Atul’s Song A Day- A choice collection of Hindi Film & Non-Film Songs

Taskeen e dil e mahzoo na huyi

Posted on: December 5, 2013

This article is written by Sadanand Kamath, a fellow enthusiast of Hindi movie music and a regular contributor to this blog. This article is meant to be posted in If this article appears in sites like and etc then it is piracy of the copyright content of and is a punishable offence under the existing laws.

shahar ki raat aur main naashaad o naakaara phiroon
jagmagaati jaagti sadakon pe aawaara phiroon
ae gham e dil kya karoon
ae vahshat e dil kya karoon

This is the mukhda of a very popular song from the film ‘Thokar’ (1953). Most of the lovers of old Hindi film songs would know that the song was rendered by Talat Mehmood and there is a version song sung by Asha Bhonsle. Many among them may also be aware that the song was composed by music director Sardar Malik. But I am not sure as to how many would to know the name of the poet who created this beautiful nazm of despair and loneliness. I was one among them. Many years later, I came to know that it was the creation of Majaz. Then the next question – who was Majaz?. I had no inclination then in seeking an answer to this question.

Last year, I watched on YT, all episodes of Ali Sardar Jafris’s TV serial ‘Kahkashan’, depicting the life of six famous Urdu poets of 20th century. The serial was telecast on Doordarshan sometime in 1991-92. I was deeply moved by the lives of these great Urdu poets, especially of Majaz Lucknowi whose life was full of tragedies. That this promising poet’s end came at an young age in a bizarre circumstances was heart touching for me.

From ‘Kahkashan’ I came to know that ‘ae gham e dil kya karoon’ was from Majaz’s nazm Aawaara with 15 verses which was published in 1938. Incidentally, a part of the nazm was first used for a song composition by music director S K Pal in the film ‘Ghulami’ (1945) which was sung by Renuka Devi and Masood Parvez. One of his ghazals ‘main aahen bhar nahi saktaa’ was used for a song in ‘Aasmaan Mahal’ (1965).

Majaz Lucknowi (real name Asrar ul Haq also written as Asrar ul Haq ‘Majaz’) was born in October 19, 1911 in Rudauli (close to Lucknow, now in Faizabad district, UP) in a wealthy landlord family. One of his sisters, Safia was married to Jan Nisar Akhtar, also a poet and lyricist for Hindi films. His nephew Javed Akhtar is a well known poet-activist apart from being a s story/dialogues writer and lyricist in Hindi films.

After completion of his high school in Lucknow, Majaz joined St. John’s College, Agra in the science stream. It was here that he got hooked to alcohol. Obviously, he failed in the exam. Worried by his poor performance in the college, his father got him admitted to Aligarh Muslim University in Arts stream. Here he came into contact with some progressive Urdu writers and poets like Ali Sardar Jafri, Jaan Nisar Akhtar, Moin Ahsan Jazbi (I remember him for marne ki duaayen kyun maangoon jeene ki tammana kaun kare) who were his peers. But they were all left in the background by Majaz’s popularity in the college. His charming personality coupled with his romantic poetry made him the heart throbs of many girls in Aligarh Muslim University. I think, his days in Aligarh Muslim University were the best part of his life.

After completion of his graduation, he got a job in All India Radio, Delhi as an Assistant Editor of AIR’s Urdu journal ‘Aawaaz’. During this period, he fell in unrequited love with a wealthy married woman who was his diehard fan. This one sided love affair was bound to fail. Under pressure from the husband, she kept a distance from Majaz. Whatever the circumstances of failed love, the aftermath of this affair caused a huge emotional upheaval in him. During the same time, he had differences with the Station Director of AIR Delhi. With this background, he quit his job at AIR, Delhi and went back to Lucknow with a broken heart. What followed was a long stint of alcoholism, self destruction and a directionless life. ‘Maut uski maashooqua bani’ ( death became his lover) as Sardar Ali Jafri recalls.

Being a hyper sensitive in nature and by his compulsive drinking, in early 1940s, Majaz got a nervous breakdown. With a prolonged treatment, he was partly cured. His parents then thought of finding a suitable girl for him to settle down in his life. But with this background, it was difficult to find a girl for him. The girls who once adored him, found him to be a penniless and an insane person. One marriage proposal which was about to get fructified was rescinded when the parents of the girl became aware of his background.

During his turbulent period, Ali Sardar Jafri took Majaz to work in his periodical ‘Naya Adab’ in Lucknow. He also worked for sometime in Bombay Information Bureau in Bombay (Mumbai) and in Harding’s Library in Delhi as Assistant Librarian. But his tryst with alcohol ensured that he did not stick to his job for a long time. He was seen wandering in the by lanes of Lucknow and Delhi fully drunk. The fans who were his financiers of drinks were his constant companions and they felt that he was ‘normal’ and at his best when drunk in reciting his poems and in his witty repartees.

Sometime in the later part of 1940s, Majaz got another attack of insanity. It is said that following independence, he witnessed people being killed during the communal riots which triggered his insanity to resurface. Josh Malihabadi got him admitted to a mental hospital in Ranchi. After the release from the hospital, he resumed his usual activities – spending time with his fans with drinks and poetry. For him, alcohol had become more of a necessity than food and sleep. He knew his mother did not like him coming home fully drunk. So he used to reach home very late by which time his mother would be asleep. She would keep his dinner in his room with 4 anna (25 paise) coin. His regular cycle rickshaw driver would pick him up from the maikhana (bar), drop him at the home and take 4 annas as fare.

Probably, with the popularity of the song ‘ae dil e gham kya karoon’ from ‘Thokar’ (1953), his poet friends persuaded him to try his luck in Hindi film industry. He came to Bombay and stayed with his friend Sahir Ludhianvi in a garage. But his tryst with Hindi films industry ended even before it started. As revealed by Javed Akhtar in the episode of TV serial ‘Classic Legends’ covering Sahir Ludhainvi, one producer-director entrusted them to write songs for his film which was soon to go on the floor. Both Majaz and Sahir worked on the songs in the latter’s garage home under the light of a kerosene lamp. Next day, both of them went to producer-director’s office to show their lyrics. After listening to the lyrics, he told them that though lyrics were good, they were not suitable for the film. When he heard this comment from the producer-director, Majaz started shivering as he took this as an insult to his poetry. Sahir tapped his hand on him to calm down. Both were told to write something better and come back to office the next day.

After this incidence, on the same night, Majaz packed his baggage and told Sahir that he would return to Lucknow in the next available train as he would not be able to work for Hindi film industry. The next morning, Majaz left Bombay for Lucknow never to return to the city as within a year or so, he was no more.

Despite tragedies in his life, Majaz was known to be a very witty person. I understand that a book containing his jokes and witty repartees was published in Urdu/Hindi many years back. Some of his repartee given below have a bearing on Majaz’s personality:

1. Sahir Ludhinavi, who was editing an Urdu magazine ‘Savera’ from Lahore, once introduced his friend Majaz in the magazine as ‘twice insane and a drunkard who wanders aimlessly’. As a response, Majaz wrote back to Sahir Ludhianvi a couplet :

Kuchh to hain mohobbat main junoon ka asar
Aur kuchh log bhi deewaana banaa dete hain

[One goes mad in love and some people drive one mad]
2. When some people taunted Majaz about his drinking habit, he was quick to respond to them by saying ‘main sharaab pitaa hoon. Tum kya pite ho? Aadmi ka khoon?’. Sahir Ludhianvi liked these lines so much that he used them in the mukhda of the song maine pi sharaab tumne kyaa piya in “Naya Raasta’ (1970).

3. Soon after the discharge from a mental hospital in Ranchi, Majaz reached Delhi and telephoned to Commissioner of Delhi asking for Rs.100/-. When Josh Malihabadi came to know about it, he reprimanded him by saying that his action has lowered the dignity of the poetry. True to his nature of not retorting in person, he sent a chit to Josh Malihabadi writing a poetic line :

Jo guzarti hai qalb e shaayar par
Shaayar e inquilaab kya jaane

[what a revolutionary poet knows of the tender heart of a romantic poet].

Just like his tragic life, Majaz ’s end came in tragic circumstances. On a cold wintry night of 4th December 1955, a group of Majaz’s friends took him to a tavern in the Lalbaug area of Lucknow to enjoy the poetry recitals from him. During this gathering, alcohol flowed freely. After midnight, all of his friends left the tavern one by one leaving him alone in the open terrace in a bitter cold night. In the morning, the owner of the tavern found him unconscious. He was admitted to hospital where he breathed his last due to a brain hemorrhage and pneumonia. He was just 44.

It was shocking news for many Urdu poets including Ali Sardar Jafri and Sahir Ludhianvi who had assembled in Lucknow to participate in a 3-day convention of Urdu Students’ Federation. Ali Sardar Jafri recalls that after the end of the first day of the convention, a mushiara was organised in which many Urdu Shaayars had participated. In this mushiara, Majaz had thrilled the audience with his nazms and she’rs. One of the she’rs he repeatedly recited at the mushaira on demand was:

Bahut mushkil hai duniyaa ka savarna teri zulfon ka pech-o-kham nahi hai
Ba-ise-sayle-ghamo-sayle-hawadis mera sar hai ki ab bhi kham nahi hai

[It is very difficult to get (my) life sorted out like your entangled hairs.
In the midst of sorrow surrounding (me), somehow I am still standing tall.]
He was buried in the Nishatganj graveyard. On the plaque of his grave, a maqta she’r of his ghazal ‘Nazr-e-Lucknow’ is engraved:

Ab iske baad subah hai aur subah e nau Majaz
Ham par hai khatm shaam e gareebaan e Lucknow

[ Hereafter it is dawn and a new dawn.
With Majaz ends the darkness of Lucknow.]
In honour of Majaz Lucknowi, Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) chose one of his nazms ye meraa chaman hai meraa chaman, the Taraane e Aligarh ( the official song of AMU). Incidentally, Majaz had recited this nazm for the first time in AMU in 1932-33 when he was the student. The full version of this nazm was published in 1936 under the title ‘Nazr e Aligarh’.

[Note: While writing the chronicle of Majaz Lucknowi’s life, I relied mainly on some of the information available in two episodes of TV Serial ‘Kahkashan’ on Majaz, one of the episodes of TV Serial ‘Classic Legends – Sahir Ludhianvi’, an article ‘ae gham e dil’ by Madhav Moholkar in his Marathi book ‘Gityatri’ and an interview of Sharib Rudaulvi, Urdu poet and a close friend of Majaz which appeared in October 19, 2013 issue of Hindi newspaper ‘Amar Ujaala’. I am thankful to these sources]

I have read many of Majaz’s nazms and ghazals during the last few months and enjoyed them. Most of this work reflects his state of mind after his failed love affair. Some have called him ‘Keats of Urdu Poetry’. There is despair in his poetry but I hardly came across lamentations in them either on his life or his failed romance. In fact, he is sarcastic in a couple of his ghazals on himself. Take for instance:

Roye na abhi ahal-e-nazar haal pe mere
Honaa hai abhi mujh ko kharaab aur zyaadaa

Aawaaraa va majnoon hi pe mauqoof nahin kuchh
Milne hain abhi mujh ko khitaab aur zyaadaa

[ Do not shed tears on my present condition.
I have yet to reach the worst of it.

Do not stop at (calling me) vagabond and mad.
I have to get more of (such) ‘praises’.]
Majaz was one of the founder members of Progressive Writers Association. He had written some revolutionary poems in the early period of his life. Later on his main genre of poetry was romance. I find that there is at least one she’r or verse having an inspiring or inquilaabi message in his romantic ghazals and nazms. Take for examples two she’rs from his ghazal:

teri neechi nazar khud teri ismat ki muhaafiz hai
tu iss nashtar ki tezi aazma leti to achhaa thaa

teri maathe pe ye aanchal bahut hi khoob hai lekin
tu iss aanchal se ek parcham bana leti to achhaa thaa

[Your lowered glance itself is a protector of your modesty.
If you raise your glance and test its sharpness, it would be better.

The piece of cloth over your head looks good.
But if you make a flag out of it, it would be better.]
In the initial verses of his nazm Aawaara, one would get a feeling of despair and loneliness. But in the last 5 verses, the mood suddenly shift from despair to defiance, probably reflecting the then prevailing situation in British India. One example :

badh ke iss indarsabhaa kaa saaz-o-saamaan phoonk doon
iss kaa gulshan phoonk doon uss kaa shabistaan phoonk doon
takht-e-sultaan kyaa main saaraa qasr-e-sultaan phoonk doon
aye gham-e-dil kyaa karoon ae vahashat-e-dil kyaa karoon

[To destroy all things of the despotic rule,
to burn their chambers and pleasure garden,
to ravage the king’s throne and palaces are my aim.
Oh my sorrowful heart, oh my lonely heart.]

After reading many of his poetry, I could not avoid a recurrence of a thought in my mind as to how his poetry would have shaped if he had given a khoobsoorat mod to his love affair! Probably, he would have added more years to his life and more of his ghazals and nazms to his collections. But as it is often said, the poets’ best ghazals and nazms come from wounded hearts.

On the occasion of the death anniversary of Majaz Lucknowi on December 5th, I have chosen one of his popular ghazals ‘taskeen e dil mahzoo na huyi wo sai e karam farmaa bhi gaye’ (1991) composed and sung by Jagjit Singh. This ghazal was used in T V Serial ‘Kahkashan’. The original ghazal has 7 she’rs (couplets) of which only 3 she’rs have been used in the song. Those who have seen the film ‘Pyaasa’ (1957) may have observed that the last she’r of this ghazal was recited by an actor in the role of Majaz. After that, another actor in the role of Jigar Moradabadi was also seen reciting one of the she’rs of his ghazal. The video clip of the scene is here.

The English translation on the video clip of the ghazal under discussion is horrible and at best be ignored.

Audio clip from Album ‘Kahkashan’

Video clip from T V Serial ‘Kahkashan’ (1990s) :

Song-Taskeen e dil e mahzoo na huyi(Jagjit Singh NFS)(1990) Singer-Jagjeet Singh, Lyrics-Majaz Lucknowi, MD-Jagjit Singh


taskeen e dil e mahzoo na huyi
wo sai e karam farmaa bhi gaye
taskeen e dil e mahzoo na huyi
wo sai e karam farmaa bhi gaye
iss sai e karam ko kya kahiye
bahlaa bhi gaye tadpaa bhi gaye

ham arz e wafaa bhi kar na sakey
kuchh kah na sakey kuchh sun na sakey
ham arz e wafaa bhi kar na sakey
kuchh kah na sakey kuchh sun na sakey
yahaan ham ne zabaan hi kholi thhi
wahaan aankh jhuki sharmaa bhi gaye
yahaan ham ne zabaan hi kholi thhi
wahaan aankh jhuki sharmaa bhi gaye

iss mehfil e kaif o masti mein
iss anjuman e irfaani mein
iss mehfil e kaif o masti mein
iss anjuman e irfaani mein
sab jaam ba kaf baithe hi rahe
ham pi bhi gaye chalkaa bhi gaye
sab jaam bakaf baithe hi rahe
ham pi bhi gaye chalkaa bhi gaye


taskeen e dil e mahzoo = contended and delighted heart
sai e karam = attempting a favour or kindness
mehafil e kaif o masti = assembly of intoxication and joy
anjuman e irfaani = gathering of intellectuals
jaam ba kaf = (glass of) wine held in hands

13 Responses to "Taskeen e dil e mahzoo na huyi"

Very many thanks for this painstakingly well researched article.


Thanks for your appreciation..


Just superb !


Thanks for your appreciation.


mehafil e kaif o masti = assembly of intoxication and joy
jaam ba kaf = (glass of) wine held in hands

Gorgeous language for some of my favorite things 🙂 Love it.


Kamath Sir,

Thank you very much for this informative post about ‘Majaaz”. I dont know if this the same ‘majaaz’, who was known for his rephrasing and reproduction of Mirza Ghalib’s sha’irs. I was reading your post and trying to find if there is any reference to this.

A few days ago, I had thought of this word ‘ sa’ee ‘ , and how I had not seen/heard it for such a long time. My first encounter with the word was in school, when the teacher for ‘history’ spoke it in its full glory, in her too perfect diction. I dont know what happened, but I burst out laughing. The whole class was stunned and it took a while for the teacher to recover, she asked me what was so funny. I was too astonished at my own behavior, as we all were in awe of the strict teacher. For the first and last time in my life, I was asked to stand outside the classroom.

Not that the word is funny, in any way. It was one of those freak incidents.

Thanks and regards.


Thanks of your words of appreciation.

I have been doing research on Majaaz ( along with some other Urdu poets) over a year and I have gone through many articles and blogs, a few of them written by Urdu scholars. But I have not come across anything to suggest that he was known for rephrasing or reproduction of Mirza Ghalib’s couplets.

The only reference to Mirza Ghalib in articles/blogs on Majaaz was that while walking on the by lanes of Delhi in his drunken state, he would often talk loudly to himself that after Mirza Ghalib and Fani Badayuni, it is Majaaz. He regarded Fani Badayuni as his ustaad.

Having said that, the canvas of classical ghazal is limited as ‘it is a small talk about beloved (women)’. So some kind of replications of thoughts in the works of Urdu poets of post-Mirza Ghalib era are bound to happen. After all Mirza Ghalib is considered as a doyen of Urdu poetry in ghazal form in the Indian sub-continent.


What you say about Mirza Ghalib is true. Future generations of Urdu poets couldn’t help but be inspired by the poet and his contemporaries.

I am most surprised at the ‘Aarzoo’ song’s inspiration. I have never seen such an instance of Hasrat Jaipuri.

About he link of the title song of “khoya khoya chand”, I have seen that film. It appeared very real and familiar with some of real life characters of film industry and the poets live’s that you are currently researching. If you havent seen the film, I suggest that you see it, and may be you will find some parellel’s there.

And thanks for the song link . It was my favourite song that period.


Wonderful! Very informative and passionate write up. The shares you quoted echos in my mind a gazal by Hasarat Jaipuri from Aarazoo,”Chhalke teri aankon se sharab aur ziyada” and other one by Sahir,”Ye zulf agar khulke bikhar jaye to achchha”


Thanks for your appreciation.

Hasrat Jaipuri’s ghazal ‘chalke teri aankhon se sharaab aur zyaada’ in AARZOO (1965) is inspired from Majaaz’s ghazal titled ‘ Unka Jasn e Saalgirah’. The actual wording is :

chalke teri aankhon se sharaab aur zyaada
mahke teri aariz se gulaab aur zyaada …..
allah kare zor e shabaab aur zyaada.

Not only this, I was pleasantly surprised to find that one of the verses of his ‘Aawaara’

jee mein aataa hai ye murdaa chaand taare noch loon
iss kinaare noch loon aur uss kinaare noch loon
ek do kaa zikr kyaa saare ke saare noch loon

was, more or less, used in the second stanza of the song ‘kyun khoya khoya chaand ki firaaq mein talaash mein’ in

Even Majaaz’s nephew Javed Akhtar seems to have been inspired by the use of metaphors in ‘Aawaara’. Example :

From Aawaara :

ek mahal ki aad se
nikalaa wo peela mahtaab
jaise mulla ka amaama
jaise baniye ki kitaab
jaise muflis ki jawaani
jaise bewaa ka shabaab

From 1942 A LOVE STORY (1994)

ek ladki ko dekha to aisa lagaa
jaise khiltaa gulaab
jaise shaayar ka khwaab
jaise ujli kiran
jaise ban mein hiran…….
jaise mandir mein ho ek jaltaa diyaa etc etc


I am simply intoxicated!! Sadanandji, thanks you very much for this well researched write-up on Majaz. I had knowledge of his troubled mind. Your write-up has thrown much light on the man. I have got cassette of
AMU’s official song and it is my prized possessio.


Correction “possession”


Sadanand ji,

“Salaame khuloos ke baad, Majaz Lukhnawi jaise azeem roomani sha’er se judin itni sari aur itni dischasp jankarian faraham karne ke liye is nacheez ki taraf se nazrane ke taur per ik be daam sa shukriya qubool Karen. Badi zindagiyon ke halaat aam zindagiyon ko aasaan banane mein madagaar sabit hote hain.”



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