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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.
 
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In this episode, we explore the many meanings and contexts of the word, 'Gulshan'. But before that, why don't you first think of your happy place? Tune in, to find out the relevance of a 'happy place' and 'gulshan'. Host, producer and audio editor: Fabeha Syed Editor: Shelly Walia Music: Big Bang Fuzz…
 
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 …
 
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.…
 
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 …
 
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 epi…
 
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…
 
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…
 
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 FuzzDoor The Quint
 
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 amuse…
 
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:…
 
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 …
 
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 n…
 
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…
 
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 res…
 
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,…
 
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 a…
 
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 - th…
 
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…
 
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…
 
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…
 
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 Nargi…
 
'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 th…
 
'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 'tagha…
 
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, whil…
 
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 pre…
 
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 clos…
 
‘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 with…
 
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…
 
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 hope…
 
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 …
 
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 subcon…
 
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 lockdow…
 
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 alon…
 
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 –…
 
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 …
 
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 -…
 
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 be…
 
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 …
 
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 Ordinanc…
 
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 h…
 
'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 De…
 
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