Noted Urdu poet Rahat Indori, who had tested positive for coronavirus, passed away at an Indore hospital on Tuesday after suffering two heart attacks, said doctors treating him. He was 70.
“He suffered two heart attacks today and could not be saved. He was admitted to hospital on Sunday, after testing positive for Covid-19. He had 60% pneumonia,” said Dr Vinod Bhandari of Sri Aurobindo Hospital.
Indori’s Twitter bio describes him as “Indian Poet, Painter, Bollywood Lyricist”.
Before he checked himself into the hospital for treatment, the poet had tweeted about being coronavirus positive, asking people to pray for his quick recovery. He further asked people to not call up either him or his home to enquire about his health. He had said they will be getting updates through Twitter.
With a 50-year career in poetry, Indori, an Urdu scholar of great repute, was one of the biggest mushaira (poetry symposiums) stars in the country and someone who fearlessly called a spade a spade.
Among the poet’s most powerful lines are “Sabhi ka khoon hai shamil yahan ki mitti mein; Kisi ke baap ka Hindustan thodi hai (Everybody’s blood mingles in the soil; Hindustan does not belong solely to one)”. The lines were used on posters and banners during the anti-CAA protests, pushing him to almost cult status.
Earlier this year, his poem “Bulati hai magar jane ka nahi” went viral on social media, making him a sensation among the youth. Memes using the poem’s opening lines flooded social media during Valentine’s Day.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi mourned the passing of “Indori Sahab” with a couplet.
“अब ना मैं हूँ ना बाक़ी हैं ज़माने मेरे,
फिर भी मशहूर हैं शहरों में फ़साने मेरे…”
अलविदा, राहत इंदौरी साहब।
— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) August 11, 2020
Historian and author Rana Safvi termed the poet’s death a “huge huge loss to a fearless voice and to the world of poetry”.
In fellow poet Gulzar’s view, Indori was the soul of a mushaira. “Mushaira loot ke le gaye is a saying in Urdu. Toh Rahat saab mushairon ke lootere the (he stole the thunder at symposiums),” Gulzar told PTI.
Lyricist-writer Javed Akhtar called Indori’s death “an irreparable loss” to contemporary Urdu poetry and society at large.
“Like Habib Jalib, he was from the fast disappearing tribe of poets who are never short of courage to call a spade a spade,” Akhtar said.
Lyricist Varun Grover called him a “rockstar of the Indian literary world” and prince of the “mushaira” tradition.
Indori wrote the lyrics of several songs, including “Chori Chori Jab Nazrein Mili” from Kareeb, “Koi jaye to le aye” from Ghatak , and “Neend Churai Meri” from Ishq.