In praise of paan

dekhna ai “Zauq” honge aaj phir laakhoN ke khooN
phir jamaaya us ne laal-e-lab pe laakha paan kaa
— Zauq

Paan is almost as old as India itself. Ameer Khusro in his book “ijaaz-e-khusravi” gives some qualities of paan.

1. Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him) has informed about its benefit.
2. It gets the root of the teeth fortified and this thing is known by experience that the teeth of the inhabitants of other lands fall because of eating fruits while the Indians who use it excessively do not fall.
3. It removes the pus in teeth, which is a source of abhorrence, and it, brightens teeth.
4. Removes the foul smell of the mouth.
5 . When it is chewed it produces good smell, which gets the mind of those present fragrant.
6. It removes phlegm.
7. Makes heart cheerful.
8. All fats are source of redness, and this leaf removes redness.
9. For the healing of wound of arrow or sword, it is tied on the wound.
10. It prevents vomit and exhilarates heart burning.
11. For the satiated it increases appetite.
12. It is a source of satiety in hunger.
13. It brings a little intoxication (exhilaration).
14. Of nine tastes, it has three perfect ones – bitter, salty & sweet, and tasteless pungent.
15. Six fruits have six different tastes while this leaf tastes as if it is all the six fruits.
16. Of the seven colors, it has five perfect ones – red, green, white, blackish like aloe wood and yellow.
17. Not without companions- areca nut, lime, and color.




Lucknow ki shaan, Azhar bhai ka paan [Photo: TwoCircles.net]

18. Everywhere fruits are eaten and not the leaf but here the leaf is taken as a fruit.
19. Monarchs never keep any food in the robe except this and that too with great honor.
20. Eating anything in a market is regarded a bad habit but this food is a sign of greatness.
21. It is used on the occasion of entertainment, it is always kept away from mourning and grief.
22. It is fit for hospitality.
23. All the leaves separated from the branch do not survive beyond one day, while this leaf is fresh even after six months.
24. it is fresh with water and also is fresh without water.
25. By taking the betel the beauty of the handsome person increases.
26. It turns the pearl like teeth into the sun-faced Indian(women) gem.
27. It decorates the assembly of the companions.
28. The gifts that are exchanged between the lover and the beloved, none is better than this.
29. Its taste is ecstatical and not sensual.
30. Its external form is admirable.

[From the translation published by The Islamic Thought and Science Institute, USA]

Jaan hai to jahaan hai – Urdu expressions

There are some expressions that have become part of our language, so much so that very few of us know the origin or even the full couplet where they come from. Muhammad Ramzan Abdul Shakoor has made it easy for us to find those ashaar by compiling them all in one book.

Here are some samples:

Gul phenke hain aalam ki taraf balke samar bhi
ai khana bar andaaz-e-chaman kuchh to idhar bhi — Sauda

mat sahal hamein jano phirta hai falak barsoN
tab khaak ke parde se insaan nikalte hain — Meer

na chherh ai nikhat baad-e-bahari, rah tak apni
tujhe aTkheliyaaN soojhti haiN ham bezaar baithe haiN — Inshaullah Khan Insha



“Jaan hai to jahaan hai pyaare” is from a Meer sher. A tempo in Delhi in 2011 displays a slightly modified line. [Photo: TwoCircles.net]

baja kahiye jisse aalam, usse baja samjho
zabaan-e-khalq ko naqaara-e-khuda samjho — Zauq

ye kahaaN ki dosti hai ke bane haiN dost naaseh
koi charah-saaz hota, koi gham-gusaar hota — Ghalib

panchviN pusht hai shabbir ki maddahi meiN
umr guzri hai iss dasht ki sayyahi meiN — Meer Anees

iss ghairat-e-nahid ki har taan hai deepak
sho’la sa lapak jaaye hai aawaz to dekho – Momin

ham aah bhi karte haiN to ho jaate haiN badnaam
wo qatl bhi karte hain to charcha nahi hota — Akbar Ilahabadi

vai-e-nakaami mataa-e-karvaaN jata raha
karvaaN ke dil se ehsas-e-ziyaaN jata raha — Allama Iqbal

khird ka naam junooN parh gaya, junooN ka khird
jo chaahe aap ka husn-e-karishma saaz kare – Hasrat Mohani

dil ki basti purani dilli hai
jo bhi guzra hai ussne loota hai — Basheer Badr

qatl-e-hussain asl meiN marg-e-yazeed hai
islam zinda hota hai har karbala ke baad — Muhammad Ali Jauhar

Book: She’ri jawaharaat aur zarbul misaal
Pages: 148
Price : Rs. 50
Edition: 2008
Address: 447, Dasvin Gali, Islampura, Malegaon (Maharashtra).

or contact Urdu Book Review (urdubookreview@gmail.com)