Brij Narayan Chakbast was an Urdu poet, born in in Faizabad (near Lucknow) in January 1882, in a Kashmiri Pandit family. His father Pandit Udit Narayan Chakbast was also a poet. Chakbast was educated in Lucknow, and settled down as a practising lawyer at Lucknow.
He began his poetic career with a nazm in 1894 and wrote nazms, mathnavi, a play and about 50 ghazals in a short lifespan. He was primarily a poet but his prose is also considered at par with his poetry. In February 1926, he collapsed at the railway station in Rae Bareli and died at the age of 44. Chakbast’s premature death was a great loss for Urdu but whatever he left is exemplary and is considered among the gems of Urdu literature. He was strongly influenced by Ghalib, Mir Anis and Aatish.
Hi description of life and death in the couplet below, is considered unrivalled.
Zindagi kya hai anasir mein zahur-e tarteeb,
Maut kya hai ini ajza ka pareshan hona
What is life, but a manifestation of orderliness and method in elements
What is death, but chaos within these same elements
Zahoor- revelation, manifestation; Tarteeb – orderliness, arrangement; Anasir – elements; ajza – parts
On Kashmir, Chakbast wrote:
Zarra Zarra hai mere Kashmir ka mehmaan nawaaz,
raah mein pathar ke tukdoon ne diya peene ko pani mujhe
In every little piece of my Kashmir, there is hospitality towards guests and visitors
When travelling (through Kashmir), even pieces of stone lying on the road gave me water to quench my thirst