Poetic Innovation by Gulzar

Gulzar - A genius

Gulzar - A genius

When writing poetry itself demands such high standards of creative abilities; inventing a new form of poetry should demand one to be absolutely genius! Well, one such genius of modern Hindu and Urdu Poetry Gulzar (original name – Sampooran Singh Kalra) has come up with a very interesting form of poetry called “Triveni”. It was introduced first around 1972-73, but has enjoyed lot more popular success since the beginning of the new millenium.

Gulzar has however gained greater fame as a lyricist and director in Hindi film industry. The poetry form Triveni that he has introduced and made popular is rather a beautiful modification of traditional Shayaree of Urdu poetry. In a traditional Shayari there are two lines in one Stanza which is known as a sher. In Triveni, Gulzar adds a third line to a normal stanza. The beauty of it is, that first two lines in themselves are expression of a complete image, but when you read the third one, a whole new dimension is added to the original one.

How did he derive the term “Triveni”? Word Triveni comes from Triveni Sangam, the famous confluence of three rivers Ganga, Jamuna and invisible Saraswati at Allahabad, India. Ganga and Jamuna are visible but Saraswati is a mythological river and is supposed to be flowing underground. Similarly in Gulzar’s Triveni, the first two lines depict a situation or an image but the third line, in a way unearths the undercurrent truth and the entire situation gets a new meaning.

Look at this example :

maa ne duaaye di thi…
ek chand si dulhan ki….

aaj footpath par lete hue… yeh chand mujhe roti nazar aata hai!


Mother had blessed that…
I get a wife (so beautiful..) like a moon!….

And now…lying down on this footpath….this moon, to me, looks like a Roti (Bread)

(I know. The translation sucks!! Or maybe it’s me!)

I can’t resist pasting one more…

Mujhe aaj koi aur na rang lagao…
Purana laal rang ek abhi bhi taaza hai.

Armaano ka khoon hue zyaada din nahii hua hai…


Don’t color me any differently today,
the old Red, is still fresh!

It hasn’t been so long, since the ambitions got killed!!

And the last one….

Tere gesoo jab bhi baatein karte hain,
Uljhi-uljhi si woh baatein hoti hain…

Meri ungliyon ki mehmaangi, unhein pasand nahin…


Your hair,
whenever they talk…they gibber

Don’t they like their guests?…My fingers!

If you want to hear Gulzar himself reciting watch the video clip inserted here. Or you can read some more Trivenis here, here and here. (Note: All links and the recital below, are in Hindi)


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