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In agra, depression prevails over the bazaar and nothing sells. a cucumber-sellers feels that if he could get a poem writter about the qualities of his product,it would sell better. He approaches several poets but they turn down his request. Finally he goes to the poet nazir who promptly obliges him. He returns singing nazir’s song about cucumbers and customers flock for his product. Other vendors – the ladduwala, the tarboozwala, etc. –follow suit and soon the whole bazaar is humming with nazir’s songs.

Around this main plot is woven the story of a young vagabond who pursues a courtsan and comes to a sticky end at the hands of his rival a police inspector, whom he has earlier shamed in this game of love. The play is woven around Nazir akbarabadi’s humanistic poetry and humanism is the theme of the play. Nazir,a truely proletarian poet,often wrote on demand for vendors and traders,beggars and vagabonds,never caring to collect or publish what he wrote.His collaquialism and slag cut him off from tha mainstream of urdu poetry; his work was ‘discovered ’ generations after his death by a chance encounter of a literary man who was attracted by a beggar’s song. some material was recovered from Nazir’s grand daughter and published in book form,though much of the total corpus is now lost.

Nazir never appears in agra bazar as, no authentic account of his life is available. All we know is that the poet earned a modest living by giving tuitions to young children,refusing invitations and commissions from well-wishers like the Nawab of Lucknow.The kite – seller’s shop where people gather and recite the plebian poetry of Nazir serves as a counterpoint to the book shop opposite where the elitist values of court poetry are discussed. In between flows the mainstream of life – with potters, grocers,vendors, courtesans, prostitutes, vagabonds and donothings. This life , depicted so richly and abundantly in Nazir’s poetry, does not touch the book shop milieu and totally eludes the literatures gathered there.

Written and staged in 1954, Agra Bazar was the first serious experiment integrating song with drama and rural actors with urban. Its first production 35 years age included actors from the jamia milia intelligentsia – teachers and students – as well as villagers from nearby okhla. The play was revived in 1970 with some chattisgarhi actors and again in 1976.

The musical structure of the play is fundamental the same as in 1954, with the exceptions of one or two songs,specially ‘ Banjara Nama’ , which was introduced in 1970, and for which music was composed by the late Hukum Chand Khalili of Bhatinda, who also played the role of a Fakir in the play.