Gulzar is in news again. Not for right reason this time. This brilliant poet dealing in surrealism is accused of dealing in plagiarism. Stunning and outrageous isn’t it? One of the lesser heard name from world of poetry has accused him of lifting the idea and verses from Nazım Hikmet’s, a famous Turkish poet, playwright and novelist, poem “Mera Janaza”. Well, it’s not a hard nut to crack to ascertain the real motive of such people who are trying to ride roughshod over his genuine achievements. They are all burning in the fire of envy.
There are two ways to attain success in literary world. Either work hard, write good pieces, or since that takes lot of energy besides needing lots of intellectual usage of brain, the easier route to fame for most of upcoming writers have been to enter into conflict with some established writer. That way you gain instant recognition. Some depressed and frustrated writers not able to gain the desired recognition try to heal themselves by painting other eminent writers into wrong colours. It’s easy for them to give rise to vain controversies and gain quick popularity which they failed to attain via their creations. In Indian literary landscape, it’s commonplace to find one writer engaged in character assassination of other writer. A constant effort is made by some writers, under the aegis of fake institutions, to label the good work done by other writers as rubbish.
It’s really sad that at least, in India, it has become some sort of fashion for writers to write less and play politics more. That not only ensures them awards, cream posts in various academic institutions but also provides them a chance to be branded as successful writer! After all, what’s the point in calling Gulzar a plagiarist ? He is an Academy Award winner for penning best song in movie ” Slumdog Millionaire”. His poems are read across the globe for their beautiful metaphors blended with delicate lyrical construction. The free flowing loosely constructed verses not only talk about ironies of life but also direct our vision towards something beyond the normal human perceptions. It’s ridiculous to suggest that a poet of such an evolved nature, capable of penning good poetry with such great ease, can enter in plagiarism. Why the hell would he ever do that?
The argument that there is remarkable resemblance between the two poems i.e. one penned by Gulzar, Mai Neeche Chal Ke Rahta Hun, and other penned by Nazım Hikmet, Mera Janaza, is quite laughable. It may be that he was quiet inspired and he came to write his own version of the same feelings echoed in Mera Janaza but somehow failed to give due credit to the said poet. However, Gulzar has already mentioned that he always loved to read Russian writers or, for that matter, take note of great writings spread in foreign literature.
He never kept it secret that he has not read works of Russian writers. It itself is a proof that one can trace his source of inspiration! I need to say that there are always chances that two people come to express the same views with great degree of similarity in expressions. That’s called a rare coincidence. However, I am ready to admit that in this case the level of similarity is of greater degree, and therefore, Gulzar should have specifically mentioned about Nazım Hikmet’s poem as footnote.
However, I raise strong objection to the efforts made by some people to make Gulzar get branded as plagiarist. That’s only the sign of mental retardation of people making such attempts. Even the Western worlds are not above such crude attempts. Just few years back V. S. Naipaul labeled some great writer’s creations as rubbish!
I mean one can see some meaning in words of Noble Prize winner writer like Naipaul but it’s hard to understand how can writers devoid of stature can paint another writer enjoying great fame as plagiarist? Do they have the moral courage or enough stature, attained after writing good pieces, to pass judgement on the worth of writings of their contemporary great writers? To be honest, let those who have not attained any height stop measuring the worth of writers who have given us some excellent creations. Who has given the intellectual dwarfs to issue certificates of excellence to literary geniuses like Gulzar? Any answers?
Anyway, listen this Gulzar’s song from movie Aandhi: Is Mode Se Jaate Hai