Lucknow is keeping this art alive

“Bazm Ki Har Har Qadm Par Kar Rahe Hain Rehbari,
Marsiya Padhna Sikhate Hain Janab Jafri”

Atif Hanif

Syed Haider Nawab Jafri born on 5th July 1940 is rightly known as ‘Aftab-e Marsiya Khwani’. He is the best exponent of this art and Lucknow is proud on him for keeping the traditions alive. His lineage is from Agha Meer who was in court of Nawab Ghazi-ud Din Haider. Syed Agha Ali Jaan was grandson of Agha Meer and he constructed Imambara in Katra Abu Tarab which was famous for Marsiya Khwani. His grandfather, Syed Raza Ali Khan was instrument in his upbringing. He gifted him marsiya of Hazrat Nafees, ‘Siraj-e Mehfil Aijaz Hai Kaam Mera’ when he was just 7 years old. His father, Syed Asghar Ali Khan also gifted him marsiya ‘Jab Shaam Ke Qareeb Haram Ka Guzar Hua’.

Jafri Saheb recited these two marsiyas in small gatherings. His first important majlis was in Madrasa Nazmiya Lucknow and he was highly appreciated by people. He was educated from Shia Old Boys School and Girdhari Singh Inter College. Being employed at office of Chief General Manager Telecommunications, his passion was always Marsiya !

“Yadgar-e Zamana Hain Hum Log,
Yaad Rakho Fasana Hain Hum Log”

Bazm-e Marsiya Khwani Lucknow was founded on 23rd April 1975 to promote the art of Marsiya Khwani. On 15th April 1979, Dabistan-e Marsiya Khwani Lucknow was established to make students learn about this unique art. It is the only school which teaches Marsiya Khwani in India and adjoining countries. The objective is to keep the tradition alive. Such formal teaching never happened anywhere and it is an honour that such school is operational in Lucknow.

Vishwa Nath Prasad Mathur Lucknawi has praised the effort as follows :

“Khula Hai Jab Se Dabistan-e Marsiya Khwani,
Badhi Hai Aur Hi KuchShaan-e Marsiya Khwani,
Qadam Yeh Nek Hai Haider Nawab Ka Mathur,
Badhai Asl Me Hai Jaan-e Marsiya Khwani”

Historical Majlis of 25 Rajab was started in reign of Nawab Naseer-ud Din Haider at Dil Araam Baradari, Chaupatiya. Marsiya was recited by Mir Anees in this Majlis. After his death in 1874, his son Khursheed Ali Nafees recited till 1901. Meer Khursheed Hasan recited from 1901-1930, Mohammad Hasan recited from 1930- 1946. After his death, the Majlis moved to Nazim Saheb Imambara which was recited by Syed Ali Nawab Saheb from 1946-1951. This year it was divided in two locations; first at the same location by Syed Sajjad Hussain till 1975. Syed Hadi Saheb recited at second location in Ghufran Maab Imambara till 1976. Syed Saheb recited at first location till 1978. It was then shifted to Deorhi Rafiq-ud Daulah Kashmiri Mohalla and recited by Mirza Mohammad Hussain and finally it is recited by Syed Haider Nawab Jafri Saheb till now !

“Ek Watan Kya Ghair Mulko Me Tumhara Naam Hai,
Tum Ne Is Maidan Me Ki Hai Is Tarah Se Rehbari”

Role of media is always critical in preserving and propagation, so Jafri Saheb also involved such steps. Detailed articles about various aspects of Marsiya were published so that people can be made aware about this art. It was noticed by the government authorities and like minded people, which ultimately resulted in positive direction. He has been awarded with numerous awards for his remarkable service to Marsiya Khwani : Anees Award, Bulbul-e Bostaan-e Haidari, Jaan Nasheen-e Khuda- e Sukhan, Khushbu-e Anees, etc. Lucknow Society organized Shaam-e Adab on Mir Anees on 29th June 2013 and Syed Haider Nawab Jafri Saheb recited Marsiya in the seminar !

“Sab Bhool Chuke The Woh Kahani Ata Kar Di,
Doobi Hui Nabzo Ko Rawani Ata Kar Di,
Ae Yusuf-e Bazar-e Adab Jafri Toone,
Phir Marsiya Khwani Ko Jawani Ata Kar Di”

Writer is marketing professional. Being a freelance writer, Lucknow and Urdu are his passions.

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