Kolkata: He is just forty, and is the deputy commissioner of Kolkata’s Special Task Force. But that is not his only introduction these days. Murlidhar Sharma, an Indian Police Service (IPS) Officer has just completed a book, which is a compilation of his Urdu poetry. Yes, you heard that right! Urdu, it is. Murlidhar Sharma, has burned his midnight oil to master Urdu zubaan (language).
Speaking to eNewsroom, Sharma says, “Even, as a child, I remember, I had this inherent curiosity for Urdu language. It was the sweetness of Urdu that appealed to me. I was also very fascinated by this language, where people wrote from other side of the page (Urdu is written from the right hand side, of the page, unlike other languages, which are written from the left hand side).”
Sharma, has a pen name too. “I write under the name of Taalib, it means the one with a hunger to learn. It was given to me by my ustad, who thought that I was really crazy to learn the language,”says the IPS officer, who is all set to publish his first book called Haasil-e-Sahranavardi (What is gained by wandering in a desert).
To understand his fascination for the language, one needs to know, that Sharma, has a strong connect with his roots. This becomes, evident, when he says, that his favourite colour is khakhi–the colour of his uniform and also the soil, that he calls maati. The IPS officer, was born into a humble family, in a small village called Mandi Adampur, near Hisar in Haryana. His hamlet happens to be a town, which had a lot of refugees from Pakistan’s Punjab area inhabiting it, from the time of partition. It was some of his Urdu speaking neighbours, in his village, who introduced a young Sharma to the world of Ghalib, Mir, Firaaq and Daag.
“The softness of Urdu words amid the rough Haryanvi language was like music to my ears. No wonder, I was fascinated towards it. However, all my attempts to master the language, failed. My friends at Jawahar Lal Nehru’s Urdu department did try helping me out, but I guess, I was destined to fulfill my dream in Kolkata,”says Sharma.
His passion was Urdu was so much that he even hired a maulana from a mosque that was bang opposite his police station to introduce him to a language that he had always loved. “Now, it’s obvious that I couldn’t hire a pandit to teach me Urdu. So, it had to be a maulana. My family had initial reservation towards me learning the language. But seeing my passion, they too surrendered,”he says with a laugh. He then adds, “You know what, you can’t link Urdu to a particular religion. It is an Indian language and can be learnt by any.”
Coming back to his favourite poets, he says, “Mir, is my favourite poet, as there is a certain mausiqi (music) in his poems. Also, I can relate myself with his writings. “Well, does, that mean he has no favourite in the contemporary poets? He says, “Well, its not like that. The present generation shayars (poets), are also good. You can’t compare classics and contemporary. The poets of today, can also create the same magic as Ghalib and Mir. But yes, the style has changed. And why not? Back then poets didn’t have Facebook or Twitter.”
Speaking, about poets of today, he mentions, “Urdu poetry is making a comeback. Events like Jashn-e-Rekhta, which just concluded in New Delhi is doing great in popularising works of Urdu poets.”
Sharma says, for him, writing poems is like jogging or eating. “I have to write a couple of verses daily. My poems are about life, they are not romantic. Though the first few that I wrote, as a youngster were all mushy,”he says with a chuckle.
Being a modern poet, who is very much into YouTube and other social media, he says, that contemporary poets don’t need a stage. “In the age of YouTube, who needs a stage? Also, when it comes to writing my poems I just keep them onto my smart phone.”
With the recent popularity that poet Hussain Haidry, has got via his YouTube upload, the officer does have a point. Times are changing for sure.