MILLIONS of AMU students and alumni around the world sing the university tarana every year. It brings back so many Aligarh memories to me and countless others. The tarana itself is a fine piece of Urdu poetry and the story behind it is an interesting one.
One of AMU’s most famous student and an Urdu poet of the highest calibre, Asrar-ul-Haq Majaz, attended the University between 1930 and 1936.2 It was 1936 when he penned his famous poem Nazr-e-Aligarh.1 Majaz first recited it the same year in the Union Hall, in the presence of the Pro-Vice Chancellor (PVC) A.B. Ahmed Haleem. Haleem stopped the recital when Majaz reached the lines “YahaaN ham ne kamandeN daalii haiN, Yahan hum ney shabkhooN (night raids) maaray haiN; YahaN hum nay qabaayeN nochii haiN, yahan hum nay taaj utaarey haiN” (Trans: We have scaled buildings here and ambushed here, We have torn garments here and removed crowns here4), and walked out. The huge gathering of students asked him to continue but Majaz did not. He had to relent later, and completed it in the Union Hall’s lawns (between Morrison court and Union building).3
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