Gulzar Dehlvi, the spirit of Urdu no more

By Firoz Bakht Ahmed

Firoz Bakht Ahmed

New Delhi: There can’t be a second Gulzar Dehlvi who was the crown of Urdu and the pride of the syncretic Ganga-Jamuni Tehzeeb, who, at 94, left for the heavenly abode. He is a Hindu Kashmiri Pandit; however,  he is counted among the best-known faces in Urdu and Persian poetry. Pandit Anand Mohan Zutshi Gulzar Nizami Dehlvi had just turned 94 and was going.

A couple of days ago, he was admitted to the Sharda Hospital for ten days by his son after he tested positive for Corona. However, he recovered but only for bidding farewell forever.  

  • Gulzar Dehlvi

“Just to seek light and serve the nation through pen and Urdu poetry” is the philosophy of life for Dehlvi, whose forefathers taught the Mughal princes and in the process won the title Rai Raiyan. 

Gulzar’s father

Gulzar’s father Qadir-ul-Kalam Allama (Pandit) Tribhuvan Nath Zar Dehlvi imparted education in Urdu and Persian in Delhi University for 39 long years and died at 94, just the same age as his son, Gulzar. 

“Mehboob-e-Zari Zarbakhsh, Khwaja-e-Rasteen, Mehboob-e-Khuda, Abul Wafa, Akkas-e-Sunnat-o-Fitrat, Aqrab-e-Khaleeq, Fana Fillah Baqibullah – these are some of the 101 titles given to Hazrat Nizamuddin Aulia by Dehlvi.

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Mohammed Atiq Siddiqui, convenor of Jashn-e-Gulzar Committee and editor of Al-Yaum Urdu newspaper, one told me that Dehlvi had no match when it comes to Urdu Qasidagoi and Masnavi, both genres of appreciating people and ideas. 

Gopi Chand Narang, president of the Sahitya Akademi, says Dehlvi was the national poet of India besides being an orator extraordinary owing to his qualities as a secular nationalist championing the cause of Urdu. Each year, he used to fast during every Ramzan for a day.

He hobnobbed with politics from 1937 to 1947. But politics was not his cup of tea. 

Nevertheless, he rubbed shoulders with the likes of Rajendra Prasad, Jawaharlal Nehru, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, Humayun Kabir, Aruna Asif Ali, Saifuddin Kitchlew, Maulana Hifz-ur-Rehman, Maulana Hussain Ahmed Madani, Lala Sham Nath and Indira Gandhi. 

40000 mushairas

Also popularly known in the Urdu circles as “Bulbul-e-Hind”, Imam-e-Urdu, Gulzar-e-Khusro, Shair-e-Qaum, Mujahid-e-Urdu and Tooti-e-Nizami, Dehlvi is credited with having arranged and attended about 40,000 mushairas (poetic gatherings) around the world.

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Since 1936, he has been on the panel of the Ramlila committee started by Bahadur Shah Zafar, the last of the Mughal emperors. 

The emperor had earlier granted the place for the Ramlila at the Bela Road ground. Ramlila later shifted to the Tis Hazari and Boulevard areas before finally settling at the present Ramlila Ground in 1936. 

A highly qualified individual with postgraduate degrees in law and business administration and a doctorate in Urdu, Dehlvi edited “Science ki Duniya”, the first Urdu magazine devoted totally to science.

World Peace Poetry Award

Dehlvi had been conferred the World Peace Poetry Award (Berlin), and honoured in places like Cleveland, Ohio, Atlanta, Indianapolis, Chicago, Columbus and Toronto, Lahore and Karachi. 

Before breathing his last, Dehlvi was busy compiling his own GhazalNazmRubayee and Qata, all forms of Urdu poetry portraying romance, mysticism, spiritualism, humanism and rebellious poetry into an autobiographical book. 

(Firoz Bakht Ahmed is a commentator on social, cultural and educational issues and Chancellor of MANUU. He can be reached at firozbakhtahmed08@gmail.com

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