Farewell to Rahat Indori

The death of renowned Urdu poet Rahat Indori on 11 August 2020 is an irreparable loss to Indian literature and the composite culture of our country. Born in Indore in 1950, we lost this scholar, poet and lyricist to the Covid19 virus suddenly and untimely. He was 69.

At a time when the centuries-old harmony and composite culture of our country is being destroyed by the politics of communal fascism, Rahat Indori ceaselessly raised his voice through poetry for HinduMuslim unity. His poetry was well known and loved by ordinary people on the streets.

The anti-CAA struggle that swept across the country also got inspiration from Rahat Saheb’s poetry. His lines ‘Sabhi ka khoon shamil hai yahan ki mitti mein/Kisi ke baap ka Hindustan thodi hai’ (This is a soil sustained by the blood of all/Hindustan is not the inherited paternal property of anyone) resonated with the movement against the CAA/NPR/NRC tool the Modi Government is using to strip Indians of citizenship based on their whims and prejudices. People in the movement used these lines from the same poem to speak truth defiantly to the fascist regime

Rahat Saheb faced death as a friend, writing ‘Ek hi nadi ke hai ye do kinare doston/Dostana zindagi mein maut se yaari rakho’ (These are two banks of the same river, my friends/keep friendship with Death while living and loving Life). Truly, the legacy of such a people’s poet can never die.

If they are against me, no matter
It's not a matter of monumental importance
All this that envelops us is mere smoke
Not the sky that envelops the world
If set afire, many a house will burn
My home stands not alone here!
The enemy is mighty, I know,
But he is not fearless of death as I am
What I utter is the truth,
My tongue speaks not your falsehoods
He who is lord of the kingdom today will not be tomorrow,
He too is a tenant only and not owner of any bequeathed mansion
This is a soil enriched by the blood of all,
Hindustan is not anyone's paternal property...

- Rahat Indori

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