It is most likely that many of us do not know the real name of Bekal Utsahi was Muhammad Shafi Ali Khan. Normally, there are some anecdotes, which are ascribed behind the surnames and nome de plume of the famous personalities. How Muhammad Shafi Ali Khan, who was born on First June, 1924 and left for heavenly abode on 3rd December, 2016, came to be known as Bekal Utsahi, it is interesting to know.
There is a town and Nagar Panchayat Dewa Sharif just 26 km north east of the Capital of Uttar Pradesh, Lucknow. It is famous for the shrine of Haji Waris Ali Shah, a Sufi Saint (1817-1905) founder of the Warsi Sufi Order. Dewa Sharif was placed as one among the prominent sites in Heritage Arc of UP. Muhammad Shafi Ali Khan used to visit the shrine of Hazrat Waris Ali Shah. He came here in 1945 and began to recite poems addressing him as Bekal Warsi. Shah Hafiz Pyare Miyan, a prominent personality there referring to a highly acclaimed poet Bedam Warsi proclaimed. “Bedam Gaya and Bekal Aaya” signifying that we have lost Bedam but we have blessed a poet like him, who may be known as Bekal. After this memorable happening, he changed his name as Bekal Warsi.
Our poet Bekal Warsi was a staunch congressman and enthusiastic to spread secular values. In 1952, the founder of the modern secular democratic India, Jawaharlal Nehru visited Gonda. There was an election program of Indian National Congress. Muhammad Shafi Ali Khan Bekal Warsi welcomed his Prime Minister with his renowned poem “Kisan Bharat Ka”. Nehru felt the intense feelings of the universal poet and he did not control himself to express “Yeh Hamara Utsahi Shayar Hai” and he came to be known Bekal Utsahi in the literary world. Verily, Bekal Utasahi was our poet, poet of the People of Bharat in particular and humanity at large. His poem “Kisan Bharat Ka” rightly articulates his poetic expression and universal values, in which he names both Nazeer and Kabeer to signify the very idea of India. He feels the importance of both Ajmer and Kashi.