Saiyid Akbar Hussain, popularly known as Akbar Allahabadi, was widely acknowledged for his satire and was an outstanding nationalist Urdu poet who was bestowed with the title Lisan-ul-Asr or 'Voice of the Times' which was a happy epithet applied to him in the pages of Makhzan.
He was very vocal about colonial India's political leaders' cynicism and their hypocrisy, giving a "humorous touch even to the serious themes of love and politics." Akbar often made western education and culture a major target of his poetry.
He was known for weaving English terms into his poetry, experimenting with the English language's influence on his poetry, anticipating a change. Akbar Allahabadi Shayari was often directed against the transition of highly westernized Indian Muslims.
Akbar Allahabadi's Shayari (poetry) often advised the countrymen to take all that is good and useful for them from the West's civilization, provided that they do not do that at the expense of their own.
Here are the 30 Akbar Allahabadi Shayari filled with wit, humour and fervent love of religion:
1) Hindu wo Muslim aik hain dono yani ashiyaae hain
Ham watan, ham zuban, wa ham qismat
Kyon na keh doon ki bhai bhai hain ?
The Khilafat Movement's dilution, which began in 1919, deepened the divide between Hindus and Muslims. Akbar Allahabadi stood for brotherhood between the two. This Akbar Allahabadi Shayari (poetry) pushed for peace between the two communities.
2) Be parda kal jo aaen nazar, chand beebian,
Akbar zameen mein ghairat-e-qaumi se gar gaya,
Poochha jo unse, aapka parda woh kya hua,
Kahne lage ke, aql par mardoon ki par gaya
This Akbar Allahabadi Shayari is a famous quatrain on the observance of parda (veil) by women. The poet, out of his natural tendency for putting things humorously, has mocked that the veil of women was lost because it was worn by the brains of men!
3) Bahr-e-hasti le raha tha be daregh angraaiaan
Thames ki imwaaj Jamuna se hui thein hum kinaar
Akbar Allahabadi's poetry enhances his verse's humorous potential by using any popular term or phrase of English to enrich his poetries meaning. In this verse, Akbar Allahabadi compares life to the sea and implies that Thames and Yamuna's waves were hand in glove indeed.
4) Us main se nahin matlab dil jis se hai begana
maqsood hai us main se dil hi mein jo khinchti hai
This Akbar Allahabadi Shayari strikes on point with lovers. They do not wish to see the person whom their heart doesn't like. They wait for the person whom their heart desires.
5) Ladkio se mil ke dekho, unke andaaz-o-tareeq,
Haal mein naacho, club mein ja ke khelo un se taash,
Baada-e-tehzeeb-e-europe ke, charhaaon khum pe khum,
Asia ke sheesha-e-taqwa ko, kar do paash paash.
In this Akbar Allahabadi Shayari, he summarizes the prevalent Western culture and influence in India. He clearly objected the damage Britishers were doing to the Indian youngsters by referring to smash the glass of Asian piety.
6) Duniya mein hoon duniya ka talabgar nahi hoon
Bazaar se guzra hoon ?haridaar nahin hoon
This Shayari has a very deep meaning hiding in it. Everyone passing through the market is not necessarily there to buy something. Similarly, everyone in this not here to please the world. They are here to live life.
7) Zindagi aur qayamat mein 'relation' samjho
is ko 'college' or usse 'convocation' samjho
In this Akbar Allahabadi poetry, he compares the relation between life and resurrection to college and that as of convocation. Life is like university, where you learn lessons and give exams. But your performance is unknown until the day of 'Qayamat'.
8) Ishq ke izhaar mein har chand ruswai toh hai
Par karu kya ab tabiyat aap par aayi toh hai
When you are in love, every moment is tough until you confess and unite with your beloved. Yet again, lovers are ready to bear this pain.
9) Khuda hafiz Musalmano ka Akbar
Mujhey toh unki khush-haali se hain yaas
In this Akbar Allahabadi poetry, he acknowledges that God is the protector of Muslims and despairs their prosperity. Nobody can harm Muslims till the time Allah protects them.
10) Chhod literature ko apni history ko bhool ja
shaikh-o-masjid se talluq tark kar school ja
char-din ki zindagi hai koft se kya faida
kha double roti, clerki kar, khushi se phool ja
This Akbar Allahabadi poetry is a fine example of Akbar's theme and style of his work through the medium of wit and humour. HE mocks at the culture that Britishers brought to India in this Shayari.
11) Coat aur patlun jab pahna to mister ban gaya
Jab koi taqrir ki jalse mein leader ban gaya
In this poetry, Akbar Allahabadi talks about the influence of English men on our attires. He laughs away saying that just by wearing a shirt and pant, one can become mister and by addressing a crowd, one can become a leader.
12) Tayyar the namaz pe hum sun ke zikr-e-hur
Jalwa buton ka dekh ke niyat badal gai
Here, Akbar Allahabadi talks about the change of mind and detachment from Allah one undergoes under the influence of foreign culture. They are lured and diverted into sins.
13) Raat us miss se kalisa mein hua main do-char
Haaye wo husn wo shokhi wo nazakat wo ubhar
This Akbar Allahabadi poetry, 'barq-e-kalisa,' is about meeting with a lady in the Church. In the later verse of the poetry, he describes the appearance of her curly hair as such that even demons were her devotees.
14) Wazan ab un ka muayyan nahi ho sakta kuch
Barf ki tarah musalman ghule jaate hain
Akbar Allahabadi once again showcases his fervent love for religion in this Shayari. He emphasises on the fact that Muslims are losing their importance slowly by embracing and following the footsteps of other cultures.
15) Dard to maujud hai dil mein dawa ho ya na ho
Bandagi haalat se zahir hai khuda ho ya na ho
When the British were ruling India, people were afraid of them and followed their commands even if they did not wish to. This sheer refers to this behaviour of people as worshipping the British.
16) Lipat bhi ja na ruk 'akbar' ghazab ki beauty hai
Nahin nahin pe na ja ye haya ki duty hai
Akbar Allahabadi's poetry conveys his feelings in a satirical, humorous way. He wants to lose his control, yet he is unable to do so. That's what love is all about!
17) Paida hua vakil to shaitan ne kaha
Lo aaj hum bhi sahib-e-aulad ho gaye
Akbar Allahabadi compares the lawyers to children of the devil. They can turn truth into lies and lies into truth. Something that only the devil and his children are capable of!
18) Ek Shaukat aur Ziauddin waza-o-khoo mein ek hai,
Farkh itna hai ke woh jungal mein hai yeh zoo mein
Akbar Allahabadi was one of the greatest humorists of all time. In this verse, Akbar taunts Maulana Shaukat Ali and Sir Ziauddin, the famous Vice-Chancellor of AMU, the Muslim leader of yesteryears. Both of them had similar features and were hefty and sturdy.
19) Jo kaha main ne ke pyaar aata hai mujhko tum par
Hans ke kehne laga aur aap ko aata kya hai
When you are in love, you are only in love. You know nothing in front of it, nothing behind it. It is the only thing you know and you do it the best.
20) Suraj mein lage dhabba fitrat ke karishme hain
Butt ham ko kahe kaafir Allah ki marzi hai
We have always heard that the moon has spots. It is nothing short of a miracle if the sun gets spots. And if idols call a faithful person atheist, it is foolishness.
21) Mazhabi behes main ne ki hi nahin
Faltu aqal mujh mein thi hi nahi
This verse is the hallmark of Akbar Allahabadi’s poetry, marked with a sense of humour. He points out that there's no point debating on religion and widening the divide that Britishers created between Hindus and Muslims.
23) Hangama hai kyuun barpa thodi si jo pi li hai
Daaka to nahin maara chori to nahin ki hai
This is the first verse from Akbar Allahabadi's popular ghazal 'Hungama Hai Kyon Barpa,' most prominently sung by Ghulam Ali, which is still relevant in today's politically charged atmosphere, and often referred as an anthem for boisterous parties.
24) Ayi hogi kisi ko hijr mein maut,
Mujh ko toh need bhi nahi aati
Akbar Allahabdi asserts that he could barely sleep when he gets separated from his love due to the turbulence thoughts create in his mind and heart. He wonders how people die peacefully when they get separated from their love.
25) Ghamza nahi hota ke ishara nahi hota,
Aankh unse jo ilti hai toh kya kya nahi hota
This quote reflects the flirty side of the poet. He portrays the feeling when he looks at his love and gets lost in the world of her beauty.
26) Buddhoo mian bhi Hazrat-e-gandhi ke saath hain
Go khake rah hain magar aandhi ke saath hain
This Akbar Allahabadi poetry is from his book called Gandhi Nama (The Book of Gandhi), which was printed only once, in 1948, and has since been out of print.
He was deeply attracted to Gandhi’s political movement for independence and conveyed his messages through his verse, keeping in mind the times' social and historical context.
27) Ishq nazuk-mizaj hai behad
Aqal ka bojh utha nahin sakta
Akbar Allhabadi again talks about love in this quote. He says the heart and the mind are two absolutely contrasting elements. One cannot think when one falls in love. If one begins to do so, one lands into difficult situations.
28) Akbar dabay nahin kisi sultan ki fauj se
Lekin shaheed ho gaye begum ke nauj se
Akbar Allahabadi's poetry condemned the importance of western colonization and the destruction of Indian cultural values. This Akbar Allahabadi quote was the squelch to Asif Jahan Begum when she challenged him by saying that nothing can stop the storm of westernization.
29) Tumhari policy ka haal kuchh khulta nahin sahib
Humari policy to saaf hai iman-faroshi ki
This sheer of Akbar Allahabadi is one more attack at the Britishers, who were ruling India at that time. He mocks at them saying my policy is clean and clear, unlike yours!
30) Wo hawa na rahi wo chaman na raha wo gali na rahi wo hasin na rahe,
wo falak na raha wo saman na raha wo makan na rahe wo makin na rahe
Akbar Allahabadi was the satirical master of Urdu poetries. He routinely parodied his poetries and added well-known phrases from the English language out of context to create incongruity, which is the soul of humour.
The later generation may have become inclined to dismiss him as a “joking poet,” but he was an artist with a serious purpose. Akbar Allahabadi poetry was extremely sharp-witted and a marvellous Urdu poetry’s rhythms, unmatched in Urdu poetry since at least the eighteenth century.
Akbar Allahabadi was bestowed with the title Khan Bahadur as a commemoration of his judicial service as a session court judge. He retired in 1903 and lived in Allahabad.
He died of a fever on September 9, 1921, at the peak of his reputation as a powerful, socially and politically engaged voice on the Indian literary scene and was buried in the Himmatganj district of Allahabad.
The next time you read any of Akbar Allahabadi poetry, do spare a thought for the great wit, humorous and satirical poetry on social, cultural, and political issues with excellent felicity of language.
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