Dakhani, the language of Hyderabad, with its Marathi, Kannada and Telugu loanwords and its guttural quality, has always been held to be the unsophisticated cousin of Urdu. However, the language flourished in thousands of folk songs and poems, most of which are still remembered by Dakhani speakers today. In his article on Dakhani poet Sulaiman Khateeb and the language’s literary legacy, ‘The God of Small Verse,' Gautam Pemmaraju unravels the history of Dakhani and its poets. This compilation contains two poems by Khateeb, and one by Ghouse Mohiuddin Ahmed, also known as Khamakha.
1. Sulaiman Khateeb was known as “the badshah of mizahiya shayri,” humourous or satirical poetry, and in this clip from a 1975 Hindi movie titled Maze Le Lo, Khateeb himself recites his nazm ‘Chora-Chori.’ In this nazm, a boy’s mother approaches a kinswoman, and the two discuss a the boys prospects for a marriage alliance.
2. 'Shayr Ki Izzat' is one of Khateeb's most popular poems. The poet spent his life as an employee of the civic waterworks department in Gulbarga, and this poem addressed the irony of practical matters of life intruding on the creation of poetry.
3. Khamakha, now in his eighties, lives in Panjagutta. For sixty years, he worked as a draughtsman in Mumbai's electricity department. Known for his satirical poetry, and popular with the hyderabadi diaspora, Khamaka often lampoons himself deprecatingly. In this clip, he recites his poem 'Nai Bole Toh Suntey Nai.'
Read 'The God of Small Verse' by Gautam Pemmaraju, published in The Caravan's February 2015 issue, in full here.