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Maulana Hasrat Mohani, India’s poet and freedom-fighter was an icon of communal harmony!

The well-known Urdu poet and freedom fighter, Maulana Hasrat Mohani was one of the Indian mystics who had celebrated divine love and syncretic devotion.

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Maulana Hasrat MohaniThe well-known Urdu poet and freedom fighter, Maulana Hasrat Mohani was one of the Indian mystics who had celebrated divine love and syncretic devotion. He was in his own words, a Sufi mo’min (Sufi believer) and ishtiraaki Muslim (secular Muslim), Aashiq-e-Rasool (lover of the Prophet) and a Krishn bhakt (Krishna devotee) at the same time.

It was Hasrat Mohani, who coined the revolutionary slogan ‘Inquilab Zindabad!’ with an aim to ignite the passion for freedom of India. His revolutionary idea of Inqilab was intertwined with his beautiful concept of darweshi (mysticism) which he showed as the ultimate path for the freedom of India as well as the liberation of Indian people’s souls. This is precisely what he called for in many of his mesmerising Urdu couplets like this:

Darweshi-o-inqilab maslak hai mera

Sufi momin hun, ishtiraki muslim

(Translation: Mysticism and Revolution are my creeds,

For I am a Sufi believer, as well as a Secular Muslim)

As a revolutionary ideologue of the 1947 freedom movement, Hasrat Mohani envisaged to bring together the two different religious communities—Hindus and Muslims—through his beautiful mystical concept of love for the ‘Indian Prophets’ which, in his view, included Shri Krishna. He called him ‘Hazrat Krishn’ and venerated him as a Prophet, and a noble, righteous, beloved messenger of God. He also offered theological bases, as laid out by several Indian Sufis like Hazrat Mazhar Jan-e-Janan, to prove that Krishna is a source of unity and accord between Hindus and Muslims in India. Mohani exhorted Indian Muslims not to forget the earlier prophets who had been sent down to various territories, according to the Qur’an. Thus, Mohani’s poetry is full of love and devotion for ‘Hazrat Krishn’ in which he is revered as an embodiment of divine compassion, tenderness and mercy. Here is one such instance of Mohani’s Urdu couplets in love for Krishna:

“To-se lagaai Kanhaai preet

Kahu or kisurati ab aai kaahe

Hasrat Tan man dhan sab waar-ke

Mathura nagar ramaai chali dhooni”

(My heart has fallen in love with Kanhaiya. Why would anyone else think of it now? Hasrat, give up all that is yours for him. Then go to Mathura and become a jogi)

He also composed these couplets in praise for Krishna:

Irfan-e-ishq hai mere ka maqaam

Hamil hoonkis ke payaam ka naghma-e-nai ke

Labrez-e-noor hai dil-e-Hasrat, and zahe-naseeb

Ikhusn-i-mushkfaam ke ka shauq-i-tamaam

(I stand where the perfect knowledge of love is found. Who is the flute whose melody fills me? What a good fortune, Hasrat, that your heart brims with a glowing love for the beauty of musk!)

The Maulana also issues a “fatwa” to justify his love for Krishan, considering the religious fanatics who may criticise his devotion to Krishna:

“Puna hoe na kipreet ka paap Shyam

Kou kaahe pashchatap karat hai

Neha ki aag maatan-pupa

Jalat rahi chup-chaap kab lag”

(Loving Shyam is not a sin, nor a virtue. So why do people repent? How long do I have to burn silently in the fire of love, oppressing my heart and my body?)

Today India’s freedom fighters and mystic poets such as Maulana Hasrat Mohani must be remembered at a time when communal harmony is eroding in the country. His pluralistic messages in India should be revitalized, with the view to creating an environment in which love is the only religion.

By Ghulam Rasool Dehlvi

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