A crucible of ideas
'Maiyyat pe meri aa ke kuch log yeh kahenge, sach-mooch mara hai Hullad, ya yeh bhi ek chutkula hai?' (Such is the reputation Hullad has gained that on his death, people gathering to mourn will ask whether he's really gone or it's one of his jokes?)
Hullad Moradabadi (Hullarh) aka Susheel Kumar Chadha (26th May 1944 – 12 July 2014) was born in Gujranwala town (now in Pakistan) to Shri Sardarilal Chadha and Vidyawanti Chadha. Hullad Moradabadi made poetry easy to understand, accessible, and enjoyable for the common man. Hullad, initially used to write poems of ‘Veer Ras’ that would extrude bravado. But he realised then there were many poets who had already made their name. He then chose humour, which in a way was an act of bravado. He did his college from KGK College in Muradabad, where he graduated in science and then did his masters in Hindi. In college, he joined a poet’s club and would often hold poetry recitation meetings. In 1962, Hullad was just 18 years but had made his stage presence known in Hindi poetry as 'Sabra'.
One incident is vividly remembered by his contemporaries from that time. In 1962, China attacked India. Even commoners had turned patriots. Prominent ‘Kavi Sammelans’ or meets were organized to mobilise masses against the Chinese invasion. ‘Veer Ras’ or poetry of valour and bravery had attained prominence. It was against this backdrop that an 18-year old Sushil Kumar Chaddha (Hullad) walked up to the organizers of the meet at Ram Lila Ground in New Delhi with a poem in hand. He was eying his chance to recite his poem from the stage that had names like Ram Dhari Singh Dinkar, Dr Shiv Mangal Singh ‘Suman’, Brajendra Awasthi and Shyam Narain Pande. The task was difficult. So, in the name of supporting the war effort, Chaddha (Hullad), offered his gold ring to the organizers as his contribution. The organizers took the ring but before they could say ‘thank you’ the Hullad requested, “Could I recite a poem, please!” a report in Hindustan Times published in April 2006 has quoted Hullad. Two years later, in 1964, Hullad says he earned his first remuneration of Rs. 11 for reciting his poetry. During another poetry meet he met ‘Kavi (poet) Kulhad’, and decided that since he cannot make a name in ‘Veer Ras’ poetry as some of the country’s top poets had already made their name, the young Susheel chose humor and satire as his focus and changed his name to ‘Hullad’. From then on, he has stood up to recite his rib-tickling verses in his unique style. A few years later he made a name for himself as ‘Hullad Muradabadi’.
Hullad even wrote Gazals like ‘Kal bhi man akela tha - aaj bhi akela hai’ - which was sung by Manhar Udaas. Surya Kumar Pandey, a humourist says that besides being a popular satirist, Hullad loved to experiment and was equally well-versed with reverse poetry. His satire and sarcasm also gained him an entry into the Hindi film industry, where he also acted as a comedian in films like Bandhan Baahon Ka (1988) and Santosh (1989). He wrote lyrics for a Hindi film, 'Nasbandi' directed by Inder Sen Johar (IS Johar) that was released after the Emergency in India in 1978. The film was on a family planning campaign run by Sanjay Gandhi under the name of sterilization. In this film, the song of the famous poet Hullad Muradabadi along with Indivar and Rajinder Krishan – “Kya mil gaya sarkar tumhe vasectomy kara ke … Emergency Laga Ke”. The song by singers Mahendra Kapoor and Manna Dey was based on how a common man was forced to undergo sterilization during ‘The Emergency’. The film was a hit. Subsequently, the song was prominently played as a parody during election campaigns by opposition parties in the country.
According to his daughter Soniya Nayyar, Hullad’s inauspicious astrological afflictions at the age of three, led his parents to relocate from Gujranwala to Moradabad soon after the partition in 1947. It is said that Hullad had a ‘Kal Sarp Dosha’ in his astrological chart, which also became a cause for relocation for the family. She says her grandparents had to start from scratch, but Hullad had a ‘Chandra Mangal Yuti’ (auspicious conjunction of moon and mars in astrology) -- which Nayyar believes, brought immense wealth and fame to the family and they became wealthy brass and steel exporters in Moradabad. Hullad’s family lived in Mercury Bazaar in the town. They later built a house in Panchsheel Colony near St Mary’s School, Civil Lines. Hullad had taken to writing poetry at a young age.
The family soon sold their house and settled in Mumbai in 1977. In the year 1968 he began as a teacher, and in the following year (1969) Hullad married Krishna Chaddha. He has three children. His son, now late Navneet Hullad was a poet and a TV serial actor. Navneet died of a heart attack at the age of 47 in 2018. He is also the producer of a Marathi Film ‘The Silence’ in 2017. The movie was directed by Gajendra Ahire. Hullad Muradabadi’s two daughters, Soniya is a principal at an education college in Mumbai and Manisha, is an IT professional. Apart from poetry, Hullad was drawn to astrology as well. Today his daughter Soniya has inherited this quality and is a well-known astrologer among Bollywood celebrities. Hullad has also won several literary awards and has been a very popular figure at Kavi sammelans.
Hullad carefully chose his subjects for his compositions--they were mostly aspects or things which one overlooked in mundane life. One of Hullad’ couplets read ‘Karja deta mitra ko vo murakh kahlay, Mahamurk vo yaar hai jo paise lautai,’ which translates to ‘A friend who lends money is called a fool, A greater fool is the friend who returns that money. It is said that he was the second poet, after late poet Jigar Muradabadi, who had made Muradabad town famous. He would be invited to many Kavi Sammelan’s where he spread the fragrance of his barbed humour-packed verses. One such Hullad’s couplet read,
“Neta bhashan dekar aaya, naukar par aakar ghurraya, Main aya hoon thaka, thakaya, paer dabao Ram Lubhaya. Naukar bola, ek zaroori baat bata doon, Bhashan se toh gala thaka hai, Aap kahe toh gala daba doon!” (A politician returned home after giving a speech and growled at his servant called Ram Lobhaya, “I have returned home tired, massage my feet will you Ram Lobhaya.” To this the servant replied, “Sir I would like to point out, since you gave a speech, your throat must be tired, If you allow me, Should I press that first?”
In later years Hullad teamed with late Shailendra Johari, Azad Saheb and Makkhan Muradabadi to set up an institution called Haas-Parihaas. For many years several leading Kavi Sammelans were organised under this banner. The collaborating poets even brought out a newsletter by the same name, which was published for several years. Later Haas-Parihaas organisation was rechristened as ‘Savera’. One of his contemporaries said that Hullad would often dramatize his poetry on stage, which was his uniqueness. He had a huge fan base in Lucknow. Talking about Hullad's achievements, Hindi poet Sarvesh Asthana says that although Hullad was from Moradabad, he had a huge fan following in Lucknow. “Hullad Muradabadi had a strong affiliation with Lucknow where he performed more than 50 times, the last time in 2002,” says Asthana, adding “Hullad Muradabadi pioneered ‘hasya’ in ghazals. Credit goes to him for blending beautifully, Hindi humorous poetry with ghazals around two decades back.”
Hullad was among the few poets in the country who had retained their credibility, rejected concessions from the powers-that-be and lavishly doled out humour to his audience— without fear or favour. In an interview to Hindustan Times, Hullad said, “I have spoken on everything from ‘chara’(fodder) to ‘ghotala’ (scams). That’s because I believe: Sabko us register pe haziri lagani hai, Maut wale daftar main chuttiyan nahi hoti (One day each one of us must register themselves at the office of death, where there are no holidays), Aur baat samajh main aa gayee bahut dino ke baad, Jeena hai agar shaan se, rakho maut ko yaad (And if you are aware of this truth, and If you want to lead a credible life, never forget your death),” he said.
“Jeena padega tujh ko har haal mein Hullad, Har din hai Mahabharat, har raat Karbala hai,” recites Surya Kumar Pandey, a humourist from Lucknow while remembering Hullad.
One day when someone advised Hullad that he should spare a few politicians if he wanted “free travel coupons” to be able to travel to foreign lands, He replied to them in a couplet, “Chote mote safar hain America ya Japan, Sabse lambi yatra ghar se shamsan.” (The Journey to America or Japan is not the longest, but the journey between your home and the crematorium is)
- Kalashri Award, Thitholi Award, TOYP Award, Mahakavi Nirala Award, Attahsa Shikhar Samman, Kaka Hathrasi Award, Comedy Ratna Award, HMV & TCeries' Compositions from Cassette 'Hullar in Hong Kong'. He was invited for breakfast by Dr Shankar Dayal Sharma at Rashtrapati Bhavan in March 1994
- Bangkok, Nepal, Hong Kong, And in 18 cities of America.
Itni uchi mat chodo, Kya Karegi Chandni, Ye Ander Ki Bat Hai, Triveni, Tathakathit bhagwano ke naam (awarded), Main bhi soochu tu bhi sooch, Hullad ka Hullad, Hazam ki hazamat, Hullad Hazara, Damdar aur doomdar dohe, Jigar Se Bidi Jala Le, Hullad Ki Shrast Hasya Vyang Rachnae, Aacha hai per kabhi kabhi, Hullad ke Jokes