A Soldier of Love: Munawwar Rana
"Jab bhi kashti meri sailaab mein aa jaati hai
Maa dua karti hui khwaab mein aa jaati hai"
Born in the semi-bustling city of Rae Bareilly, Munawwar Rana has changed the shape of Urdu with his mesmerizing Ghazals. He has a distinct style and manner of recitation which has taken him across the World for attendance in poetic gatherings (mushaira). For a background, many of his close relatives moved across the border during the upheavals of the Partition. Munawwar Sahab’s father stayed in India despite the communal tensions that left generations tarnished.
A prominent feature of Rana Sahab’s poetry is that he reinvented the genre of ghazal by using it to rhapsodize the Mother. Usually, the ghazalis used by poets to depict lovers' conversing with each other. When questioned about this twisted usage, Rana Sahab said that as per norms, people use the ghazal to speak to their love and in his case it was his mother. He said that he learnt about life and its various faces from his mother which later allowed him to navigate through it with ease.
In his poems, Rana Sahab tends to use Hindi and Awadhi words, in addition to Urdu. He avoids the usage of grandiloquent language and is an almost non-user of pure Urdu in his couplets. This happens to be one of the reasons that he is also well known and invited to poetic meets or gatherings in non-Urdu speaking or writing areas as well.
Kaho Zille Ilahi Se,Ghar Akela Ho Gaya, Chehre Yaad Rehte Hain, Baghair Naqshe ka Makaan, Maa and Muhajir Nama are some of his works. Most of them have been published in Hindi, Urdu, Bengali and Gurumukhi. His memoir titled Munawwar Nama was also published in addition to poetic compilations. He is acclaimed for his sensitive yet effective style and has touched on topics which are brushed under the carpet, usually in the veil of culture and tradition. This aspect makes him a standout among his contemporaries.
A winner of several awards, he returned the Sahitya Akademi Award for Urdu Literature in protest towards the Government’s behavior. His most recent recitation was at a mushaira in Indore. It was organized as a tribute to his close friend and poet, Dr. Rahat Indori. Recently, this close friend of his passed away, leaving a gaping hole in the world of Urdu literature and poetry.
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