Ghalib’s ‘andaz-e-bayan’ finds favour even with Gen X
The ongoing National Book Fair in Balrampur Gardens is recording a surprisingly good sale of anthologies of couplets and ghazals written by the likes of Mirza Ghalib, ‘Daagh’ Dehlvi, Ibrahim ‘Zauq’, Momin Khan ‘Momin’ and Asrar-ul-Haq ‘Majaz’ etc. In fact, poetry sales are soaring, leaving behind books on politics and politicians, say the sellers, adding the former are catching the fancy of Lucknow youths more.
Lucknow: “Hain aur bhi duniya main sukhan-var bahut achchhe, kahte hain ke Ghalib ka hai andaz- e- bayan aur “.
(There may be more, even better wordsmiths in this world, but they say that Ghalib’s felicity is quite unmatched.), wrote the great 19th century Urdu poet Mirza Ghalib. True enough, for even in the 21st century his works are fancied by poetry lovers, particularly the young generation, notwithstanding the change in literary taste.
Small wonder the ongoing National Book Fair in Balrampur Gardens is recording a surprisingly good sale of anthologies of couplets and ghazals written by the likes of Mirza Ghalib, ‘Daagh’ Dehlvi, Ibrahim ‘Zauq’, Momin Khan ‘Momin’ and Asrar-ul-Haq ‘Majaz’ etc.
In fact, poetry sales are soaring, leaving behind books on politics and politicians, say the sellers, adding the former are catching the fancy of Lucknow youths more.
“I am surprised to see that compilations of ‘shayari’ of Ghalib , ‘Daagh’ Dehlvi, Zauq, Momin , Mir and Majaz are still preferred by youths over political books. Here people go for an in-depth analysis of books,” said Uzair Hasan of Urdu Akademi, Delhi, which has put up a stall in the National Book Fair. He said, “It’s so nice to watch youths turning to Ghalib, Zauq, Momin, Daag etc in the 21st century. Not only that, the sale of Urdu books is great in the National Book Fair.”
Rajiv Kumar, a resident of Hussainganj said, “I am here to purchase the poetry of Ghalib and ‘Samay Se Muthbhed’, a book by Adam Gondvi. My friend is also going to purchase a book of Ahmed Faraz and ‘Shabnamistan’ by Firaq Gorakhpuri. Our group is interested in reading literary books.”
Neeraj Arora of Divyansh Publications, selling books of all genres at his stall, said, “The sale of literary books is more compared to works on politicians. Although Lucknow is a politically aware city, literary books always sell more, as perhaps literature enjoys a broader appeal. Books on politicians, on the other hand, tend to have a narrower focus and primarily interest individuals who are already engaged in politics or who have a specific interest in the political figure in question.”
Arora said, “The popularity of a book, whether literary or political, often depends on factors like the author’s reputation, the subject matter, timing and marketing efforts. Ultimately, the choice between literary books and books on politicians reflects the diverse history and culture of city, its interests and preferences. In Lucknow, every second person is a poet himself. Many people who come to buy a book complete the conversation with their couplets.”
Noted critic and poet professor Sharib Rudaulvi said, “Works of literary figures like Ghalib, ‘Daagh’, Momin, Mir and Zauq will continue to sell because they are examples of timeless poetry that resonates with readers across generations. Their verses explore themes of love, loss, philosophy and the human condition, which remain relevant to people’s lives.”
Noted poet Sanjay Mishra ‘Shauq’ said, “Literature rules in Lucknow because of its composite culture. Here purity and understanding of Urdu and Hindi are still alive among the masses. Overall, the enduring popularity of literary books is a testament to the lasting impact of the authors’ literary contributions and their ability to connect with readers.”
Atul Maheshwari of Vani Prakashan said, “Books on literature continue to sell well and literature remains a popular and enduring genre. Lucknowites have a deep appreciation for literary classics, contemporary novels and non-fiction works on literary analysis, among others.”