Book: Koel Shehr Ki Katha (Poetry) By Hasan Mujtaba

Follow Shabnaama via email

Altaf Hussain Asad

The monsters are roaming around; we are at their mercy and they attack us at will. Each day, a new script of barbarism gets enacted with renewed intensity. We need conscientious men in these blighted days but it seems we are constantly losing such clear-headed people.

Under these suffocating times, there comes a shrill angry voice of the son of Sindhu. The Zia era may have ended but its blackest shadows continue to fade away. That’s why our agonies will not end as we are condemned to live among the barbarians who are dictating us to live frozen in time.

Many people are familiar with Hasan Mujtaba the journalist who works for an international broadcasting agency and writes a column for Daily Jang. It is time to meet Hasan Mujtaba the poet. He picks up the scalpel of a pen and gives us the warning that “Zia is speaking and speaking loudly from his grave”. He raves and rants and wails. He moves between Manhattan, New York and Hyderabad. Sindhu runs in his veins. He roams in the lanes of Hyderabad and remembers people and places he grew up with.

Mujtaba wants to share a story in which a koel is enchanting with its lilting voice, a story of its beloved river Sindh. ‘Koel Shehr Ki Katha’ is a powerful lament by a son of the soil who is tormented by the beastly state of affairs at his homeland. He does not spare anyone; he rubbishes the khakis and their puppets: the rabid bearded mullahs who are killing in the name of Allah. He claims he has visited the blood-stained lane of history and found a never-ending night just like the kingdom of a dictator. He is quite rightly sure that a jaw which is buried at Faisal Mosque is still at war.

At the same time he tells us the living in exile is not a bed of roses at all. He shares the days and nights of an exile with his friend and comrade Zafaryab Ahmad. In the haunting poem, ‘Zafaryab Ahmad Kay Nam’ he tells that exile doesn’t have legs as you leave your legs in the hometown of your motherland! In sheer anguish, he nudges the great poet Waris Shah and rues that everything is on sale in his homeland.

Hasan Mujtaba is a poet who boldly stares in your eyes and tells you that whatever we had sown, we will have to reap now. In the 160 pages, you will find exhilarating and macabre verse that is the true narrative of our times. Entrenched in classical poetry, he is firmly on his turf and that is why he weaves such a powerful verse which will shake the earth under your feet. Mohammed Hanif has written an unusual introduction to the book.

But the problem is that Hasan Mujtaba’s paradise is lost forever. He can recreate that peaceful world like an ace wordsmith and nothing else. The situation is getting worse and there is very thin hope of our turnaround. Gone are the koels and the city they used to inhabit. We are living in the age of vultures which are multiplying by each day.

Koel Shehr Ki Katha has everything: the eternal songs of Shah Latif, Bulleh Shah, alluring Sindh River, its aromatic earth, and what not. And a warning: he abhors the dictators and their sidekicks with a fury that knows no bounds. His is a full-throttled and no-holds-barred tirade against all the dictators: of both Islamic and liberal variety.

Koel Shehr Ki Katha
By Hasan Mujtaba
Sanjh publications, 46/2 Mozang Road, Lahore.
Pages: 160
Price: Rs300/

Altaf Hussain Asad, “A shrill angry voice,” in The News, June 7, 2015. Accessed on June 7, 2015, at:

The item above written by Altaf Hussain Asad and published in The News on June 7, 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 7, 2015, is available here. Faiz-e-Zabaan is not responsible for the content of the external websites.

Recent items by Altaf Hussain Asad:

Help us with Cataloguing

Leave your comments

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s