Talib Khundmiri, full name Syed Mahmood Khundmiri (Urdu: سید محمود خوندمیری ) (known popularly by his takhallus Talib) was an Indian Urdu language poet, humorist, architect, artist, orator, and one of the leading Urdu poets of the 20th and 21st centuries. Mahmood concentrated on humorous poetry, and was considered among the elite of Urdu humor.
Mahmood was born on 14 February 1938, in Donegal Bidar, Karnataka, India. In addition to his own writing career, he was involved in many organizations. He was one of the senior most member of Zinda Dalaan-E Hyderabad (a grass-roots arts and humor group) and served on its executive board from 1963-2011. He also served on the executive board of Shugoofa, an Urdu periodical, for more than 40 years. Talib, a pseudonym given to him by his peers, combined poetry with both sarcasm and humor. Known for his elevated style and tone in the world of Urdu literature, he combined life experiences with his artistic gifts as a versatile poet and architect. He died on January 16, 2011.
Mahmood's grandfather, Syed Miran, was his mentor and the most ardent supporter. Mahmood spent most of his childhood with his grandfather who was an accomplished home builder. Mira sahab inspired Mahmood to become an architect and In 1963 Mahmood earned his Architectural degree. He recited his first poem about his grandfather when he was 12 years old and upon his grandfather's encouragement started writing poems. He was a talented man just like his grandfather. He participated in many competitions during his school and college days and won many awards.
Mr.Mahmood attended school in Musheerabad where he lived for 16 years before moving to Chanchalguda on May 31, 1963. He was a versatile man and participated in many extra-curricular activities during his academic career. He also played football with his senior school mate, Syed Nayeemuddin, who was a former Captain and a couch of Indian National football team. He enrolled in the Jawaharlal Nehru Fine Arts and Architecture University[ in Hyderabad and earned his architecture degree with the License No 35. He was also elected as " Fellow of Indian Institute of Architects" on May 16, 1992 by Indian Institute of Architects with the Registered serial No 1716.
Mahmood's poetry and writing career started when he was 12 years. In his college days he and his few friends started a magazine and organization called Bazm-E-Urdu and won Basheerunnissa basher memorial ruling trophy. He was a gifted writer and a poet. He has written many articles in Munsif Urdu daily newspaper weekly column called Turfa tamasha. He has also written a book called Sukhan Ke Parde Mein and now this book is used as a curriculum in Shimoga university of Karnataka. When Talib was seventeen, one of his close relatives Alam Khundmiri, (an important intellectual figure and a dynamic writer of his time) has correctly anticipated that he will be an amazing poet and a writer in future.
Khatmalon ki faryaad is one of his famous Nazms which was translated in English. The verses are as follows:
"One day some bugs asked a leech
Aunty what alternative do you suggest
So that instead of blood we could have something else
That would keep us away from the humans
Because now very less blood flows in his veins
Neither can we suck nor lick
We can hardly find any blood in them
Even if it is, it is so tasteless
Who knows what man has begun to eat
What adulterated food is he taking
What we drink cannot be called blood
Because, we can’t make out even its color
It’s rather white than red
It is more like milk than blood..."
Classical poetry, at that time was entirely in Persian. Eager to learn Farsi, Mahmood assisted with household chores for an elderly Farsi teacher in return for lessons. Many of his poeties were published in newspapers of Hyderabad such as Munsif, Saisat, Deccan Chronicle and Times of India. In 1970's and 80's, he was also invited in many Urdu mushairas and Sham-e-qhazals on Doordarshan. As he grew older, Mr. Mahmood started participating in Urdu poetry competitions and forums and quicky rose to be one of the most acclaimed poets of Zinda Dalaan-E Hyderabad. Many celebrities such as, Zail Singh, Dileep Kumar, Ajit Kumar, Kaifi Azmi and many other celebrities have attended his Mushairas.
As a poet, Mahmood was recognized on the international level, attending and receiving recognition at several mushairas.
He was also one of the eminent participants and general secretary of World Humor Conference held in February 1985 at Lal Bahadur stadium, Hyderabad.
His poetry has been compared to that of the legendary poet, Mirza Ghalib.
Iblees Ka Atiraaf is one of his famous poems. The verses are as follows:
"Tune Jis Waqt Yeh Insaan Banaya Ya RAB
Us Ghari Mujhko Tu Aik Aankh Na Bhaya Ya RAB
Is Liye MaiN Ne Sar Apna Na Jhukaya Ya RAB
Lekin Ab Palti Hai Kuch Aisi Hi Kaaya Ya RAB
Haq'mandi Hai Is Hi MaiN K Ab Tobah Kar LooN
Sochta HooN K Ab Insaan Ko Sajda Kar LooN..."
Mr. Mahmood began his career as an architect in BHEL from 1964 to 1976 and his first salary was Rs. 350. He started his own firm called S.M Associates at King Kothi, Hyderabad in 1976 and designed over 500 masjids around the world. Many people believe that he is the first person to build that many mosques around the world and could be in genius book of world record for his work. Since he was a modest and genuine man he never showed off his work.
He never profited from his designs as he considered this to be religious philanthropy. He never advertised his work or put any kind of holding with his name on it, on any project. Apart from religious designs, he designed high rises, commercial buildings, hospitals and family homes. His architectural marvels have been compared to that of Mimar Sinan.
His artistic talent combined architectural abilities with his ability to connect with people thru his poetry. He has made hundreds of paintings and calligraphies thru his life. Many of his artworks were bought by Muslim families when they were exhibited in Chicago.
He also designed many title covers for books for other writers. Parvez Yadullah Mehdi's book cover page is one of the example of his design.