AKBAR HUSSAIN AKBAR ALLAHABADI (1846-1921)
Akbar was born at Bara, near Allahabad. He received his early education at the Mission School Allahabad. Thereafter he studied law and worked for a while as a practicing lawyer, and later became a Sessions Judge. Here is a sample of his self- satirical humor which was his forte:
Paida hua wakil tau shaitaan ne kaha:
Lo, aaj hum bhi sahib-e-aulaad ho gaye.
When the lawyer was born, Satan thus remarked:
Lo, I too have been blessed with a son, at last.
As already said, Akbar is a pioneering poet of humor and satire in Urdu poetry. He is a social reformer and a champion of the Eastern moral values.
His reformist zeal works through the medium of wit and humor. The following rubai is a fine example of Akbar’s theme and style:
Chhor literature ko, apni history ko bhool ja,
Sheikh-o-Masjid se taalluq tark kar, iskool ja,
Chaar din ki zindagi hai, koft se kya faaeda,
Kha double roti, clerky kar, khushi se phool ja.
Forget about literature, history over-rule,
Break with the priest and mosque, go, attend the school,
Short is the spell of life, why sweat and slog?
Feed on bread, become a clerk, enjoy to the full.
Akbar sought pre-mature retirement from his government job, and led quiet sequestered life in his old age. He died in 1921 at the age of 75.
Delhi Durbar — 1901
Spurred by the sight-seeing spree,
We too went to see Dilli.
Saw the Jamuna’s broad span,
And its banks spic and span.
Also saw the Qutab Meenar,
And the visiting Duke Connaught;
Saw the regiments marching past,
The blacks and whites we saw enmasse.
Bayonets sharp, spears and spikes,
Bands playing on drums and fifes.
We saw the tuscans huge, obese,
Heavy-footed, slow in speed.
Golden trappings, scattering rays,
Razzle-dazzle all the way.
The roads paved with gravel red,
Jostling crowds choking breath.
Sar mein shauq ka sauda dekha,
Dilli ko hum ne bhi ja dekha.
Jamuna ji ke paat ko dekha,
Achhe suthre ghaat ko dekha.
Sab se oonche laat ko dekha,
Hazrat duke Connaught ko dekha.
Paltan aur risaale dekhe,
Gorey dekhe, kaale dekhe.
Sangeenen aur bhaale dekhe,
Band bajaane waale dekhe.
Haathi dekhe bhari bharkam,
un ka chalna kam kam, tham, tham.
Surkhi sarak par kut-ti dekhi,
Saans bhi bhir mein ghut-ti dekhi.
Delhi Durbar 191 1
We too have seen the sights of Delhi, where we stayed for a couple of days,
A congregation of assorted type, was ordered by the ruling race.
Houses fully decked up, men, animals and machines,
Bloom and verdure, rail and telegraph, flash, flare and sheen.
Kerosene and electricity, turpentine, petrol,
Airplanes and motor-cars, power-dazzled folks.
Eastern men, clad in pants, obsequious in their role,
Western men with confidence and self-pride aglow.
The seat of pride and power, the emperor scattering grace,
While the goddess of pelf and power, the empress, ruled the stage.
The sea of life was yawning wide, from end to end upbeat,
The waves of Thames and Yamuna were hand in glove indeed.
Many a colorful map depicted sights of the changing times,
The garden of the world presented a lesson for the pensive minds.
Dekh aey hum bhi do din rah ke Dilli ki bahaar,
Hukm-e-haakim se hua tha, ijtema-e-inteshaar.
Aadmi aur jaanwar aur ghar mazznyan aur machine,
Phool aur sabza, chamak, aur roshni, rail attr taar.
Kerosene aur barq aur petroleum aur taarpeen,
Motor aur aeroplane, aur jamghate aur iqtedaar.
Mashriqi patloon mein thi khidmat guzaari ki umang,
Maghribi shaklon se shaan-e-khudpnsandi aashkar.
Shaukat-o-iqbal ke markiz, hazoor-e-emperor,
Zeenat-o-daulat ki devi, empress aali tabaar.
Bahr-e-hasti le raha tha be daregh angraaiaan,
Thames ki imwaaj Jamuna se hui thein hum kinaar.
Inqilaab-e-dahar ke rangeen naqshe pesh the,
Thi pai-e-ahl-e-baseerat bagh-e-ibrat mein bahaar.