I walked towards Jaama Masjid I sang to myself a line from a ghazal of Ghalib:

Tumhee Kahoo Ke Yeh Andaaz-E-Guftagoo Kya Hai?

08 August 2010

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