By Subhash K Jha
MUMBAI: After a serious health scare when the poet-writer-lyricist was immobilized by a back problem, Javed Akhtar’s life has been brightened up with some joyful tidings.
He has been awarded the country’s highest literary award the Sahitya Akademi award for his poems in the anthology entitled Lava.
Happy to be on his feet again, physically and creatively, Javed Saab says, “Mazey ki baat yeh hai k eek parivaar mein teen sadasyon ko Sahitya Akademi award se samnanna gaya hai (interestingly three people from the same family have been honoured with the Sahitya Akademi award). My father (poet-lyricist Jan Nissar Akhtar) got the Sahitya Akademi in 1976 for his collection of poems Khak-e-Dil. My father-in-law Kaifi Azmi got the Sahitya Akademi award in 1973 for his collection of poems Awara Sajde. Now it’s me.”
Javed Saab can’t stop marvelling at the beauty of the coincidence.(Neither can we).
Says Javed Saab, “It may be possible for an awardee’s father or his father-in-law to win the same award. But for all three to win the same honour seems a bit difficult. I feel honoured that I am the recipient of an award that two such distinguished members of my family have received.”
Javed Saab’s lower-back ailment which eventuated in his hospitalization in Delhi is healing fast.
“I still feel some stiffness in my lower back. But the pain is now gone. God has been kind to me. He has given me so much. I can’t be complaining about a few days of pain and immobility,”philosophizes the bard.
While in hospital Javed Saab got two surprise calls.
Pleasurably, he recounts, “Ek baar toh bahot logon ne kiya (I received one how-are-you call from many). But only one person called me twice. And that was Lataji. It showed that she genuinely cared about my health. I’m profoundly moved by her concern. I am her biggest fan. And I want her to know she has been a very major source of inspiration for my poetry.”