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Rest in poetry, Rahat Indori: 'agar khilaf hain hone do'

It is with a heavy heart that we observe the passing of Rahat Indori saab today. A popular lyricist and Urdu Shaayar, he breathed his last today after contracting the deadly COVID-19 virus.

While his repertoire is impressive, buffeted by his expansive lehza during recitation, Indori’s anti-establishment shers have become anthems for the fight for justice and freedom in the recent (and not so recent) past. I remember my heart filling with courage and hope as I heard Zeeshan Ayyub reciting the nazm I share today at an event in support of Kanhaiya Kumar and Umar Khalid and other JNU students, who were being hounded by the government and the police in a travesty of justice and democracy. He ended the recitation of his favourite hindustani and urdu poetry with the legendary sher whose rebellious zeal strikes fear in the hearts of the oppressor: Sabhi ka khoon hain shaamil yahan ki mitti me Kisi ke baap ka hindustan thodi hai I can say with complete confidence that this last line has made an appearance in every rally and protest march/meet across the country in the last year alone, during the anti CAA/NRC movement. Truly, a voice of the people, Indori has been present at such protest sites as well, lending his strident voice, and speaking truth to power. Poetry fulfils its destiny when it takes flight from the page, and soars above the heads of the multitude, with their eyes trained to the horizon, and their hearts beating to the rhythm of its thunderous scansion. Rest in poetry, Rahat Indori.

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