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In the 1940s and 1950s, Haji Laq Laq was an important name in Urdu Satire and journalism. His real name was Ata Muhammad Chishti. Why he adopted his pen name Haji Laq Laq is also an interesting story.
In 1914, during World War I, he joined the British Army as a clerk and moved to the Middle East. He lived in Iraq for many years where there is a bird like the Lam Dhing called Haji Laq Laq. Haji, because it migrated to other countries in particular seasons and returned after some time. Some Iraqis also opine that the bird actually goes for the Hajj. Since Ata Muhammad Chishti’s legs were long and so were the bird’s, people called him Haji Laq Laq. He had a bent towards poetry and literature since his childhood. Initially, he adopted the pen name of Abu al-Ala Chishti and also wrote fiction under this name. After he returned from Iraq, he got associated with the distinguished newspaper of that time called ‘Zamindar’. Then, he adopted the pen-name Haji Laq Laq. Besides Urdu, Persian and Arabic, he also knew English. His poetry, prose and newspaper columns were a good reflection of the political, social and literary situation of the time. He wrote a parody of a prevalent writing style of that time, called ‘Adab-e-Latif’ (fine literature), in the form of a book titled ‘Adab-e-Kasif’ (not-so-fine literature).
The sharpness of his satire rested mainly on his biting use of anagrams and word-play. ‘Minqar Laq Laq’ is his collection of parodies of the ghazals of famous poets.
Qais Banne se hum rahe ‘laq-laq’
Suit ko taar-taar kaun kare



Ascribed to the name of Raghupati Sahaye 'Firaq Gorakhpuri' is his distinct tone of poetry, deep affection for nature and beauty, interesting and unapologetic conversations, moody temperament, restless family life, and much more; something which has been extensively written about.
But did you know that after graduating in 1918, he was elected to the ICS and was also nominated by the government as Deputy Collector. But because he had joined the freedom struggle group, he resigned from the employement of the British Government. Firaq was also arrested in connection with boycotting the visit of the Princess of Wales to India. He was sentenced to one and a half years in jail and fined Rs. 500. He was in Agra Jail where there were also some other prisoners who, too, were fond of poetry and literature. Everyone got together and introduced the Tarahi Musharia to the jail. At the first Mushaira in the jail, Firaq memorably recited the following couplet from one of his Ghazals:

Ahl-e-zindaa.n ki ye mahfil hai subuut is kaa 'Firaaq'
ki bikhar kar bhi ye shiiraaza pareshaa.n na huaa

After his release from jail, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru made him the Under Secretary of the All India Congress Committee.
Later, Firaq became associated with the Allahabad University as an English Lecturer.


Mujra doesn't solely mean women singing and performing at gatherings for the entertainment of the audiences; something which is now considered a form of dance, thanks to Hindi movies. The word Mujra is also used in Urdu literature to mean Salaam (greetings), in the works of poets, in Urdu prose and in Hindi, it often appears in the same sense.
Ram Jharoke baith ke sab ka Mujra let
Jaisi jaakii chaakari waisa usko det
From the word Mujra, stems forth the word Mujra’i, that is one who greets or does the Salaam. This word has been used entirely differently in Urdu Marsiya (elegy). In the opening-verse of a Marsiya composed in the form of a quatrain, ghazal, or Qita the word Mujra or Salaam is used.
Hussain yun hue aye mujra’i watan se judaa
Ki jaise bulbul-e-naa-shaad ho chaman se judaa
Moreover, Mujra is also in the sense of computing and accounting. For instance, take the expression ‘Aap ke hisaab mein se itni raqam mujra kar dii gaii’, that is ‘your account has been deducted with so and so amount’.



The following incident is neither of contemporary rivalry nor of the difference between the poetry schools of Lucknow and Delhi, it’s about a misunderstanding between two poets from Delhi and Lucknow about a single couplet which remained a matter of concern for years. On the one hand, there was the famous Ustad from Lucknow, Aziz Lakhnavi, who even took under his wing poet Josh Malihabadi for a while, and on the other hand, there was Bekhud Dehlavi, who was considered the successor of Dagh Dehlvi.
At a Mushaira in Lucknow, where Bekhud Dehlavi was also invited, he read the following couplet among others:
Naa-Kamiyon mein guzri bad-namiyon mein guzri
Umr-e-Aziiz guzri sab khamiyon mein guzri
Also present at the Mushaira was Aziz Lakhnavi, who took the couplet as an attack on him. What followed was all the participants staring at Bekhud Dehlvi with angry eyes. When Bekhud came to know that his couplet was considered as a mockery of Aziz Lakhnavi, he apologized morally. But his apology was not accepted and all the poets of that time disdained him behind the scenes and this disdain did not go away from their hearts throughout their lives. When Bekhud saw his moral apology being rejected, he started reciting this couplet before reading out the rest of his poems at every Mushaira. This rose to crescendo where Bekhud was not invited at any Mushaira where Aziz was invited, and Aziz, too, avoided those Mushairas where Bekhud was invited.



Lutfullah Khan had recorded and preserved the recitals and discourses of 5,000 important personalities, singers, musicians, writers and poets over a period of half a century. Now this treasure has come to YouTube and gained worldwide fame. What is special about it is that many writers and poets have recorded things about themselves that are not found anywhere else. In this treasure, all of Faiz Ahmad Faiz's poems are present in his voice which he recorded in installments over a period of 25 years. Whenever he recited a new Nazm or ghazal, he would go and record it with Khan Sahib.
Lutfullah Khan (1916-2012), was born in Madras (Chennai). He lived in Bombay for ten years and after the partition of India he moved to Karachi where he owned an advertising company. From an early age he was fascinated with the fine arts and knew a great deal about music. He was a singer and photographer himself. He also used to write poetry in his youth. He is the author of several books based on music and his memoirs. In his book "Tamashay-e-Ahl-e-Qalam" he pens his meetings and memories with some famous writers and poets in a very interesting way in the form of articles.