“Woh Insani masaayil jo abhi tak naqabil-e-hal hain,
Agar rindon ko fursat ho to maykhaney me le ayen.”
“Please bring the unresolved and complicated problems – rigmaroles you can’t solve, that affect the humanity; we would solve them in this tavern of drinks.”
When the dictatorship of Gen Zia of Pakistan was at its zenith, one Ghazal of Faiz Ahmed Faiz, crooned by Mubarak Begum, changed the entire scenario against Zia and made him persona non grata:
“Hum dekhenge / laazim hai ke hum bhii dekhenge /hum dekhenge
Woh din ke jis kaa waada hai / jo lauh-e-azal mein likhaa hai / hum dekhenge
Jab zulm-o-sitam ke koh-e-giraan /rooii kii tarah uR jaayenge
Hum mahkoomon ke paaon tale / yeh dhartii dhaR dhaR dhaRkegii
aur ahl-e-hakam ke sar uupar / jab bijlii kaR kaR kaRkegii / hum dekhenge
Jab arz-e-Khudaa ke kaabe se / sab but uthwaaye jaayenge / hum ahl-e-safaa mardood-e-haram
masnad pe bithaaye jaayenge / sab taaj uchhaale jaayenge / sab takhth giraaye jaayenge / hum dekenge.
Bus naam rahegaa Allah kaa / jo Gaayab bhii hai Haazir bhii
Jo Manzar bhii hai Naazir bhii,
Uthegaa “Ana-l-Haqq” kaa naaraa / jo main bhii hoo.n aur tum bhii ho
aur raaj karegii Khalq-e-Khudaa / jo main bhii hoo.n aur tum bhii ho
hum dekhenge / laazim hai ke hum bhii dekhenge / hum dekhenge.”
It is inevitable that we too will see / we will see
That day which has been promised / Which has been written in the eternal tablet. We will see
When the heavy mountains of injustice / Will blow away like cotton-wool
Beneath the feet of us oppressed / Like a heartbeat this land will beat
And above the heads of the people-of-power / When lightning cracks and crackles
We will see / From the Kabah of God’s earth
All the idols will be lifted / We, the pure people, who have been rejected from the holy sanctuary
On cushions will we be seated / All crowns will be thrown up
All thrones will be thrown down / We will see
The only name remaining will be that of Allah / Who is invisible and yet is present
Who is both the scene and the spectator / The cry “I am truth” will rise up
That which I am and so are you
And the creation of God will rule
Of which I am and so are you
We will see
It is inevitable that we too will see
We will see
Urdu needs no favors from powers and governments; Urdu needs no comparative studies; Urdu needs no scholars and Pirtishthans; Urdu is too strong and omnipresent in the Indian psyche and it would survive even without a script. Sanskrit, one of the most beautiful ancient languages has its origin in Syria and Palestine and the presence of towns RAMALLAH signify that. Urdu is rooted purely in the Indian soil. It had overcome the tragedy of partition of India in 1947 when in Pakistan it was imposed as an official language over Punjabi, Pushto, Sindhi and other dialects spoken in their regions while in India it was replaced by Hindi.
The greatest damage that the RSS clones in Indian National Congress successfully did was the cornering the most beautiful language as an academic heritage written and read by Muslims only. Wonder of wonders, the language of Shah Zafar and Pandit Daya Shankar ‘Naseem’ and Pandit Anand Narayan ‘Mulla’ that was tactfully pushed by Hindi fanatics continued to thrive in society at every level as the language of love, devotion, etiquette, beauty, scenery, courage and chivalry. The Urdu Ghazals, film songs, dialogues, and mushairas keep drawing and mesmerizing large crowds of admirers – young and old, kids and aliens. While the Urdu poets of Pakistan tilted towards the vocabulary remained that was heavily Persianised, in India it got a swim into the masses stream. Indian Urdu literature is sweeter and lighter to ears – ‘Adab baray Zindage’ literature for the life; while the language of Pakistan’s Urdu literature is more towards ‘Adab baray Adab’ – literature for the sake of literature.
Despite the best of the efforts of Urdu-Muslim-Haters, Urdu is flourishing and there are burgeoning droves of Non-Muslims youth, both boys and girls, who enjoy the beauty of words, style and expression of Urdu in its original form.
Urdu was not born in a Madhushala, Maykhana or a tavern where Liquor is served. However, Urdu literature has a much to do with Makhana, Sharab and Shabab.
And here comes the Prima Dona of this article – “The Mohan Meakins Dairy of Urdu Poetry.”
But before I discuss about dairy let us learn about the history of enterprise that used to produce such a jewel of Urdu poetry every year.
The origin of ‘Mohan Meakin’ traces back to Edward Dyer from United Kingdom who set up the first ever brewery and made indigenous beer available to Indians as well as Britain. He set up breweries at Solan, Simla, Muree, Rawalpindi and Mandalay. Another entrepreneur H G Meakin came to India from Britain and bought the Old Simla and Solan Breweries, from Edward Dyer and added more at Ranilkhet, Dalhousie, Chakrata, Darjeeling and Kirkee.
After the First World War, the Meakin and Dyer breweries merged and in 1937 the company was restructured with its Indian assets as Dyer Meakin Breweries, a public company on the London Stock Exchange. The first Indian owner Shri N N Mohan, raised funds and travelled to London where he acquired a majority stake in Dyer Meakin Breweries. He took over management of the company in 1949 and built new breweries at Lucknow, Ghaziabad, and Khapoli (near Mumbai) and the company name was changed to Mohan Meakin Breweries in 1967.
On the death of N.N. Mohan in 1969, his eldest son Colonel V.R. Mohan took over as Managing Director. He introduced a number of new products that are brand leaders today but died in 1973, soon after taking the helm. In the 1970s the manufacturing activities of the company were diversified into other fields including breakfast cereals, fruit juices and mineral water under the leadership of Brigadier Dr. Kapil Mohan. Subsequently the word brewery was dropped from the company name in 1982 to remove the impression that the company was engaged only in beer making.
They say, the Lucknow Mohan family loved Urdu and their dairy had a galore of admirers who had anything to Urdu. Many of friends still recall it as a masterpiece of Urdu poetry.
That makes me nostalgic of a close friend Mr Thaur, a connoisseur of Liquor and Urdu poetry in erstwhile Bombay and he used to manage a Meakins Urdu Dairy year after. We were peers in a Food Processing Unit in early 70’s. He died of overdrinking and with him died the never-ending stream of beautiful virgin scintillating Urdu couplets and the dairy of course. Despite the best of my efforts I couldn’t find the beautiful souvenir of Urdu Literature again.
Ream More By Naim Naqvi
Image Supplied By Author