Munir Niazi (1928-2006): Mohabbat abb nahiN ho gi

Posted on December 26, 2006
Filed Under >Adil Najam, People, Poetry, Urdu
34 Comments
Total Views: 70156

Adil Najam

Yet another stalwart of Urdu literature is no more. Munir Niazi passed away at the age of 78.

As regular readers of this blog know, Munir Niazi is a particular favorite of mine. We have written about him and his poetry earlier (wondering whether it was him in the wonderful re-making of Mehdi Hasan’s ‘yeh watan tumhara hai‘; in thinking about song and poetry; and in terms of his literary rivalry with Ahmad Nadeem Qasmi, who died just a few months before him). We will, no doubt, write about it again later.

His ‘mohabbat abb nahiN ho gi, yeh kuch din baad meiN ho gi’ and ‘humaisha dair kar daita houN meiN’ are especially poignant and I find his following Punjabi qata so often relevant to my own travails:

kujh unj we raawaN aukhiaN sann
kujh gall icch gham da tauq ve see
kujh shehr dey louk ve zalim sann
kujh sanouN marran da souq ve see

Yes, the path I chose was hard
Yes, there was the noose of grief around my neck
Yes, the citizenry was also so cruel
But, ultimately, we too wanted to get killed

(coloquial for the last line: ‘we were suckers for punishment’; this is NOT a translation, just conveying the essential meaning)

Another favorite of mine is the following:

Kisee ko apnay amal ka jawab kiya daytay,
Swal saray ghalat thay jawab kiya daytay

Here are the details of his passing from The News (27 December, 2006; excerpts):

Renowned Urdu and Punjabi poet Munir Niazi died of cardiac arrest at Jinnah Hospital on Tuesday. He was 78. Family sources said Munir complained of some breathing problem on Tuesday noon and was taken to Jinnah Hospital where his condition deteriorated rapidly and he died during treatment. His Namaz-e-Janaza will be held at Alquds Mosque, Sector A1, Township Lahore at 2.00 pm on Wednesday (today).

The only child of his parents, Niazi was born in Khanpur (Hoshiyarpur, Indian Punjab) on April 9, 1927. After the creation of Pakistan, the family migrated to Sahiwal and settled there. While living in India, Munir also served in the Royal Indian Navy for some time. Twice married, Niazi was issueless. He started as an editor of a newspaper “Saat rang” (seven colours). Niazi has to his credit 14 collections of poetry both in Urdu and Punjabi. Shy, soft-spoken and a person of few words and great self-belief, he was a poet of distinction.

Munir Niazi had a vision of hope and love for his country and its people. Love, he said, is the most enduring quality and poetry reflects the most sublime side of life. His poetry influenced an entire generation of young writers and poets and they should be grateful to him for having set such an exceptional and powerful style in poetry. His works include “Dushmanoon Key Darmiyan”, “Mah-e-Munir”, “Aghaz-e-Zamastan Main Dobara” and “Aik Musalsal.”

Equally proficient in Urdu and Punjabi, Munir Niazi’s poetry had great depth and he advanced the tradition of realism with great sensibility and force of imagination. Words were always slaves to his vision, creation and criticism. In the sixties he also contributed songs to Pakistani films. “Us baiwafa ka shehr hay” sung by the late Nasim Begum for the film “Shaheed” still stirs up memories of a period gone by…. The film industry had its own culture and cruelties. Munir once narrated that for his famous song “Us bewafa ka shahr hai aur ham hain dosto”, he was promised Rs 2,000 but received only Rs 200.

He is acclaimed as a trendsetter with his unique diction, style and thought-content and made an enduring contribution to literature of the post-Independence period. Munir deeply influenced his contemporaries and later generations of poets and is respected by the reading public. His works have been translated into many other languages. For his literary achievements Munir Niazi was awarded ‘Kamal-e-Funn Award for the year 2002 by Pakistan Academy of Letters and the ‘President’s Award for Pride of Performance” in 1992 and ‘Sitara-i-Imtiaz’ in 1998.

Munir Niazi’s poetry will, no doubt, live on.

34 responses to “Munir Niazi (1928-2006): Mohabbat abb nahiN ho gi

  1. Aman Tur says:

    Adat Hi Bana Li Hai Tumne To Munir Apni,
    Jis Sehar Mein Bhi Rehna Uktaie Hue Rehna

    The first introduction of Munir Sahib was through this ghazal (Bechain Bahut Phirna..) in Ghulam Ali’s melodious voice. May Allah rest him in peace.

  2. fahim ch says:

    can any body send me the complete munir niazi punjabi nazam :kujh unj v rahwan okhian sann”

  3. Zia Zafir says:

    Adil,
    The correct word is hisaab in the first misra of the following couplet.

    Kisee ko apnay amal ka (hisaab) kiya daytay,
    Sawal saray ghalat thay jawab kiya daytay

  4. Faraz Khalid says:

    hamesha dair kar daita houn mein…. is a wonderful poem. here’s my attempt at translating it in English:

    i keep delaying everything
    the thing I must say
    the promise I must obey
    the one I must call
    the one who turned away

    i keep delaying everything

    the shoulder I must offer
    the hand I must provide
    the long lost ways I must walk
    the one that I set aside

    i keep delaying everything

    the stroll in the varying seasons
    to please myself
    the remembrance of someone
    to forget someone else

    i keep delaying everything

    to save someone
    from sorrow till eternity
    to let someone know
    what was the reality

    i keep delaying everything

  5. -Farid says:

    I’ve known the last two lines of the qata for years but never knew the full thing, nor who wrote it.

    I just googled for “kuch sheher de lok we zalam sun” and lo and behold ! I’m back at Pakistaniat.

    Thank you so much for this post!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*