Insha Allah Khan “Insha” (1756-1817), prolific Rekhti Urdu poet, wrote extensively on lesbian love.
He is the man who wrote these poems, I was especially inspired by these two verses from his Ghazal’s.
Meaning of rekhti – Rekhti is a particular genre of Urdu poetry adopted by male poets, which employs women’s special idioms, mannerisms and accents to describe particular women- women and women-men affairs and also women’s sensual desires and sexual urges. Rekhti is generally written in ghazal form. It was a product of the particular socio-cultural and literary ambiance in the 19th century Lucknow.
Aag lene ko jo aayin to kahin laag laga
Bibi hamsaai ne di jee men meri aag laga
Na bura mane to lun noch ko’T muthi bhar
Begama har teri kyaari men hara sag laga
(When she came to take fire, an attraction took hold;
The neighbor lady lit a fire in my heart
If you don’t mind, may I seize a handful or two?
Young lady, greens grow in every bed of yours!)
Aur kyaa is ke sivaa kijiye midhat us ki
Do hilal ik jagah dekhe hain qudrat us ki.
(What other praise can I lavish upon it
Two crescent moons were seen at one place – God be praised!)
Photography: Tamanna Rajabali