Alchemy of Light
Presenting the mystic poetry of Sheik-ul-Alam to the present generation
BOOK REVIEW BY TAHIR SALEEM
Alchemy of Light is the Urdu and English rendering of the verses of Sheikh-ul-Alam by G.N Adfar, a known figure of of Chari Sharif. The book was recently released at a three days
International Seminar on Shah-I-Hamadan organised by Shah-i-Hamdan Institute of Islamic Studies, University of Kashmir. The book undoubtedly is a pearl box of about 350 verses; the original Kashmiri Kalam is followed by Urdu text and then the English translation. The selections in verified form explain the range and depth of the poet.
G.N Adfar deserves felicitation as he seems to have dived deep into the kalam and brought to fore the essence of the kalam in lucid both in Urdu and English. The English text is more methodical and closer to the essence of the kalam. The words and phrases used before 700 years are strange to present Kashmiri generation. These words have been well analysed and translated in a manner easy to understand; the translation has been produced in most attractive and appealing way.
The book will be greatly beneficial to the younger generation who are more interested in English and at the same time eager to know the culture and heritage of Kashmir. The book will definitely quench the thirst of present day youth and allow them a deeper look into their tradition.
Kashmir and Kashmiriyat is incomplete without Sheikh ul Alam. Alchemy of Light seems to fill up the void developed during past few centuries owing to archaic language used in Kalami Sheikh ul Alam. In the book the message of Sheik ul Alam has been produced in a refined and purified form and the translation has been done in a lucid manner. The book in fact is a treasure house both for scholars and commoners. It has been beautifully divided into 35 chapters making it easier for students and scholars to get to the desired topic in Sheikh’s poetry.
The chapters on Mansoor al-Hallaj and Iblees are much more informative depicting the scholarly depth of Alamdar. Mansoor though not a contemporary of Sheikh but the verses reveal as if he had live conversations with the poet.
Same stands true for plaintive Iblees. All aspects of human behavior have been translated in a way that one gets intoxicated with the flow of the Sheikh’s Kalam. The author has included some scientific terms in the translation also; words like effervescence, bonds, website, primates, homo sapiens, litmus, test, saccharin gives a scientific feel to the reader.
The book would have been more beautiful if arranged alphabetical or chronological order was followed. Also the author has not displayed first volume on the book which gets cleared only when one goes through the paragraph
“about the book” printed on the back side of jacket. The book contains bibliography which represents the researcher’s attitude. The foot notes should have been at their appropriate pages so that the readers would easily place them.
Nevertheless the book is the first of its kind and can prove Very beneficial for the readers. The author deserves all appreciations for giving us this book.
Lastupdate on : Thu, 5 Apr 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Thu, 5 Apr 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Fri, 6 Apr 2012 00:00:00 IST
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