New Delhi: Unlock 1.0 has unleashed a slew of cases all over the country. Many celebrities and companies are using the advertisements to ask people to stay home. Though not only does Urdu poetry advise people to stay home, but it also captures the angst of social distancing and the overall pandemic.
Be it contemporary poets or the recent ones, the Rekhta Foundation — the organization which promotes Urdu, runs online repository of Urdu poetry through its website Rekhta.org, and organizes a three day annual festival Jashn-e-Rekhta — has compiled evocative and relevant lines in a video. That too, not just to entertain, but to extol the virtues of staying home during this pandemic.
It aptly begins with Bashir Badr’s lines that only rub salt on the wounds of handshake-less and hug-free prevalence of personal interactions.
Koi haat bhi na milayega
Jo gale miloge tapaak (excitement) se
Yeh naye mizaaj ka shehr hai
Zara faasle si mila karo
No one will shake hands
When embracing someone with excitement
Keep this new etiquette in mind
Maintain distance while meeting
Although Badr’s verses are ones of precaution, Jaun Eliya’s reek of doom and gloom as anyone could be a carrier of the corona virus. That too, because the slightest contact could result in transmission.
Ab nahin koi baat khatre ki
Ab sabhi ko sabhi se khatra hai
There is no need to fear danger
Everyone is now dangerous for each other
Etibar Sajid’s excellent words would probably be interpreted as him lamenting the physical as well as emotional distance of two acquaintances living in the city. However, corona has turned even those who harbor no ill-will towards each other into strangers.
Ek hi shehr mein rehna hai magar milna nahin
Dekhte hai yeh aziyat bhi gawara kar ke
Living in the same city, yet we do not meed
Yet we will have to live with this torture
Plus, the dreary and ghost-town like pall of gloom casted over cities could not be better symbolized with these Ishaaq Virdag gems below.
Bazaar hai khamosh to galiyon pe hai sakta
Ab sheher mein tanhai ka dar bol raha hai
The marketplace is silent and so are the alleys
Now the city’s fear of loneliness is speaking
Those sedentary, introverted folks for whom dressing to impress before various occasions was not a common affair, social distancing and the lockdown has not changed much. Although those missing such gatherings can take solace via the evergreen Nasir Kazmi’s verbiage.
Kapde badal kar baal bana kar, kahaan chale ho kiske liye
Raat bhot kaali hai Nasir ghar mein raho to behtar hai
Where are you off to with the fancy hair do and clothes
The night is no longer young Nasir, better to stay at home
If any poets really bring out the despondency of these corona-ridden times, it is the those who are currently living in them. Rather than directly attributing deaths to coronavirus, instead the human itself is a personification for this dangerous, life threatening disease. For Idrees Babar, that which is taking many lives is granted life-like qualities.
Tension se marega
Na corone se marega
Ek shakhs tere paas na hone se marega
Ab to mashkil hai kisi aur ka hona mere dost
To mujhe aise hua, jaise corona mere dost
One won’t die from tension
Nor from corona
But only from the one who is near
Now it is difficult for me to be someone else’s friend
You happened to just stumble upon me, just like corona