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Badrul Muneer Husnul Jamal: 1870s poem in Arabic-Malayalam script to be telecast on Doordarshan

By Najiya O., TwoCircles.net

Kochi: ‘Badrul Muneer Husnul Jamal’, the first romantic poem written by the famous poet late Moin Kutty Vaidyar, will be telecast on Doordarsan from 11th July (Saturday) onwards. Mappilappattu singer Rahman Vazhakkad and party will present the songs.

The legendary ballad is presented on the mini screen for the first time. Kanesh Poonoor, famous lyricist, has written the screenplay for the musical. The programme will be telecast in three episodes. The Mappila art forms of Malabar like oppana, kolkkali, daf, arabana, vattappattu etc too will be presented in addition to the musical. The programme is directed by Anand Varma of the Doordarsan Kendra in Kozhikode. The programme will be telecast at 5.30 pm on 11th, 2.30 pm on 12th and 9.30 pm on 13th in Kerala.

‘Mahakavi’ Moin Kutty Vaidyar was born in Kondotty in Malappuram district in 1857. Living in the times when the oppression of the British was at its heights, Vaidyar had a very strong sense of freedom. He learned many languages like Sanskrit, Arabic, Hindustani, Kannada, Persian and Tamil. He also learned Malayalam, which was not generally learned by Muslims of the time who preferred Arabic. And when he began writing, he used all these languages as well as dialects prevalent at the time in his poems.

The Mahakavi (meaning great poet) authored the legendary ballad when he was only 20 (1872) in the Arabic-Malayalam script, which was widely used by Muslims of the Malabar area till very recent times. In Arabic-Malayalam, Malayalam words are written in Arabic script. Some alphabets were added to the Arabic alphabets to be able to include all Malayalam sounds. It also included Sanskrit, Urdu and Tamil words. And this was the reason why he was not properly studied in later years and even now. However, now serious efforts are being made to understand and study this great scholar-cum poet.

His knowledge of several languages had its part in his works. With the peculiar deployment of vocabulary, he created meaning, expressions and ambience to his works, which is hard to be seen in the literary works of any time. He contributed ‘ishal’ (raga) to Mappilappattu, the ethnic poetic genre of Malabar. Love and war were the topics that he selected for his works. He blended history, fantasy and fiction in his poems. The ‘Badr Padappattu’ (1876) about the Battle of Badr that took place in the Prophet’s times is a very good example for this. The songs about the battle that had been transferred orally for generations were used in the work.

His songs were very helpful in instigating the anti-colonial struggle in the 19th century Malabar. He sang songs of independence and individuality. His poems inspired people to fight against the oppressive feudalism and British rule. His works also voiced against the social and cultural evils of the time.

While studies about the Mahakavi focus mainly on his literary contributions, it is not widely known and accepted that he was a well-known scholar and indigenous medical practitioner. He had his religious education and material education from the famous teachers of the time. Born to a family of indigenous medical practitioners, he too learned the trade. However, it is to be noted well that by the time he died at the age of 40 in 1892, he had become the icon of Mappilappattu in Malabar.