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Bollywood tunes make compulsive hummers out of us. But wait, do you know the meaning of every word you hum? Especially the ones in Urdu? Urdunama, with @FabehaSyed, takes one word at a time and we slice and dice it for you.
Aug 14, 2021
59: A Look at Freedom Through Poetry And What it Means to Have 'Azaadi'
As we celebrate India's 75th Independence Day, we reflect on what it truly means to be free. In this episode, we understand the theme of freedom - 'Azaadi', through the poems of Ali Sardar Jafri, Firaq Gorakhouri, and Faiz Ahmad Faiz. Tune in.
Aug 7, 2021
58: Explaining 'Fatah' and How the Winner Takes it All
In this episode, we talk about the theme of victory through literature and poetry. Tune in.
Jul 31, 2021
57: Mohd Rafi And His Honey-Laced Voice for Every Mood
Tune in as The Quint's Fabeha Syed pays a musical tribute to the man with a honey-laced voice.
Jul 24, 2021
56: How 'Tahayyur' is the Beginning of Wisdom?
In this episode, tune in to find out the meaning of 'Tahayyur', and what amazes the poets that they commit themselves to poetry.
Jul 10, 2021
55: Understanding the Theme of 'Intoxication' Through 'Saaqi'?
The word 'Saaqi' meaning the bartender, or someone who serves alcohol, is often been used by poets in different ways. For instance, in this ghazal by Jigar Moradabadi, the word 'Saaqi' is used to describe a leader or 'imam': ye hai mai-kada yahan rind hai yahan sab ka saaqi imaam hai ye haram nahin hai ai shaiḳh ji yahan paarsai haraam hai In this week's episode of Urdunama, we understand the theme of intoxication by exploring the oft-used word in Urdu poetry – 'Saaqi'. Joining The Quint's Fabeha Syed on the podcast is renowned poet Azhar Iqbal. Tune in. Host, Producer, and Audio Editor: Fabeha Syed Editor: Shelly Walia Music: Big Bang Fuzz
Jul 3, 2021
54: Raising the Voice and Standards – A Lesson in Poetry
In this episode, we explore the many meanings of having a 'voice', and using it for those who either don't have it or are often silenced by those in power. To make this podcast, we found it vital to refer to the poetry of stalwarts like Faiz Ahmad Faiz, Sahir Ludhianvi, Majrooh Sultanpuri, and Jaun Elia among others. Tune in.
Jun 26, 2021
53: RD Burman & Gulzar: Maestros And Their Masterpieces
In this episode of Urdunama, we remember legendary composer, Rahul Dev Burman, aka, 'Pancham Da', and his friendship with another legendary maestro, Gulzar. Host, writer, and audio editor: Fabeha Syed Editor: Shelly Walia Music: Big Bang Fuzz
Jun 19, 2021
52: 'Taraana' of Love is the Soundtrack of Your Life
In this episode, we explore the theme of Music through Urdu poetry, and what it is that makes the soundtrack of our lives. Tune in.
Jun 12, 2021
51: Don't Feel 'Tanha' In The Company Of Good Poets
In this episode, we explore the word 'Tanha' and understand the theme of loneliness in Urdu Poetry. Tune in.
Jun 5, 2021
50: You Described Urdunama As ‘Sukoon’, That De-Stresses & Heals
The Quint’s Urdunama turns 50 episodes old. On the 50th episode of your favourite podcast, we bring you a theme in poetry that you felt describes us the best – Sukoon. Sukoon means tranquillity, a sense of inner calm and peace, which, poets have described, comes as a result of acceptance and love. Tune in as Fabeha Syed recites Sahir Ludhianvi and Faiz – two of the tallest poets of the sub-continent who have left behind the legacy of advocating ‘sukoon’ through their art. Host, Writer, and Audio Editor: Fabeha Syed Editor: Shelly Walia Music: Big Bang Fuzz
May 29, 2021
49: Hope in The Time of Grief: What’s ‘Mumkin’ in Poetry?
Mumkin means possible, and possibility means imkaan — a remedy that brings relief to a grieving heart. In this episode, we explore how poetry could bring not just joy but also a relief to a troubled or grieving heart and therapy for our mental well-being. So, we thought what better way to understand the theme of possibility than poetry. In this episode of Urdunama, The Quint’s Fabeha Syed reads Allama Iqbal’s ghazal, ‘Sitaron se aage jahan aur bhi hain...’, Faiz Ahmad Faiz’s nazm, ‘Is waqt to yun lagta hai...’. She also catches up with poet and scholar, Maaz Bin Bilal, who reads Emily Dickinson's poem, 'I Dwell in Possibility' and explains it through his translation in Urdu. Tune in. Host, Writer, and Audio Editor: Fabeha Syed Editor: Shelly Walia Music: Big Bang Fuzz
May 22, 2021
48: Have The Courage Of Fulfilling Your 'Hasrat'
The word khwahish means desire, but when it's not fulfilled, it becomes 'hasrat' for the pining heart. In this episode of Urdunama, we understand how holding on to hasrat is a great way to accept life's uncertainties. Tune in. Host, Writer, and Audio Editor: Fabeha Syed Editor: Shelly Walia Music: Big Bang Fuzz
May 8, 2021
47: Be Fully 'Bedaar' If you Want To Dream
This Pandemic has taught us many lessons. One of them is to not be oblivious to the world that we are living in. How awake are we? To answer that, we have tried to explore the word 'bedaar' through Urdu poetry. After all, to be 'Bedaar' is to be alive. Tune in. Host, Writer, and Audio Editor: Fabeha Syed Editor: Shelly Walia Music: Big Bang Fuzz
May 1, 2021
46: Understanding 'Rahm' With a Little Help From Shakespeare
In this episode, we take help from Shakespeare to understand the 'Quality of Mercy'. We also wrap our heads around the cause of 'be-rahm', merciless pain, as compassion first requires one to be humble. Tune in. Host, Writer, and Sound Designer: Fabeha Syed Editor: Shelly Walia Music: Big Bang Fuzz
Apr 24, 2021
45: A Prayer Of 'Khair' In These Testing Times
With the Covid 19 surge this year proving to be deadlier than what it was the last year, we pray for 'khair' for everyone. Tune in.
Mar 20, 2021
44: Some of the Things That Made Poets Say, ‘Afreen’!
Written by Javed Akhtar, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan's iconic song 'Husn-e-jaana ki tareef mumkin nahi...' has always made us wonder about the word 'afreen'. 'Afreen' is an expression that is used to express our admiration for something or someone. And in this episode we dig deep, to find ways in which poets have written, praising about things that amused them and made them say, 'afreen'. Tune in. Host, Writer, and Sound Designer: Fabeha Syed Editor: Shelly Walia Music: Big Bang Fuzz
Mar 6, 2021
43: Gems Of Feminist Urdu Poetry This Women's Day
In this special episode of Urdunama, we bring you the poetry of Urdu's female poets. Poets like Ada Jafferey, Fehmida Riaz, Kishwar Naheed, Zehra Nigah, and Parveen Shakir, among others, bring female perspectives to a genre that is largely ruled by male poets. Tune in for some gems from these great women's shayari. Host, Writer, and Sound Designer: Fabeha Syed Editor: Shelly Walia Music: Big Bang Fuzz
Feb 20, 2021
42: Shayar-e-Inquilab Josh Malihabadi’s Poems Spoke To Those in Power
Author of the slogan that echoes in every protest, Josh Malihabadi was a poet who challenged the British in his fierce style of writing. The poet par excellence, Josh Malihabadi was also close to India’s first prime minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru who he considered his ideal. Josh was conferred Padma Bhushan in the year 1954. His fiery poetry was anti-establishment, anti-religiosity, and spoke directly to those in power. It is considered the blueprint for most resistance writing. In this episode, meet Josh, the fearless poet, who never compromised on his principles. Also, in the podcast, The Quint's Fabeha Syed explains Josh's iconic nazm, 'Shikast e Zindan Ka Khwab'. Tune in. Host, Writer, and Sound Designer: Fabeha Syed Editor: Shelly Walia Music: Big Bang Fuzz
Feb 5, 2021
41: Power, Protest & Poetry: Urdu Shayari & the Anatomy of ‘Ehtijaaj’
Bohot barbaad hain lekin sadaa-e-inqalaab aaye Wahin se vo pukaar utthega jo zarra jahaan hogaa This couplet by Ali Sardar Jafri points out the essence of the individual struggles in a revolution that brings people together who desire to change the society, a corrupt system, and so on. But every inquilaab comes only when there is the dissent that needs to be voiced. To celebrate this voice of resistance, Urdu shayari has given us gems in poets like Faiz’s, Jalib’s, and Kishwar Naheed’s poetry. For this episode, we have picked out some of the iconic nazms of these masters telling us the importance of dissent. Also, for this podcast, The Quint's Fabeha Syed spoke with activist and poet, Nabiya Khan, who dedicates her poem 'aayega inquilaab, pehn ke choorhi, bindi, aur hijaab' to the women of Kisaan Andolan. Host, Writer, and Sound Designer: Fabeha Syed Editor: Shelly Walia Music: Big Bang Fuzz
Jan 23, 2021
40: Urdu Poetry And The Idea Of 'Shifa' Or 'Healing'
As the world is rejoicing the arrival of many vaccine candidates in different countries, we take a look at the idea of recovery in Urdu poetry. In this episode, The Quint's Fabeha Syed recites Ghalib, Muztar Khairabadi, and also, Sahir Ludhianvi's nazm against the politics of religion, '26 January'. Tune in. Host, Writer, and Sound Designer: Fabeha Syed Editor: Shelly Walia Music: Big Bang Fuzz
Jan 9, 2021
39: Hope For A Better Tomorrow, A 'Tabdeeli', This Year
The journey we had in 2020, and the events we have witnessed is not something anyone of us would like to experience or go through again. Although, and overall the last year was full of trials in a way that demanded us to toss our freedoms aside, we learned many lessons. From forcing ourselves to adjust to the ‘new normal’, to finding freedom in restrictions, sailing through the year of a raging pandemic indeed feels like a rite of passage none of us was ready for. But hey, we did it. This episode of Urdunama is a celebration of the change or ‘tabdeeli’ that we have undergone. Yet, this year a lot still needs to change. Tune in to find out what ‘Tabdeeli’ is and what kind of change poets, Shakeel Badayuni, Jameel Mazhari, and Sahir Ludhianvi are looking for in people around them and in the society, at large. Host, Writer, and Sound Designer: Fabeha Syed Editor: Shelly Walia Music: Big Bang Fuzz
Dec 26, 2020
38: Poetry and A Prayer To Keep Safe & 'Salaamat' This New Year
Pandemic, Politics & Protests. These three words can sum-up what 2020 was like. An anxious heart wants to be assured that nothing from the previous year should follow us as we begin a brand new year. And what better way to start a new journey than prayers and hope for peace and strength? Join us as we read the poems of Sahir Ludhianvi, Ahmad Faraz, and Ali Sardar Jafri, to make sense of what 'amn' or 'peace' is. These poets tell us not just about friendships, but also, war and hatred, and guide us to keep safe and 'salaamat' from these two ills. Tune in. Host, Writer, and Sound Designer: Fabeha Syed Editor: Shelly Walia Music: Big Bang Fuzz
Dec 5, 2020
37: Poetry & ‘Kisan’: Iqbal, Majaz & Kaifi’s Healing Words For Farmers
Jis khet se dahqan ko mayassar nahin rozi us khet ke har khosha-e-gandum ko jala do Urdu poet and thinker Allama Iqbal is saying through this couplet that if the piece of land where the farmer grows his produce and other crops is not yielding him any income, it should not be of any use to anybody. With the country embroiled in protests by farmers against the Centre’s new farm laws, we take a look at some perspectives shared in Urdu poetry on issues concerning farmers. Works of Asrar ul Haq Majaz, Kaifi Azmi, and Allama Iqbal have continued to lend their voices for the cause of the people working in the largest sector of employment, ie, agriculture. Tune in as we explore some healing words of these masters. Host, Writer, and Sound Designer: Fabeha Syed Editor: Shelly Walia Music: Big Bang Fuzz
Nov 21, 2020
36: How Being a 'Beniyaz' Means Not Being In Any Need
Note: The difference between the pronunciations of 'marz' and 'maraz' is colloquial - while the former is technically correct, the latter is present in everyday usage. In a world where everything is moving so fast, where the sense of impermanence has only become deeper, most of us feel an intense urge to be able to control everything around us - things, feelings, even people. This can be exhausting. However, good things come to those who wait and keep calm. In this episode of Urdunama, we read you some mystic poetry by the great Classical poet, Khwaja Mir Dard, and try to understand if being a 'beniyaz', or someone who is not too concerned, could bring us peace and make us calmer. We also learn - with a little help from Zauq, Ghalib, Firaq, and others - the two different contexts of 'beniyazi' in poetry. Host, Writer, and Sound Designer: Fabeha Syed Editor: Shelly Walia Music: Big Bang Fuzz Listen to these podcasts for a better understanding of the word 'beniyazi': https:…
Nov 7, 2020
35: What Is Life Without 'Hausla'? These Ashaar Tell Us How Bold Is Beautiful
In this episode of Urdunama, we go back to poets like Faiz, Iqbal, Moradabadi, and others, for a lesson we need to refresh - bold Is beautiful. This podcast will help you pick up 'hausla' meaning 'courage', if you need some. Tune in. Host, Writer, and Sound Designer: Fabeha Syed Editor: Shelly Walia Music: Big Bang Fuzz
Oct 24, 2020
34: Ismat Chughtai: The ‘Buri Ladki’ of Urdu Fiction
Ismat Chughtai, nicknamed 'Lady Manto', wrote mostly about the Indian middle-class Muslim culture and domestic life. But, it's her work on the life of women, and their sexual problems, that she is most remembered for. Ismat ‘Apa’, as she was fondly called, wrote a short story called ‘Lihaaf’ on same-sex desire and attracted not only social backlash but was also dragged to court on charges of obscenity. In this episode, we revisit 'Lihaaf' and remember the real 'buri ladki' of the sub-continent – Ismat. Host, Writer, and Sound Designer: Fabeha Syed Editor: Shelly Walia Music: Big Bang Fuzz
Oct 10, 2020
33: Embrace Your Memories: Your Past, Your 'Maazi' Is What You Make Of It
Your past, your memories, our history. Without the past or our ‘maazi’, no art is possible. And as far as Urdu poetry is concerned, the source of inspiration has always been the beloved whom the poet reminisces about in ghazals. In this episode of Urdunama, we revel in some of the gems of shayari which remind us that if the past hounds with all its bitterness, then there is no point clinging to it. But, if you still have to endure that sour maazi, then become iron-willed. And as they say, ‘what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’. Tune in. Host, Writer and Sound Designer: Fabeha Syed Editor: Shelly Walia Music: Big Bang Fuzz
Sep 26, 2020
32: Lata Mangeshkar: Tale of a Chorus Singer Becoming the Crowned Queen of Melody
Trained at the age of five by her father and Marathi theatre star, Deenanath Mangeshkar, Lata Mangeshkar started her career as a child artiste and chorus singer in 1942. But it wasn't until the late 40s when she landed her first solo hit - 'Aayega, aayega aane wala..' from the film Mahal starring Madhubala and Ashok Kumar. Lata was praised by Nargis' mother Jaddanbai for her Urdu pronunciation of a word in this song, but she was earlier mocked for her Urdu by Dilip Kumar aka 'Yusuf Bhai', as she fondly called him. In this episode of Urdunama, we revisit and celebrate what made her the Queen of Melody – her grace while facing nasty rejections. Tune in. Vocals: Ushosee Pal Guitar: Nabarun Pal Host, Writer and Sound Designer: Fabeha Syed Editor: Shelly Walia Music: Big Bang Fuzz
Sep 12, 2020
31: Here Comes The 'Aaftab' Of Some Glowing Ashaar
'Aaftab' or the sun is the heart of the universe that keeps the solar system and its planets together. This huge glowing ball of gas is a star that symbolizes spirit, life, strength, triumph, energy and usually everything positive. In this episode of Urdunama, feel the radiance of some Urdu poetry that reminds you to face towards the 'aaftab' so that the shadows could fall behind you. Tune in. Host, Writer and Sound Designer: Fabeha Syed Vocals: Dr Junaid Alam, Mumbai based screenwriter, and a former RJ. Editor: Shelly Walia Music: Big Bang Fuzz
Aug 29, 2020
30: Dear 'Befikre' Or 'Ghaafil', You've Got A Message From Faiz & Iqbal
'Ghaflat' and 'Taghaful' mean 'carelessness' or 'ignorance'. In Urdu poetry, it is the poet's lover who is usually guilty of this and hence is called a 'ghaafil' - someone who is oblivious of the poet's feelings. However, Faiz Ahmad Faiz and Allama Iqbal have a different point of view. For them there are different reasons for the built-up of 'taghaful - one says its 'laziness', the other feels its 'arrogance' or 'indifference'. Tune in to know what is it that makes us 'befikre'. Host, Writer and Sound Designer: Fabeha Syed Editor: Shelly Walia Music: Big Bang Fuzz
Aug 15, 2020
29: Podcast | Remembering The ‘People’s Poet, Rahat Indori
Sabhī kā khūn hai shāmil yahāñ ki mittī meiñ kisī ke bāp ka hindostān thodi hai This is an oft-quoted sher in political discussions and protests, especially those opposing the Citizenship Amendment Act and the National Register of Citizens. It also found its way into Parliament, when it was quoted by All India Trinamool Congress’ Mahua Moitra, while giving her maiden address. She listed seven signs in her power-packed fiery speech to make her point that the country is moving towards fascism. Celebrating the poet, who spoke of the social issues threatening the secular fabric of India, this special podcast is a tribute by The Quint. Tune In. Host, Writer and Sound Designer: Fabeha Syed Editor: Shelly Walia Music: Big Bang Fuzz
Aug 8, 2020
28: Gulzar: Celebrating The Master And His Cocktail Of Words
In this special episode of Urdunama, we celebrate the legend - the man of golden words, a friend, and a father, Gulzar.
Jul 25, 2020
27: Urdunama: Meet Meena Kumari, The Poetess
Often dubbed as the 'tragedy queen' of Hindi cinema, legendary actor Meena Kumari was not only a powerful star but also a poetess. In this episode of Urdunama, we revisit the story of the tragedienne through her poetry. Also, featuring in this podcast is the famous Sufi singer, Rashmi Agarwal, who is the recipient of the Grand-Prix Award at the prestigious 9th International World Music Festival in 2013. Tune In. Guest: Rashmi Agarwal, Indian Sufi singer. Host, Writer and Sound Designer: Fabeha Syed Editor: Shelly Walia Music: Big Bang Fuzz
Jul 11, 2020
26: ‘Qurbaten’ – An Antidote to Loneliness When ‘Vasl’ Fails
The biggest tragedy for a poet is the absence of his lover in his life. That's why just the thought of a possibility of never-ending meetings with his beloved brings him a lot of relief. All he wishes, in his life, is to have nearness or qurbaten with his mehboob. For example, this sher does not have the word qurbat, but the poet wishes to get closer to his mehboob; Shakeel Badayuni writes: kaise kah duuñ ki mulāqāt nahīñ hotī hai roz milte haiñ magar baat nahīñ hotī hai The poet is complaining that he is not denying meeting his lover, it's just they don't exchange any greetings or speak to each other even though they meet daily. In this episode of Urdunama, we explain the meaning and context in which poets have used the word qurbaten. We also understand how another Urdu word, vasl – which refers to minimising the distance between the lovers – is different from the nearness or qurbaten that we are talking about. Tune in. Host, Writer and Sound Designer: Fabe…
Jun 27, 2020
25: Sometimes a Bit of ‘Takalluf’ is Just What is Needed to Form Bonds
‘kyā takalluf kareñ ye kahne meñ jo bhī ḳhush hai ham us se jalte haiñ’ In this sher, poet Jaun Eliya announces unapologetically that he feels jealous of those who are happier in their lives than he is. The word ‘takalluf’ means ‘formality’ or doing something with a bit of refrain, while its absence is called ‘be-takallufi’ or to say something without mincing any words. The above couplet is illustrative of how comfortable the be-takalluf poets like Jaun Eliya are with the word. In this episode of Urdunama, we explore how different levels of takalluf could mean different possibilities of connection among people. We also look at how hitting the awkward silence can be important before forging real bonds. Tune in. Host, Writer and Sound Designer: Fabeha Syed Editor: Shelly Walia Music: Big Bang Fuzz
Jun 13, 2020
24: Ranjish Hi Sahi... Why the Legacy of Ghazal Maestro Mehdi Hassan Lives on
For poets like Ahmad Faraz and Faiz Ahmad Faiz, Mehdi Hassan was the preferred voice for their ghazals. For Lata Mangeshkar, his voice was like the voice of God. For the Indian subcontinent, Mehdi Hassan was indeed the 'king of melody' who inspired scores of singers after him. For India, Pakistan and Nepal alike, Mehdi Hassan was unrivaled. Born in Rajasthan’s Jhunjhunu district, Hassan’s tryst with music began at the tender age of 6 under the tutelage of his father and uncle. After having trained for two years, he gave his first performance at just 8 in the court of Maharaja of Baroda. In this episode of Urdunama, we explore the musical journey of one of ghazal’s greats. Tune in. Vocals: Aditya Roy Host, Writer and Sound Designer: Fabeha Syed Editor: Shelly Walia Music: Big Bang Fuzz
May 30, 2020
23: ‘Shikwa’ Isn’t Just Complaint If You Let Urdu Poems Inspire You
In this episode of Urdunama , we learn the relevance of the word 'shikwa' or 'complain' which Urdu poets, like Jaun Eliya, believe is a great signifier of attachment and expectations. However, poets also warn that when the pain intensifies, and one goes through endless trials, the lamenting stops as well. And when it does, it takes the form of hopelessness. Which is why, we have curated a poetic remedy for a broken heart, prescribed by Urdu poets who tell us that it’s okay to complain a little as long as we know where it leads us to. Vocals: Ushosee Pal Guitar: Nabarun Pal Host, Writer and Sound Designer: Fabeha Syed Editor: Shelly Walia Music: Big Bang Fuzz
May 16, 2020
22: Let There Be Some 'Faasla' In Our Togetherness
What keeps people together? Some may say, 'its about staying close to each other at all times', but many poets will say otherwise. If there is poetry on vasl (union) and sensual proximity, a considerable number of ashaar also advocate the need for faasla or 'distance'. Poets have written about faasla as the remedy to prevent the relationships from collapsing under the weight of excessive familiarity, contempt, and boredom. In this episode of Urdunama, we explore the theme of ‘importance of distancing in relationships’ that brings one back to the oft-repeated quote from Khalil Gibran's The Prophet: 'Let there be spaces in your togetherness, and let the winds of the heavens dance between you [..] and stand together, yet not too near together: for the pillars of the temple stand apart...' Tune in and pay close attention to poets who are telling us to focus at a 'faasla' or 'distance', because that's where one gets the maximum depth of intimacy. Guest: Nomaan Shauq Host, Writ…
May 2, 2020
21: How India's Frank Sinatra, Talat Mahmood, Became The Voice Of Dilip Kumar in the 50s
If it wasn't for Talat Mahmood's soulful voice, Dilip Kumar wouldn't have become the undisputed 'King of Tragedy'. From 'Arzoo', 'Tarana' to 'Sangdil', and 'Babul', Talat Mahmood used to be the first choice of the directors for the voice of Dilip Kumar. If it wasn't for Talat Mahmood, Mehdi Hasan would not have become the ghazal great of the subcontinent. Also, referred to as the 'Frank Sinatra' of India, Talat Mahmood with his velvety voice became the first heartthrob of ghazal lovers, and ruled the Hindi film music industry in the 40s and the 50s. In this episode of Urdunama, we remember the first 'King of Ghazal' of the Hindi film music, and also a dashing actor who romanced actresses like Nutan, Suraiyya and Nadira. The Quint's Fabeha Syed caught up with journalist and Talat Mahmood's grandniece, Sahar Zaman, who tells what was he like - as a grandfather, a singer, an actor and a shy boy from Lucknow. Tune in. Vocals: Vikram Venkateswaran Guest: Sahar Zaman, Journalist…
Apr 18, 2020
20: If the Lockdown is Wearing You Down, 'Sabr' Is What You Need
Patience or 'sabr' is not just a word, but a practice. It could be understood as an inner mechanism that allows us to be accepting of everyday challenges without getting angry or agitated. If it's not for the hard times, we wouldn't have known what it means to practise 'sabr' or endurance. You may feel that your speed is slowing down in the lockdown. But the only way to keep going is adjusting your expectations, and trying to embrace the reality of life. Tune in for some ashaar of Anand Narayan Mulla, Parveen Shakir, and Josh Malihabadi. Also revisit 'The Tortoise and the Hare' in Urdu written by Ismail Merathi. Host, Writer and Sound Designer: Fabeha Syed Editor: Shelly Walia Music: Big Bang Fuzz
Apr 4, 2020
19: What is 'Noor' If Not The Light You Need to Fight Today's Darkness!
As the nation reels under a 21-day lockdown to contain the spread of coronavirus, most of us are confined to our homes, working from home, practising what has been touted to the safest measure to ward off COVID-19 – 'social distancing'. If, in self-isolation, there is ever a moment when you have felt hopeless about your future, then you aren't alone. In these testing times, it’s important to remember that the only way to fight the darkness is to find the light – or the 'noor' – of courage and hope. In this episode of Urdunama, we have tried to find some Urdu ashaar through which the poets tell us to seek the light or 'noor' within to face the trying times with resilience. Vocals: Gini Shah Guest: Noman Shauq, Poet & Journalist. Host, Writer and Sound Designer: Fabeha Syed Editor: Shelly Walia Music: Big Bang Fuzz
Mar 21, 2020
18: Don’t Lose Hope: Poetry Of ‘Aas’ is a Reminder – This Too Shall Pass
In a matter of weeks, the exponential rise of coronavirus cases has caused anxiety and fear over the world. A lot of us are, quite naturally, feeling uncertain about the future. It’s easy to feel despair and be hopeless – but remember, we are all in this together. So, hang in there! Tune in for some ashaar – from the likes of Ahmad Faraz and Faiz – that will give the warmth of hope, or aas, that we all are in need of. Host, Writer and Sound Designer: Fabeha Syed Editor: Shelly Walia
Mar 7, 2020
17: Sahir Ludhianvi: A Poet Who Sought Closure In Love With A ‘Khubsoorat Mod’
A poet, lyricist, thinker - Sahir, is not a man of a few words. His vast vocabulary not only borrows references from nature when he writes intimate love songs but also when he hopes for a better world, social justice, and equality: Hazaar barq gire, laakh andhiyan utthein Vo phool khil ke rahenge jo khilne wale hain. The magic of Sahir’s poetry is such that it traverses across the Urdu-Hindi barrier and across a range of complex human emotions. His nazms like Khoon phir khoon hai, Gandhi ho ya Ghalib ho, Wo subh kabhi to aayegi, are commentaries against social oppression and injustice which continue to resonate even today. In this episode of Urdunama, The Quint’s Fabeha Syed takes you through the life and time of Sahir Ludhianvi who is remembered for his evergreen songs like Kabhi Kabhi mere dil mein, Jaane kya toone kahin, Allah tero naam Ishwar tero naam, and many more. Meet Sahir in this special podcast. Host, Writer & Sound Designer: Fabeha Syed Vocals: Vikram Venk…
Feb 22, 2020
16: The Magic of Dawn: 'Sahar' and 'Sehr' in Urdu Poetry
In most languages, there are those confusing words that have similar pronunciation but are different in both meanings and spellings. So if you stumble upon some homonyms in Urdu which make you scratch your head, say no more. We got you covered. In this episode of Urdunama, The Quint’s Fabeha Syed explains the case of almost similar sounding words - ‘sahar’ which means ‘dawn’, and ‘sehr’ meaning ‘magic’. Also featuring in this podcast is a journalist and poet Noman Shauq who not only shares with us some of the gems of Urdu poetry but also tells us who did Faiz Ahmad Faiz write “ye sahir aankhein” for in his poem Raqeeb Se. Tune in. Sound Designer, Producer, and Host: Fabeha Syed Guest: Noman Shauq Editor: Shelly Walia
Feb 8, 2020
15: Urdu Poetry And The Strength of Our Choices – Our 'Intikhab'
Intikhab means ‘election’ or ‘selection’. Many Urdu poets have written about their intikhab of something when they are faced with tough choices. Mostly its when they hold someone or something like a memory in high regard. For example, Urdu poet Mir Taqi Mir, who shifted to Lucknow after Ahmad Shah Abdali’s invasion of Delhi, reminisces about his beloved city by calling it the ‘chosen place in the world for the nobility’. Mir writes: Dilli jo ek sheher tha aalam mein intekhaab Rehte the jahan muntakhib hi rozgar ke Tune in to this episode of Urdunama where Fabeha Syed not only explains Mir’s above ashar, but also explains various contexts - from political to personal - in which the word intikhab has been used by the poets. Host, Writer and Sound Designer: Fabeha Syed Editor: Shelly Walia Music: Big Bang Fuzz
Jan 14, 2020
14: The True Legacy of Kaifi Azmi: Poetry of Romance and Revolution
On 14 January 1919, Urdu poet Kaifi Azmi was born into a family of zameendars of Mizwan – a small village in the district of Azamgarh, Uttar Pradesh. While the usual worries that grip every child’s heart are either about what, where or with whom to play, Kaifi’s anxieties lay elsewhere. One of the couplets from the first ghazal he wrote at the age of 11 shows the genius of a child prodigy that he was. Itna toh zindagi mein kisi ki khalal pade, Hasne se ho sukoon na rone se kal pade With his deep understanding of the tragedy of human life and its expectations, Kaifi became the voice of the voiceless – of the marginalised. His poetry talked about social justice, equality of opportunities, and gender justice. On his birth anniversary on 14 January, we remember the progressive writer, who was both a revolutionary and a romantic. Tune in to listen to the new episode of the podcast series – Urdunama! Host, Writer and Sound Designer: Fabeha Syed Editor: Shelly Walia Mus…
Jan 4, 2020
13: Explained: Faiz Ahmad Faiz’s 'Hum Dekhenge' And The Power of Eternal Truth
Faiz’s iconic poem ‘Hum Dekhenge’ has always been borrowed by protesting voices across the globe. The poem calls out the oppressors of every age, ideology and society. The poem was written as a mark of protest against the regime of Pakistani dictator Zia-ul-Haq, whose government was communal and regressive. A set of laws called the ‘Hudood Ordinances’ was the central policy of his government to ensure proper ‘Islamisation’ of Pakistan. Hudood, or Hadd, means ‘limits’, and the law ordered the people of Pakistan to identify and remain well within the limits defined by the government. It is this religious fundamentalism that prompted Faiz to pen ‘Hum Dekhenge’ — a song that has since been the voice of Inquilaab or revolution. Recently, this piece of poetry found its critics who alleged that the poem has an orthodox Islamic character because of a few lines written in it. In this episode of Urdunama, The Quint’s Fabeha Syed explains the poem for you. And h…
Dec 26, 2019
12: From Agra to Balli Maran, Tracing the Journey of Mirza Ghalib
Mirza Ghalib - who is to Urdu literature what Shakespeare is to English - whose poetry has continued to find admirers even a century and a half later when he is no more. Born in 1797 in Agra, Mirza Asadullah Khan Ghalib moved to Delhi wherein the court of the last Mughal emperor, Bahadur Shah Zafar, his talents found new heights. These heights of his literary brilliance often prod you on a deeper level and make you wonder. ‘Did Ghalib ever write about politics?’, ‘how can his poems be interpreted as literature about God?’ Most importantly, ‘did he - the baadah-khwaar or the wine drinker - ever believe in God?’ All these questions won't be tossed away unanswered in this very special podcast- a masterclass featuring author Maaz Bin Bilal. Maaz who took upon himself to translate some of Ghalib’s ghazals in his book Ghazalnama - Poems from Delhi, Belfast and Urdu, decodes Ghalib’s ‘Ye na thi humari qismat ...’ Guest: Maaz Bin Bilal Host, Writer and Sound Design…
Dec 22, 2019
11: Noor Jehan, Lata Mangeshkar and Their Eternal Friendship
'Madam' Noor Jehan was perhaps one of the earliest stars of Hindi cinema. She later migrated to Pakistan. The cleft-chinned darling of the newly formed Pakistan, Noor Jehan was not only a singer and an actor admired by her audience, but also respected by even the great poets and artistes of both the countries. On her 93th death anniversary on 23 December 2019, find out why Urdu poet Faiz Ahmad Faiz gifted Noor Jehan one of his nazms, why Dilip Kumar had a reverential respect for his Jugnu co-star, and why there was a deep sense of affection and respect between the two Queens of Melody – Lata Mangeshkar and Noor Jehan. Catch all this and more in this special Urdunama podcast on Noor Jehan. Host, Writer and Sound Designer: Fabeha Syed Editor: Shelly Walia Music: Big Bang Fuzz
Dec 7, 2019
10: Why 'Justuju' or Longing Is Actually the Essence Of Life
In this episode of Urdunama, find out how our Justuju or desire for better things is actually the essence of our lives. Our aspirations, goals, and all the planning we do to achieve them prepares us for the great scheme of things in our lives. Urdu poet Altaf Hussain Hali has written about this thought in this beautiful couplet. Hai justuju ki khoob se hai khoob tar kahaan, ab theherti hai dekhiye jaakar nazar kahan. The first line says that the heart is always on the quest to find the best of the best things. We always have another desire even before having achieved the one that hasn't yet been fulfilled. In the second line, the poet wonders that at what point will all his longings stop. Tune in. Host, Writer and Sound Designer: Fabeha Syed Editor: Shelly Walia Music: Big Bang Fuzz
Nov 8, 2019
9: From Patangbaazi to Ishqbaazi, Learn the Words ‘Baazi’ Can Make
From patangbaazi (kite flying or kite making) to bahaanebaazi (making excuses). The Urdu word baazi, which literally means a game or a bet, has been used as a suffix creating more colourful words than one can imagine. Naarebaazi, which means sloganeering, ishqbaazi which is romancing (someone), pangebaazi which is being up to some mischief... the word is immensely dynamic. In this episode of Urdunama, we explore some baazi words – their interesting origins, histories, and usages. Tune in. Host, Writer and Sound Designer: Fabeha Syed Editor: Shelly Walia Music: Big Bang Fuzz
Oct 26, 2019
8: This Diwali, Revel in Dastan-E-Ram, The Story of Ram in Urdu
Hai Raam ke wajood pe Hindustaan ko naaz Ahl-e-Nazar samajhte hain us ko Imam-e-Hind The above couplet is from Allama Iqbal’s poem ‘Ram’. Iqbal asserts that Ram is the leader of not just one particular faith, but he paves the way for everyone to the path of spiritual success. He calls Lord Ram, ‘Imam-e-Hind’ or the leader of all of Hind or Hindustan. This Diwali, we remember Ram through the prism of our shared culture and Urdu poetry. In this special episode of Urdunama, Professor Danish Iqbal who teaches Radio in Jamia Millia Islamia speaks with The Quint’s Fabeha Syed about why he chose to write ‘Dastan-e-Ram’ and why this project is a lot more than just a Ramlila that's written in Urdu.
Oct 18, 2019
7: Why Do We Take Our 'Arziyan' to God When He's Within Us?
Arzi means an application or a request; the word arziyan, in Sufi poetry, is a medium which makes one feel close to God. However, here’s a question: Why do we need arziyan when God is everywhere? In this episode of Urdunama, we try to answer this. From reading Mallik Mohammad Jayasi’s poem ‘Padmavat’ to drawing parallels between ‘Aham Brahamasmi’ and ‘Ana-al-haq’ in Indian philosophy, this episode of Urdunama attempts to understand if it’s arziyan which help one reach God or the guru who does. Professor Abdul Bismillah features in the podcast, and elucidates how arziyan has no place in Sufi thought and the guru, in fact, is the bridge between man and God. Further, listen to Sufi singer Dhruv Sangari Bilal Chisti talking about why arziyan is a sacred word for him. Featuring Sufi Singer Dhruv Sangri Bilal Chishti and Professor Abdul Bismillah. Editor: Shelly Walia Podcast Editor, Producer, and Host: Fabeha Syed
Oct 1, 2019
6: Do You Know the Real Dastaan-e-Gandhi?
Have you heard the Dastaan-e-Gandhi? ‘Dastaan’ means ‘story’. Gandhi means....well...Mahatma Gandhi. The '-e-' sound in the word ‘Dastan-e-Gandhi’ means ‘of’, that’s used to join these two words. On this special edition of Urdunama, we bring you Dastaan-e-Gandhi, the story of Mahatma Gandhi’s return to India and his journey from being an ordinary man to the man India calls ‘Mahatma’. To the uninitiated, a dastaan is a verbally recited epic that has its origins in dastangoi – a 13th century storytelling artform performed by a skilled dastango (storyteller). Dastaan-e-Gandhi has been performed by dastango Firoz Khan and written by Danish Iqbal. We spoke to Danish Iqbal on this podcast.
Sep 20, 2019
5: Remembering Poet Mir Taqi Mir – The Man Who Shaped Urdu
Fabeha Syed catches up with Delhi University professor Dr Najma Rehmani. She talks about poet Mir Taqi Mir who provided a window to 18th century Delhi with his politics, love, loss, and his feelings for an attaar ka launda (son of a perfumer).
Sep 14, 2019
4: Mukammal Jahan Nahi Milta, But Can You Get Close Enough?
‘Mukammal’ means complete, or perfect. We tend to believe that adding something special to our life – like a dog to our family, a new skill, or a new goal – will make our life ‘mukammal’, or complete. While thinking so, we are hoping for our life to look better than it does right now. It’s one thing to aspire to have things, qualities and people who add meaning to your life and make it mukammal. But it’s a different story when we don’t make it. So, what is it that makes your life complete, makes you feel mukammal already? Listen to the latest episode of Urdunama with Fabeha Syed. Also, listen to poet Noman Shauq reciting some of the mukammal ashaar for you.
Aug 30, 2019
3: Who's The 'Rashk-e-Qamar' In Your Life?
Qamar, Mah, Mahtaab, are different ways to refer to the moon in Urdu. In this episode of Urdunama learn about how the 'moon' has been used as an expression of beauty in Urdu poetry. Poet Azhar Iqbal talks to The Quint's Fabeha Syed, and recites some of the moon-lit ashaar for you.
Aug 14, 2019
2: Inquilab Zindabad: Revisiting Bhagat Singh’s Slogan This 15 August
Revolution usually comes into play when reform is desired, to change one's personal life for the better. On a social level, it addresses oppression and exploitation. Learn the meaning of 'Inquilab', Poetry of Resistance aka Inquilabi Shayari and more in this episode of Urdunama.
Aug 2, 2019
1: Urdunama: How 'Mukhtasar' Is Our View of Life
Are the memories of the relationship you had for a 'Mukhtasar' time now haunting you? Is that affair you had for a 'Mukhtasar' period not letting you move on? In this episode of Urdunama, The Quint's Fabeha Syed explains the importance of everything that's 'Mukhtasar' in our lives – how to embrace it if it nurtures, and how to avoid it if it pricks.