HAZARA SINGH MUSHTAQ: A REVOLUTIONARY PUNJABI POET
Hazara Singh Mushtaq a renowned Punjabi poet, belongingto scheduled caste was born in avery poor family in 1918 in Montgomery District, now in Pakistan. He started writing poetry when he was barely aschool going student while his first poem “Achhoot De Dukhre” was published by Sardar Sadhu Singh Hamdard in magazine “ViharSudhar” wherein Hamdard was a manager. From that very day,in the prime of their youth, they became fast friends. Hamdard then had a grown beard while Mushtaq was still having a growing beard. Their friendship remained intact till the death of Mushtaq on March 19th1980.Hamdard shouldered the bier of Mushtaq, attended the cremation and thereafter collection of mortal remains to immerse them at Kiratpur sahib.Hamdardfathomed the depth of thoughts ofmushtaqfrom his first poem and identified that Mushtaq had the probabilities of being a great poet in the days to come and there will be such a contribution of Mushtaq to Punjabi poetry as will be a matter of pride for it.
Mushtaqa revolutionary from his very childhood was deadly against the nobles and socalled high caste people standing by and applauding the British Rule. He joined Congress party, struggling for Azadi, as an active worker, became a party speaker and thereafter a General Secretary. He had relinquished his village, devoted his life to the cause of Azadi, and made anti British speeches, hence was arrested,put in Jhang prison and his first book “VALVALLE” was seized by the British.Mushtaq never could forget the pangs of the seizure of “VALVALLE”. Being considered a grave danger to British Governmentmany a time he was put under detention. He was so infatuated for Azadi that he got married only after India had won freedom.He was a staunch congress leader,remained in congress party tillhe died. He was senior vice president of Punjab Freedom Fighters Association. His body covered with Tricolour was given a state honour.Dr. Sadhu Singh Hamdard wrote about devotion of Mushtaq qua Azadi
“To day Congress is a beneficial class. Wearing a khaddar cap today every one claims to be a congress man.ButMushtaq had then raised the slogan of Azadi when it was considered to be a symbol of self annihilation”
Mushtaq was a patriotto the marrow of his bones as well as selfrespected personality.He was not an owner of some estate,land or any other big property yielding a regular income yet in the regime of quota, permit or licensing he never yearned for getting his struggle made for Azadiencashed and did bank purely upon his pen. It was the time when Mushairas and KaviDarbars were frequently arranged and no Mushairas or Punjab KaviDarbar was held accomplished without Mushtaq. As a poet he never hankered after literary awards and prizes. He was reluctant to receive TamraPatra presented to him .He was strong believer that he did not participate in freedom movement for some reward.
The subject matter of his poetry was patriotism. After India had won freedom, he was over joyed thinking that India has won freedom now the blood sucking evils like inequality, poverty, hunger and shackles of caste system shall become the matters of days gone by. But his dream of availability of Roti, Kapra and Makaan to each and every Indian was shattered when he found that nothing concrete was being done for improving the lot of the poor and acommon man who were helpless enough to pass their chilly cold nights withtheir hungry infants andyoung daughters under the shelter of open sky. The leaders at the top level had started infighting for the sake of becoming state heads and party heads, ignoring the pains and problems of the poor,worrying about and playing fiddle to a few capitalists leaving the entire natural and human resources at their beck and call. The plight of the poor seriously wounded his poetic head and heart wounded.He wrote revolutionary poems condemning the act and conduct of leaders and Governments of the day .The poems were applauded and acclaimed in both the Punjabs since the political ,social and economic position was not fair in Pakistani Punjab also.
The poetry of mushtaq was equallyliked and loved in both the Punjabs. His poemtitled SANJHA PUNJAB was broadcast from AKASHWANIJALANDHAR.It was an expression of unfulfilled desires of the dejected and disappointed Punjabis of both the Punjabs.Mushtaq as well asAkashwani received many letters from Pakistan applauding the poem with a request to broadcastit again. Thereafter keeping in view the interest of the people of both the Punjabs daily Ajit Jalandhar also published this poem with a head note describing the interest of lovers of Punjabis. He has to his credit books titled Chamtkaare,DeshPujari, Chitvani, Wattan DiPukaar, MerianGhazlan and Noori Ghazal.
Mushtaq was one of the priminary/preliminary writers of ghazals in Punjabi and known as a successful ghazalwrigthMushtaq adopted writing Ghazals after he migrated to India and put it as parallel with the Urdu. Inspired by the Ghazals recited by Sahir andHumahe wrote Ghazals and became one of the most celebrated Ghazal Wrights in Pubjabi language. The great Urdu Ghazal Wrights became admirer of the success of his Punjabi Ghazal. He brought his first collection of Ghazals in 1962 when Ghazal was not as popular in the Punjabi literary world as today. He made matchless contribution to Punjabi Ghazal. He also successfully presented Punjabi Ghazal in KaviDarbars and Mushairas. The traditional Ghazal generally refers to the beauty of the beloved, the affairs, sobs and sorrows of their faithlessness, etc. etc. but Mushtaq described the pitiable position of the poor, farmers, labourers and down trodden in his Ghazals and encouraged them to rise and revolt against the defective system of the regime as they have potential enough to do so.