Book: Shajar Hone Tak by Basir Sultan Kazmi

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Amjad Parvez

Having one’s collections published in Kuliyat form as a book Shajar Hone Tak published by Afzaal Ahmad of Sang-e-Meel Publications, Lahore, is a great honour; a milestone achieved by poet and drama-cum-story writer Basir Sultan Kazmi. He says ‘Raat Ko Kaatna Hota Hei Sahar Hone Tak/Beej Ko Chahiye Kutch Waqt Shajar Hone Tak’. The essence of this couplet by Basir fits his life story. His seed was sown by legendry poet Nasir Kazmi and wife Shafiqa Nasir Kazmi, an educationist and Basir took a lifetime to become an established writer and poet of international stature. He inherited the art of poetry and the passion for teaching from his parents respectively but in the process created his own cliché. Born in 1953, he obtained Masters in English from GC, Lahore followed by M Ed and M Phil from the University of Manchester, as well as PGCE from UK. Instead of appearing for CSS like his many class fellows, he opted to teach both in Pakistan and UK.

He continued his passion for writing. He was selective like his father and before his first collection of Ghazals titled ‘Mauj-e-Kheyal’ had appeared in 1997, her had written a long play Bisaat’ (chess board) in 1987 and a story ‘Manoos Kahani’ (familiar story) the same year.This reviewer had earlier commented on ‘Mauj-e-Kheyal’ ‘In the beginning of the book, Basir quotes his father’s couplet, ‘Bekaar Baithey Rehney Sey Behter Hei Koi Din/Tasveer Khainchiye Kisi Mauj-e-Kheyaal Ki’. (It is better to recline into one’s solitude rather than sitting idle). This is rather a crude translation of this couplet by this reviewer. Basir dedicated this book to his father saying ‘Too Hi Ney Sikhaai Thi Mujh Ko Yeh Ghazalkhwani’ (You are the one who taught me how to say a Ghazal). This book contains Ghazals from four eras; 1971 to 1968, 1972 to 1979, 1985 to 1989 and 1991 to 1996. The couplet that appealed to the masses was ‘Saheb Aaj Tau Apna Kaam Kara Kei Jaein Gey Hum/Saari Shartain Poori Hain Phir Kaisi Dair Lage Gi’.

Basir’s second poetry book ‘Chaman Koi Bhi Ho’ (whichever is the garden) reflects his love for the place he lived in whether Pakistan or UK. This reviewer had commented ‘His poetry is a reflection of the struggle as he went through in his life and it was after a long time that he said ‘Banani Parti Hei Har Sakhsh Ko Jagah Apni/Miley Agarche Bazahir Bani Banai Jagah’. He is true in saying that each one of us has to make a place for him despite that apparently it looked that the place already existed’. Here he had probably mentioned his struggle to make an independent place for him despite his inheritance of which he is proud of. This book contained poem also besides Ghazals. He had said in 1999 a poem titled ‘Nau Umri Aur Peeri’ (Page 109) that he used to read a poem that he was young, it seemed only yesterday. Now he does not remember his childhood and youth as he is standing on the threshold of old age. This book was published in 2009. Earlier Basir’s drama ‘Shareek-e-Dard’ was published in the journal ‘Savera’ in June 2005. His latest poetry books are ‘Hawa-e-Tarab’ and Chaunseth Khane Chaunseth Nazmain’ both published in 2015. All this work is now in one place in the form of the book under review beautifully printed by Sang-e-Meel Publications.

Various writers and poets have commented on Basir’s works. This reviewer shall only quote a few. Mashkoor Hussain Yaad says that Basir’s forte is use of easy language and diction. Basir says ‘Log Jab Milte Hain Kehte Hain Koi Baat Karo/Jaise Rakhi Hui Hoti Ho Mere Haath Pei Baat’ (people expect me to converse with them whenever they come across me as though I carry a talk on my palm). Ghulam Qadir Azad says that Basir is representative of impressionism. A. Khayyam says that Basir has neither deviated from the tradition nor deliberately opted for modern approach; still one finds many fresh couplets in his poetry. Basir’s confession and grievance is seen in the same breath but in a softer tone in the couplet ‘Gila Bhi Tujh Sei Buhut Hei Magar Mahabbat Bhi/Woh Baat Apni Jagah Hei Yei Baat Apni Jagah’ – Page 307 (I have both my grievances with you and also love for you. Both rest in their places).

From February to April 2014, Basir carried out translations in the form of prose-poems of John Dryden, Rabinder Nath Tagore, Francis Quarles, DH Lawrence, Tony O, Claude McKay, WH Auden, Gabriel Okara, John Ash and Carol Ann Duffy. The most interesting work is Basir’s having re-look at his drama ‘Bisaat’.

Shajar Hone Tak – Kuliyat
By Basir Sultan Kazmi
Sang-e-Meel Publications, Lahore; Pp 334; Rs 1,200

Amjad Parvez , “Until a tree has grown,” in Daily Times, July 22, 2015. Accessed on July 22, 2015, at:

The item above written by Amjad Parvez and published in Daily Times on July 22, 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 July 22, 2015, is available here. Faiz-e-Zabaan is not responsible for the content of the external websites.

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