New Delhi: Noted Urdu poet and lyricist Rahat Indori passed away on Tuesday afternoon at Indore in Madhya Pradesh. He was 70 years old.
After testing positive for COVID-19, Indori had been admitted to Indore’s Sri Aurobindo Hospital. His official Twitter account noted that he breathed his last at 5 pm.
Earlier in the day, a tweet from his account said, “After initial symptoms, I got tested for [coronavirus] and the result is positive, and I have been admitted to Aurobindo Hospital. Please pray for me that I defeat it at the earliest.”
In the earlier tweet, he had requested for privacy.
Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan has expressed his grief. Calling it an irreparable loss for the state as well as the country, the chief minister tweeted, “I pray to God for the peace of his soul and for power to his family members and admirers so they can bear with the great grief of the loss.”
अपनी शायरी से लाखों-करोड़ों दिलों पर राज करने वाले मशहूर शायर, हरदिल अज़ीज़ श्री राहत इंदौरी का निधन मध्यप्रदेश और देश के लिए अपूरणीय क्षति है। मैं ईश्वर से प्रार्थना करता हूँ कि उनकी आत्मा को शांति दें और उनके परिजनों और चाहने वालों को इस अपार दुःख को सहने की शक्ति दें।
— Shivraj Singh Chouhan (@ChouhanShivraj) August 11, 2020
Indori was a celebrated poet and had authored more than half a dozen collections of poetry. He was popular at mushairas, and was a noted presence at kavi sammmelans. His fan base extends not just across India but beyond, among Urdu-Hindi poetry lovers as well.
In recent times, his couplet,“Sabhi ka khoon shamil hai yahan ki mitti mein /kisi ke baap ka Hindustan thodi hai” had become the go-to slogan for protesters agitating against the Citizenship Amendment Act and National Register of Citizens. Loosely translated, the couplet means that this country belongs to everyone and is not anyone’s ancestral property.
“sabhi ka khoon shamil hai yanah ki mitti mein /kisi ke baap ka Hindustan thodi hai “
— Mahtab महताब مہتاب (@MahtabNama) August 11, 2020
In 2015, during the “award wapsi” movement in the wake of the mob lynching of Mohammad Akhlaq in Dadri, Uttar Pradesh, he had announced his support by saying, “If I had some government award, I would have returned it in protest.”
As per media reports, he had said that “whatever is happening in the country is not good.”
Expressing his grief, poet and lyricist Javed Akhtar compared Indori with the revolutionary Pakistani poet Habib Jalib. “Like Habib Jalib, he was from the fast-disappearing tribe of poets who are never short of courage to call a spade a spade,” tweeted Akhtar, adding that “Rahat Saheb’s demise is an irreparable loss for contemporary Urdu poetry and our society at large.”
Rahat Saheb’s demise is an irreparable loss for contemporary urdu poetry and our society at large . Like Habib Jalib he was from the fast disappearing tribe of poets who are never short of courage to call a spade a spade .
— Javed Akhtar (@Javedakhtarjadu) August 11, 2020
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi has also tweeted on the passing of the poet, quoting a couplet by Indori.
“अब ना मैं हूँ ना बाक़ी हैं ज़माने मेरे,
फिर भी मशहूर हैं शहरों में फ़साने मेरे…”
अलविदा, राहत इंदौरी साहब।
— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) August 11, 2020
Among the many film songs Indori wrote lyrics for are Munnabhai MBBS, Mission Kashmir and Ishq. He is survived by his wife and four children.