NIDA FAZLI --- A Great Human and a Poet Who stood for Secular Literature

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NIDA FAZLI --- A Great Human and a Poet Who stood for Secular Literature

( 12 Oct. 1938 ---- 8 Feb. 2016 )

A Tribute by Manish Modi


It has taken some coaxing to get me to write on the passing away of Nida Sahe. What could one possibly write about him, that has not already been written likeNida Fazli was a fine lyricist, a great man and an extraordinary poet.?


Along with Intezar Husein, ​Nida Fazli stood for secular Urdu literature. 

​People don't always grasp how nuanced secularism is and how difficult it is for people to stick their necks out in its favour. Even within minorities, there is a vociferous majority that expects others of its ilk to toe the line. Dissenters are not welcome. It is far easier to be part of the whole, to march with the crowd and beat the Lambeg drums that represent the opinions of the majority. 


Nida Saheb's writings reflect his deep-rooted stoicism and humanity. 

He would not 'play the game'. He refused to change sides just because it was expedient to do so. He had strong views on the partition of India, on how the nation ought to be run and on the distribution of wealth. And he stuck to his guns. Changes in the ruling party did not affect him in the least. He stated exactly what he thought. And such was his eloquence that even those who opposed him could not help but admire him. 


For people like us, who love both Hindi and Urdu, Nida's oeuvre reflects deeply Indian influences. He was a modern day Kabir. His writings came directly from the heart. His words compelled people to look inwards. He himself was above the narrow confines of religion and culture. Remarkably, he made his readers also rise above sectarian and communal boundaries and reach out to the transcendental self that is manifest within all of us. 


​I greatly regret that I had not met Nida Saheb earlier than the year 2000, when we were participating in a Book Fair held at Cross Maidan, near Churchgate. He had stumbled over to our bookstall and chatted amiably . His book AANKHON BHAR AAKAASH was launched there and it was a pleasure to see that it was well received. Thereafter, I touched base with him in the year 2014 or 2015 and then we began chatting casually on the phone,  occasionally texting/emailing each other.  I had begun translating and writing longish commentaries on his poetry. I would send the commentaries to him and he would bemusedly say, "Aapkii English kaafii achhii hai." {Your English is quite nice}. He was always generous with his shers. I would ring him and ask him to recite some shers for me to translate. He would do so quite willingly. I called him on various occasions and he always had appropriate shers ready for me. I would make it a point to send him all that I wrote and he was quite accepting of my interpretations which were admittedly offbeat. 


It was a privilege to have had such a deeply satisfying interaction with an undeniably a great writer. 


He has now joined the great Mushaairaa in the sky, no doubt sitting alongside Mir, Ghalib, Jigar, Josh, Daag, Faiz, Firaaq , Iqbal ,Majaaz , Shakeel, Sahir, Mehdi Alikhan etc. as an equal.

May his soul find eternal peace. 


~ Manish Modi, a reader and fan of Nida Fazli


Written by: 

Manish Modi


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