muKhtasar yeh hai hamaari daastaan-e-zindagi

ik sukoon-e-dil ki Khaatir umr bhar taDpaa kiye

—Moin Ahsan ‘Jazbi’ (1912-2005)

An off the cuff rendering of these words in English would be:

In brief, this is the tale of my life—Seeking to attain comfort and contentment, I suffered all my life

The beauty of today’s shair lies in the deceptively simple mode of Jazbi’s expression of a profound thought. Man’s quest for contentment or inner peace is like the Holy Grail, a mission impossible for which he strives and lives in unrelieved misery and constant grief.

Moin Ahsan Jazbi has a special place in the history of Urdu poetry. A master of the nazm and Ghazal forms, he was one of the prominent figures of the Progressive Writers’ Movement (taraqqi pasand tahreek). Jazbi was markedly different from other leading lights of the movement in that, he was a classicist to the ‘t’, impeccable in his choice of words.

Jazbi was a close associate of Majaz Lakhnavi and Ali Sardar Jafri, among others. His tribute to Majaz on the poet’s premature death, is a literary masterpiece and a must read for students of Urdu literature.

Moin Ahsan Jazbi joined the department of Urdu at Aligarh Muslim University where he taught for long years till his retirement.

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