Cult Urdu poet Rahat Indori, who had tested positive for coronavirus, passed away at an Indore hospital on Tuesday after suffering two heart attacks, according to the doctors. He was 70.
Mr. Indori had a 50-year career in poetry and was an Urdu scholar of great repute. He was regarded as one of the biggest mushaira (poetry symposiums) stars in the country and someone who fearlessly called a spade a spade.
Among the poet’s most powerful lines are “Sabhi ka khoon hai shamil yahan ki mitti mein; Kisi ke baap ka Hindustan thodi hai (Everybody’s blood mingles in the soil; Hindustan does not belong solely to one)”. The lines were used on posters and banners during the anti-CAA protests, pushing him to almost cult status.
Earlier this year, his poem “Bulati hai magar jane ka nahi” went viral on social media, making him a sensation among the youth. Memes using the poem’s opening lines were super trending on social media during Valentine’s Day.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi mourned the passing of “Indori Sahab” with a couplet.
Historian and author Rana Safvi termed the poet’s death a “huge huge loss to a fearless voice and to the world of poetry”.
In fellow poet Gulzar’s view, Indori was the soul of a mushaira. “Mushaira loot ke le gaye is a saying in Urdu. Toh Rahat saab mushairon ke lootere the (he stole the thunder at symposiums),” Gulzar said.
Lyricist-writer Javed Akhtar called Indori’s death “an irreparable loss” to contemporary Urdu poetry and society at large.
“Like Habib Jalib, he was from the fast disappearing tribe of poets who are never short of courage to call a spade a spade,” Akhtar said.
Lyricist Varun Grover called him a “rockstar of the Indian literary world” and prince of the “mushaira” tradition.
Indori wrote the lyrics of several songs, including “Chori Chori Jab Nazrein Mili” from Kareeb, “Koi jaye to le aye” from Ghatak , and “Neend Churai Meri” from Ishq.