Often-sung verse, ‘Na kisi ki ankh ka noor hoon, na kisi ke dil ka qarar hoon, Jo kisi ke kaam na aa sakey main woh ek musht-e-ghubar hoon’(I’m the light of no one’s eyes, the throb of no one’s heart, I’m that fistful of dust that can be of no use to anyone), was wrongly ascribed to Bahadur Shah Zafar, the last Mughal king.
It was actually written by Muztar Khairabadi (1865-1927), grandfather of Javed Akhtar, who said at a Jashn-e-Adab function here recently that the Devnagri version of the former’s collection of selective poetry would be released soon.
“Though some literary critics had earlier argued that this verse was not found in Zafar’s complete works, published in 1887, it was the discovery of this ghazal, written in Muztar’s own handwriting and the manuscript while shifting my house in Mumbai ended the controversy,’’ he said.
The last couplet of this ghazal attributed to Khairabadi reads: “Na main Muztar unka habeeb hoon, na main Muztar unka raqeeb hoon; jo bigad gaya woh naseeb hoon, jo ujad gaya woh dayaar hoon.” (Neither is Muztar her dear, nor is he her confidant; I am the fate that turned bad, the house that got destroyed).
Last year, Akhtar had released ‘Kharman’ (harvest), a five volume collection of Muztar’s poetry.
The complete ghazal is as follows:
Na kisī kī aañkh kā nuur huuñ na kisī ke dil kā qarār huuñ
Jo kisī ke kaam na aa sake maiñ vo ek musht-e-ġhubār huuñ
Maiñ nahīñ huuñ naġhma-e-jāñ-fazā mujhe sun ke koī karegā kyā
Koī aa ke sham.a jalā.e kyuuñ maiñ vo bekasī kā mazār huuñ
Na maiñ ‘muztar’ un kā habīb huuñ na maiñ ‘muztar’ un kā raqīb huuñ
Jo bigad gayā vo nasīb huuñ jo ujad gayā vo dayār huuñ
While moving out of Bhopal in 1923, Muztar -- a magistrate -- left many of his papers, which a friend kept safely but could return that only to his son Jan Nisar Akhtar. The carton, carrying those papers would later be sent to Javed Akhtar. But it took many years before Javed Akhtar would find the time to go through its contents.