There is no dearth of poets in Hyderabad. But, he remains a cut above the rest. You can rock to his romantic ghazals and also sob to his soulful dirges. That’s Saeed Shaheedi for you. A poet who defies definition.

A prolific writer, Saeed has left his stamp in all genres of Urdu poetry – Ghazal, Qasida (panegyric), Naath (eulogy of the Prophet), Manqabat (sufi devotional poem), Rubai (quatrain), Munajaat (supplication), Salam (salutation), Marsia (elegy) and Noha (lamentation). He carved out a special niche for himself as versifier of Ahl-e-Bait.

His devotional poetry written in praise of the Prophet’s family is a big draw during the Muharram mourning sessions. Saeed is equally popular for his ghazals where he is at his best depicting the feelings of love and bereavement.

Born Mir Abid Ali, he is known by the nom de plume Saeed. During his lifetime, he figured among the show stealers. His style of rendition apart, the profundity of thought, the pungent freshness, poignancy and music in his verses cast a mesmerising spell. The effect is much the same even now as the poet himself remarked once:

Jab bhi mehfil main chidi meri ghazal
Sari mehfil ko tadapta dekha

(Whenever my ghazal is recited/ The entire assemblage is seen in spasm)

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What is unique about this Shayer-e-Deccan is that he could express exquisite sentiments with beauty, ardour and pathos in short beher (meter). His lyrical power is extraordinarily versatile and renders the whole gamut of human emotions with consummate felicity. Most of his ghazals betray a nostalgic longing for the beloved. Sample these verses:

Kaise sukoon paoon tujhe dekhne ke baad
Ab kya ghazal sunaoon tujhe dekhne ke baad
Teri nigah-e-mast ne maqmoor kar diya
Kya maikadh ko jaoon tujhe dekhne ke baad

His ghazals are distinctive and moving. Using elegant vocabulary and metaphorical allusions, Saeed is able to express different shades of feelings while adhering to rhyme and meter. See how in this ghazal he plays on words and emotions which he alone could do.

Kis ko pane ki baat karte ho
Hosh udane ki baat karte ho
Jam khali laga ke honton ko
Ladkhadane ki baat karte ho

Known as poet of ‘Barq-o-Aashiyan’, Saeed’s shayeri is full of references to lightning and nest. He employs these metaphors superbly in different contexts to depict the ravages suffered by a hapless lover at the hands of the beloved and to cock a snook at destiny.

Barq ke liye kya kya zahmaten uthata hoon
Aashiyan ke jalte hi aashiyan banata hoon
Aashiyane ki bunyad rakh ker Saeed
Barq ka housla azmate hain hum

It is difficult to gauge the depth of his poetry as he mastered the art of expressing difficult situations in an easy way. The agony of Karbala, the most poignant chapter in Islamic history, has a bearing on his poetry. No wonder his verses have the sensation of smouldering embers. But, they don’t scorch the readers and listeners – rather bestow the warmth of life upon them. Saeed surely is one of a kind. This is best summed up in his own words:

Ghalib nahin main phir bhi Saeed itna kahoonga
Har ek se hat kar mera andaze bayan hai

Poetry runs in his genes with his father, Mir Mehdi Ali, being a poet himself. Saeed gave a hint of his brilliance when he took part in the annual mushaira held at Nizam College as a student. Those present, including the then Prime Minister Maharaja Kishan Prasad, couldn’t miss the great poet in the making.

Mubtalaye zulf ghabrate nahin
Khelte hain khaid mein zanjeer se

Though Saeed worked in the Excise Department, he remained a poet at heart. He was bestowed the title of said-us-shora and travelled widely addressing poetic sessions both within and outside the country. His poems were regularly broadcast from All India Radio and BBC. Perhaps, Saeed had an inkling of his fame and said it in a subtle way in this couplet:

Aankhen khul jaayengi zamane ki
Meri aankhen to bund hone do

There could be no better tribute to this master poet than publication of his complete works. Another great son of the soil, Dr Syed Taqi Abedi, deserves compliments for bringing out the Kuliyat-e-Saeed Shaheedi to mark his birth centenary celebrations held on January 23, 2018. A collector’s issue, the 759-page tome contains all the 3,869 verses composed by him along with the views of top writers. #KhabarLive