One of the most important voices in contemporary Indian poetry, Shahryar (1936-2012) casts a mesmeric spell since the publication of his very first collection, Ism-e Azam, in 1965. In a career spanning five decades, it is interesting how Shahryar always managed to remain topical and his poetry could always be called 'the call of the time'. This ability to remain relevant and to always have something to say consistently over a period of time is a singular quality. This book locates Shahryar's considerable body of work in the trajectory of contemporary Indian writings and evaluates his extraordinary contribution to not merely modern Urdu poetry but, more significantly, modern Indian poetry.
Shahryar: A Life in Poetry is a book which traces the life of Kunwar Akhlaq Muhammad Khan famously known as Shahryar written by Rakhshanda Jalil & published by Harper Collins. She is a writer, critic & literary historian and has published over 15 books and written over 50 academic papers and essays. She runs an organization called Hindustani Awaaz, devoted to the popularization of Hindi-Urdu literature& culture.
Born to a darogha in Bareilly district in 1930s Shahryar was destined to be in the police just like his father and brother. As he finished his primary education, he was sent to Aligarh for further studies where he was introduced to Urdu. With time the pressure to join the police also increased which compelled him to leave his home & continue his studies at Aligarh University, his friends helped him throughout while Khalilur Rahman Azmi gave him a place to stay & also encouraged his poetic talents to flourish. As we read further about his life we follow his journey from a young student to a famous poet, we see disagreement to be put into any kind of box & how he never let his art be constricted under labels. Get this book here to read the magnificent journey of not just an artist but also his art,
I am not a fan of poetry and I find it difficult to read such books because I don’t find all poems in any collection appealing. When I picked up this book I was quite worried that my bias would cloud my judgment but I think it didn’t. First of all, this book beautifully amalgamates the poems with the life story of Shahryar. The author has aptly translated the poems which honestly helped me a lot to understand certain Urdu words & maybe because of that I even liked reading it. The author mentions the ghazals, nazms & film lyrics and the story attached to them. The language used is simple yet elegant, the title & cover fits perfectly. In short, I think anyone who is interested to read about a different kind of poetry & the poet who wrote them should definitely pick this book up.