Jigar Moradabadi (full name Mohd. Ali Sikandar) was born on 6th April 1890, in mohallah Lal Bagh, Moradabad, U.P. He belonged to a family of poets. His great-grandfather ‘Hafiz Mohd. Noor’ and his grandfather ‘Hafiz Maulvi Amjad Ali’ were poets. His father, ‘Mohd. Ali Nazar’, his uncles Maulvi Ali Akbar ‘Akbar’,’Ali Zafar ‘Zafar’ and his brother were also poets. Jigar inherited poetry from his family.  He did not complete his formal education. After failing twice in the ninth class at ‘Centennial College’, Lucknow, he quit his education. At the age of about 15 years his father died. His uncle Ali Zafar ‘Zafar’ got him employed in Najibabad Municipal Board but he could not continue this service. After a failed love affair with a woman there and after a failed suicide attempt he left Najibabad and came to Agra in 1910. Here also he fell in love with a woman named Waheedan Begum and married with her. He started working as an agent in a firm dealing in optical items. On the insistence of his mother, he came back to live in Mordabad with his family in 1915, but after some time his mother died and his wife deserted him. Unable to bear these tragedies he moved to different places like Kanpur, Unnao, Azamgarh, Mainpuri and Gonda for several years. During these years he started drinking heavily.

In 1919 he met ‘Asghar Gondvi’, a renowned poet of that time. They had many common things in their personalities and came closer. Asghar Gondvi understood full well that he was fated to be great. So, he owned him, guided him and showered his favors on him. He was his mentor, a father figure, an elder brother, a teacher, a friend and a fellow poet. Jigar married ‘Naseer Begum’, a sister of Asghar Gondvi's wife and lived at Gonda, in the house of Asghar Gondvi. They became partners and started a factory of spectacles which failed after few years and Jigar had to face financial constraints. For some time he worked as an editor of Unnao District Gazette.

Jigar has started composing poetry at the age of about 10 years and became a regular poet at the age of about 15 years when he composed in Lucknow, a Farsi ghazal in the parody of famous Farsi poet Qateel. In spite of his incomplete education, he had acquired good knowledge of Urdu Persian and Arabic. His first guide was his father ‘Mohd. Ali Nazar’ himself. He was also the people of ‘Dagh Dehlvi’, Haya Bakhsh ‘Rasa Rampuri’, Munshi Amirullah ‘Tasleem’ Lucknavi. He was influenced by the poets like ‘Dagh’, ‘Momin’, ‘Iqbal’ and ‘Hasrat Mohani’.

He was truly poetic in his habits and disposition, character and conduct, thoughts and feelings, ways and manners, motions and gestures, dressing and clothing, gait and get-up. Moreover he was gifted by Nature with a throat extremely musical

The respect he got transcended religious and language barriers that were prevalent at that time. Though his poetry was in Urdu, he was called on to recite his works in varied platforms earning the commendations and love of both the Hindu and Muslim communities. His poetry was such that even Pandits from Sanskrit math (schools) conferred varied honors on him. The American singer Eartha Kitt who was a contemporary of Jigar Moradabadi, sang "Monotonous", written by “June Carroll” and “Arthur Siegel”, in 1952, which became an international hit.

Jigar was acclaimed “Ghazal King” in his lifetime. Though his work was very much in the traditional ghazal form, he was a trend-setter and indeed, some maintain that he reinvigorated Urdu ghazal. His choice of words and his expression lends his creations something new.

Jigar was a great admirer of beauty and was successful in painting a live picture of his earthly beloved in his ghazals. His description of beauty carries us to a different timeless land where eternal beauty is supreme. The reflection of this eternal beauty is found everywhere in his ghazals.

Jigar’s place among 20th century ghazal poets is unique because he has touched on different topics, shades and dimensions. His contemporary ghazal writers, of course, had their importance but Jigar’s art excels them all. By publishing articles about Jigar’s poetry and a selection of his ghazals, Chaudhry Ali Mubark Usmani has done a great service to Urdu literature.

Jigar never received any formal higher education. No university could have taught him what he taught himself in his chosen field. He was only the second poet in the history of Aligarh Muslim University to be awarded an honorary D.Litt., the first to receive this honour was “Allama Iqbal”, which speaks volumes about Jigar's standing and reputation.

Jigar died in Gonda on 9th, September 1960. A small residential colony in Gonda city called “Jigar Ganj” is named after him. It is close to his original residence. An intermediate school he “Jigar Memorial Inter College” is also named after him.


Post a Comment