Poems of social fortitude

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Amjad Parvez

Writing poems in Urdu and translating them is not an easy proposition. It is like reading the document first before one affixes one’s signature on it. That is the title of the first poem titled Meditate deeply before you affix signature. The start of this poem is thought provoking. It says, “Perceive before you endorse/secret once divulged becomes talk of the town, displeased friend, within the limits of childhood, trickling of an innocent tear, files, all at once, slipped from hand, never come back? Glowing sun on the head, glittering sand of ill-luck under the feet carpeted road, trampling under the revolving feet of luminous costly cars.” This poem is among selections from Khalid Ahmad’s collection translated by Zaeem Rasheed. About Khalid’s proficiency as a poet, veteran scholar and late poet Ahmad Nadim Qasmi had stated with reference to the impressions of Hameed Nasim who considered the couplets, “Palkon Ki Hathelion Pe Khalid, Yaadon Ke Chiragh Jal Rahe Hein” and “Chup Ka Zeher Pi Laina Gham Ke Hont See Laina, Maslehat Nahin Yaro Baat Behisi Ki Hei” as indicators of Khalid’s maturity. He especially refers to Khalid’s diction being close to that of Madho Lal Shah Hussain in the book Daraz Palkon Ke Saye Saye. Hameed Nasim declares, after a detailed analysis of Khalid’s poetry contained in the books Hathailion Pe Chiragh, Pehli Sada Parindon Ki and Ek Muthi Hawa that he is a major poet. Hameed equated Iqbal’s couplet “Loh Bhi Too Qalam Bhi Too” with that of Khalid, which is in praise of our Prophet (PBUH) “Teri Nigah Lutf Se Donon Murad Pa Gaye, Aql, Ghayab-o-Justajoo, Ishq, Huzoor-O-Iztarab”, from the point of view of its spirit. About a ‘Masnavi’ written by Khalid in his book Ek Muthi Hawa, Nasim quotes a sentence written for Dylan Thomas three decades ago, which fits for Khalid too. It says that he has got the better of language at the poetic idiom.

Poem ‘Hanka’ (Blurt out) is Khalid Ahmad’s cry that masses were being led like sheep by the leaders. He refers to the current situation in the words ‘birds are flying/who is going to die ultimate death? /small bells and empty cans are being beaten everywhere/there is ditch or chasm covered with scented grass/traps on one place and cages on the other are ensnared/slogans are shouted and gunpowder is being fired somewhere/fighters are in the rank and file/whom are they blocking in unison?’ Khalid’s deep insight on the current situation about law and order and the physical and mental condition of the masses can only come out a sensitive but a bold person.Khalid is aware of social problems that a citizen comes across every day. The best example is that of traffic jams we come across. This phenomenon is applied by Khalid Ahmad on the cultural degradation, love deprivation and thoughts ending up as old man in wait for love (traffic jam of thought process).

Talking about art of translation, one should stay close to poem, know the poet, go for grace, be wary and take a deep breath. I am not going to judge how Rasheed has translated Khalid’s poems. That is for the readers to judge by reading English translation independently. I shall talk about Khalid as I have known him since ages as a person, as a poet. When he was in WAPDA and his office was in WAPDA House, Lahore. During the break I would visit him sometimes as my office was on the fourth floor. He would offer me a cup of tea but all the time he was writing on pieces of paper spread out in front of him. During my recordings of many PTV programmes, he wrote lyrics of many of my songs. While sitting in Alhamra Adabi Baithak he would enter into many literary discussions with his friends and treat them over a cup of tea. During the inauguration of my book Melody Makers in Alhamra, he helped me in logistics also.

Amjad Parvez , “Poems of social fortitude ,” in Daily Times, May 20, 2015. Accessed on June 8, 2015, at: http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/entertainment/20-May-2015/poems-of-social-fortitude

The item above written by Amjad Parvez and published in Daily Times on May 20, 2015, is catalogued here in full by Faiz-e-Zabaan for non-profit educational purpose only. Faiz-e-Zabaan neither claims the ownership nor the authorship of this item. The link to the original source accessed on June 8, 2015, is available here. Faiz-e-Zabaan is not responsible for the content of the external websites.

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