Ghazanfar Abbas | Caravan Daily
NEW DELHI: As if his miseries were not enough after the Delhi government declared him ‘dead’ and stopped his meager old-age pension five years ago, noted Urdu poet of humor Asrar Jamayee was recently hit by a car. After the right hand got fractured, with which he would write poems and move around the city reciting them to individuals and at poetry events, the octogenarian poet is now confined to his room at his friend’s house in Jamia Nagar, and living a very miserable life, almost quietly.
He has been living an unnoticeable and miserable life since 2013 when the Social Work department of Delhi government declared him ‘dead’ and stopped his monthly old-age pension of Rs 1500. Over a year ago when the misdeed of the government department was reported in the media, the Arvind Kejriwal government had ordered an enquiry and assured restoration of Asrar’s pension. At the orders of Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, Social Welfare Minister Rajendra Pal Gautam had visited Asrar on 19th June. More than a year have passed, his pension has not yet been restored.
Known for humorous Urdu poetry, unmarried Asrar, in his eighties, has been passing his old age days in his friend’s house in a dingy lane in national capital’s Jamia Nagar area. While he was already struggling as poetry event organizers stopped inviting him due to his age, the social work department declared him ‘dead’ in 2013. He used to get Rs 1500/- as monthly old-age pension through Jamia Co-operative Bank.
Two weeks ago, while walking on the road in his locality, he was hit by a car and his right hand got fractured, and the accident has further increased his problems.
Talking to Caravan Daily at his home, he said: “Someone hit me while backing his car in a nearby street. I fell down and asked for help but people came very late. Some people took me to a local hospital.”
A few well-wishers are visiting him daily as they get to know about the accident.
“Salaam, glad to see you. How are you? Say my Salaam to my well-wishers and ask them to pray for me,” Asrar, sitting in the chair, told a well-wisher.
While we were in conversation, an Urdu PhD scholar from Jamia Millia Islamia entered the room and gave Asrar his repaired spectacle. Asrar smiled at the fan Imtiyaz and said in his shivering voice, “Thank you very much for this”.
Asrar is recovering gradually but he has become so weak that he is unable to sit or stand alone properly. Due to old age, he is also suffering with hearing problem and forgetfulness. So, he asks his visitors to write their names, mobile numbers and addresses on a note pad alongside on the table where papers are also kept with his poetry and mobile number written on them.
When Caravan Daily asked him about his pension, he said, “Nothing happened. Ab kya aayegi pension (It seems not going to come). Now, I have complaint against the person whose car hit me and fractured my hand.”
Asrar Jamayee was born in 1937 in Patna, Bihar. He has been fond of poetry since childhood. He did B.Sc. from Jamia Millia Islamia. He used to be a pupil of Dr. Zakir Husain (who later became President of India) at Jamia. Before becoming popular as Asrar Jamayee, he was known as Asrar-Ul-Haq. He has written four books and many booklets in Urdu and Hindi poetry including Dilli Darshan, Bharat Darshan and Ram Darhsan.
Once a guest of the former President APJ Abdul Kalam, former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and despite receiving several awards, Asrar is struggling for his recognition today.
As a parting gift, Asrar recites his two couplets:
Ameeron Key Ghar Ki Humney Ajab Shaan Dekhi,
Ghareebon Key Ghar Wo Jatey Nahi,
Diya Wo Sabka Khatey hain,
Per Daya Wo Kisi Per Khatey Nahi