Good but flawed
Dr Farooq A Peer responds to Prof. Naseem Rafiabadi’s review of the book The Wind without Rain authored by Rashid Afaque.
This refers to Prof. Naseem Rafiabadi’s review of the book “The Wind without Rain,” by Rashid Afaque (GK Jan 10). Prof. Rafiabadi has analysed and reviewed the book very beautifully and artistically and described its theme rightly as ‘Spiritual bankruptcy of man and the chaotic conditions of Kashmir landscape.’ The reviewer has presented the book as complete in every respect and has not pointed out the flaws in it. I therefore would like to bring forth the same flaws so that the review of the book is complete.
Poetry is a word derived from the Greek, meaning to’ to make’. It is made by a poet in the form of imaginative literary expression using sound and language replete with imagery. The word ‘poetry’ is often understood as verse. According to Mill, poetry is “thoughts and words in which emotion spontaneously embodies itself.”
Carlyle calls it “Musical Thought”. Wordsworth calls it as the “breath and finer spirit of all knowledge” and defines it as “the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings; it takes its origin from emotions recollected in tranquillity.” Poetry has been divided into objective and subjective. In objective poetry, the poet gives an impersonal account of what he perceives. In subjective or personal poetry the poet presents what he observes and experiences.
Rashid Afaque’s book “The Wind without Rain” (An anthology of poems) was published in September, 2008. Before this, he has written the book “Rahim Sahab Sopori” (Kashmiri), and “The ARK (Transcreation of Sheikh Noor – ud- din Wali (RA)”. The present book is a collection of 41 poems which are both objective and subjective. Mir Mohi-ud-Din has written the foreward of the book. Afaq’s poems are basically concerned with the decadence of values in the poet’s native land in particular and in the world in general. The book is speculative in theme and content because it enables us to understand the realities of life and the present scenario and at the same time to combat those with strong feelings. The poems written are full of symbols with hidden meanings and thoughts. In the poem ‘God’, the poet who is heartbroken ultimately realizes that solace and refuge is necessarily to be taken in the Power of God and he prays to Him to give him Sustenance. The poet in the style of Mathew Arnold in the “Dover Beach” says:
“Love is an open door to the land of beauty,
And I wish to enter through it into the Garden of
Breeze and bloom”
The poem “Mother” symbolizes the two parts of the country of the poet. The poet though pessimistic in the beginning like Shelley in his matchless poem “Ode to the West Wind” ultimately becomes optimistic.
“One day or the other he will embrace her
As his life is safe away from Death”
The poem “Un-Cared for- Child” also reflects the problems in the land of the poet who believes that the ravages of time, perils, and other clumsy clouds would ultimately perish and hope of life and prosperity would ultimately surface in his land.
“The Burning Bride,” is a poem which symbolizes the birth place of the poet which during the last twenty years of turmoil has been aghast with crackdowns, fire and plundering. In the poem “Lal Ded” and “Sheikh Noor-u-din Wali (RA),” the poet presents the mystical point of view and aims to spread the message of Lal Ded and Sheikh (RA) about oneness of God and the philosophy of equality irrespective of caste, colour and religion. The poet particularly speaks his mind about the message and lessons of Sheikh (RA) who presented the true picture of religion before the people of this land. The poem “Habba Khatoon,” represents piety, beauty and simplicity and poetic talent present in Habba Khatoon in particular and in womenfolk of Kashmir in general.
Some poems from the book show that the poet is grieved to watch the beauty of Kashmir dwindling due to the cruel attitude of its inhabitants towards its resources. He remembers the days when the beauty of his Kashmir would mesmerize anybody and one would feel that there is no place like it on the map of the world. But dismayingly, its green wealth is brutalized and bulldozed everywhere now. It is being injured by everybody and everywhere
The poem “Wular” and “The Lotus Land” are the symbols which represent this view of the poet. The brutality being inflicted on the water body of Wular, the injury caused by man upon this is expressed in the following verses,
“Man erected cement and stone.
On the serene surface of water
And has become a pillar of lone
Veranda of ground floor.”
The beauty of the Dal Lake is also being injured and it is having a devastated look now. The poet wails in these lines,
“Dal is dwindling day by day
Boom economy! Who can pay
The loss of life of the Lotus Land?
In the poem “Jhelum” the poet expresses that the river Jhelum which is our source of irrigation and sustenance is also getting shriveled due to the callousness of man. The poet believes that its water is our support and our boat of life is dependent upon it but we are indifferent to it. The poem, “Phalgam,” “Ningal,” and “Gulmarg” also depict mans indifference towards these beauty spots which we have ignored and have made them sordid in scenery and look. The poet believes that these places are gifts to us with glad tidings of the wondrous work of the Hand of God and His Divine Power. In “Gulmarg,” the poet says that the beauty of the place was in its abundance of snow which symbolized life for summer in Kashmir but alas! This source has lost its life and we have axed our own life. The poem, “Beauty and the Beast,” represents Kashmir as beauty and the people of it as beasts who are bent upon preying upon its wealth of beauty. In “The Wailing Woman,” the poet presents the deploring condition of our nation. The poet suggests that we should do penance and trust in God so that all evil omens and phantoms which are hovering over us will vanish. In the poem “Poet of the East,” the poet pays glowing tributes to Iqbal (RA). The poet says that he has been a light for our and other nations and his message has put spirit and valour in the hearts of our generations. The poem “Corruption” shows that our system of life is full of malaises and corruption is one of the fatal diseases which eaten into the vitals of our society.
The anthology of poems “The Wind without Rain” is a spontaneous overflow of feelings and emotions of Rashid Afaque. The poet gives the impression to be committed to present the social, moral, and spiritual decadence in his land. The book has flaws which Prof. Naseem Rafiabadi has ignored and not mentioned in his review. The 41 poems which are of different themes and subjects ought to have been written under various sections and each poem should have been put in its own defined section. The absence of sections in the book has resulted in the scattering and segregation of the subjects of the poems and one easily finds vacillations in Afaque’s thought while he passes from one poem to another. In this kind of process, he is clearly less of balance which a poet must not lose. Had not Afaque proceeded in this way and had he expanded his ideas and emotions in continuity, the philosophy of his “The Wind without Rain,” might well have been richly supplemented. His imagination and spontaneous feelings are discarded in favour of stoic endurance also. The book has certain grammatical mistakes and the print of the book is not of standard also. But there is no doubt that the “The Wind without Rain,” is really a work of poet’s own imagination coupled with true feelings and emotions.
(Feedback at Farooq_peer@yahoo.com or email@example.com)
Lastupdate on : Tue, 16 Feb 2010 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Tue, 16 Feb 2010 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Wed, 17 Feb 2010 00:00:00 IST
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