12-year-old English poet of Kashmir releases 'No Place for Good'

Srinagar, June 20: 12-year old Abdullah Bin Zubair, a 7th standard student of Delhi Public School, Srinagar has a penchant for writing, reading and painting. Abdullah has interest in film-making as well and has got first position in a competition at his school for his short film “Lockdown Phir Se?”

His poems have also been carried by Indian Cultural Forum, an online literary magazine.

The little Abdullah says there are four important steps to become a writer:. “One is reading, second listening, third absorbing and thinking over what you have read, and lastly putting all that into words. That’s writing.”

He says: “It seems like a simple process but I believe it's complex. It needs patience and passion. The flow of writing comes gradually as you keep reading, listening and thinking."

Abdullah is grateful to his family and all others who have been helping him in his literary journey. “It all started when I was 8 years old. I remember in 2016 our school was closed and I was confined to home, tired of lockdown. I started to jot down my feelings and observations in the form of poems. And bingo, I found that I can write. And importantly, I can write poetry. I used to read short stories by Hans Christian Anderson and other similar authors,” he says.

Abdullah says he kept writing poems, without any idea that one day they will take the shape of a book. “By the end of 2019, I had a reasonable number of poems on my laptop. That is when the idea of compiling my best poems in a book struck me. And now amid this pandemic pandemonium, finally my book has arrived,” he says.

Abdullah’s collection of poems 'No Place for Good' was released at a function organised by publishing house Jay Kay Books on Sunday. This has provided a great boost to the confidence of Abdullah who is fast becoming a bright young English poet.

Pertinently, the foreword of the book has been written by renowned poet and art critic of India, Ranjit Hoskote and the cover illustration has been contributed by Delhi-based eminent multimedia artist Ranbir Kaleka, and the blurb has been authored by renowned poet and writer of Kashmir Mushtaque B Barq.

Among others who graced the book launch were eminent cardiologist and columnist Prof U Kaul, noted humorist and writer Zareef Ahmad Zareef, prominent poet and writer Mushtaque B Barq, Chief Patron Urdu Fiction Writers Guild Wehshi Syed, noted film director and writer Faruq Masudi and luminary scholar Abdul Rehman Bhat.

The family members of Abdullah including his parents Dr. Zubair Saleem and Prof Syeda Afshana were also present.

At the age of 5-6 years, Abdullah started his creative journey by reading stories by Mayal Khairabadi, Aesop, Hans Christian Anderson and Ruskin Bond. In 2016, at the age of 8, he started writing poems. Gradually he started reading some works of authors like Leo Tolstoy, Mitch Albom, Franz Kafka and Paulo Coelho.

Some of his poems also got published in an online literary magazine called indianculutralforum.com. He also started reviewing the books like Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka, The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom and The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. These reviews got published in newspapers.

Abdullah is also interested in film-making and he got the first prize for the best short film 'Lockdown Phir Se' in film making competition at his school in 2020.

In his message, Vijay Dhar (Pro Vice chairman DPS, Srinagar) wrote, "It is a matter of great pride for DPS Srinagar that Abdullah bin Zubair is releasing his book of poems. My Blessings."

In the forward of the book, Ranjit Hoskote has observed, "I was taken aback to hear the thrum of violence even in poems that dwell on perfectly everyday moments: you speak of how truth vanishes, even as a printed word, leaving only ‘ruth’ behind on the page; as a reader, I am reminded by this word of ‘ruthless’, a word that defines the atrocities we suffer. In another poem, you speak of how anger and boredom can spill over into mayhem: a drawing becomes an act of brutalisation. You speak to the tragic nature of our times.

And yet, I find that I can also read your poems as I would read the poems of any young person arriving at key moments in life – a young person discovering friendship and alienation, distance and inwardness, exterior noise and inward silence; someone who turns to creative expression despite all that is stacked against it."

Talking about the book, Mushtaque B Barq remarked, "I am thrilled to see such in depth analysis of the surroundings by a child as young as 8 years when he started writing the poems. Abdullah is a gifted child and a poet and parental involvement aided with serious teaching are the fundamentals to create history. Abdullah has not only uplifted the tempo of upcoming generation but has also opened doors for his contemporaries".

On the book launch, Prof U Kaul said, "I congratulate everyone as this is a moment of pride for us to have among us a 12 year old poet, a wonderful Abdullah. The poems in his book are sensitively written. I read these poems three times and I suggest everyone should read this book. The narrations are in mystical language, the words in poems show us the three dimensional pictures. The poems are full of sorrow but still hold the hope. Abdullah has beautifully crafted the poems and I congratulate him and his family.

Zareef Ahmad Zareef, in his remarks said that “our future generations need to read and learn for their better future”. Emphasising the power of pen, he said that pen is the actual power. He said that children should get inspiration from Abdullah for writing at such a young age. He also emphasized on the importance of Kashmiri language.

Wehshi Syed, sharing his thoughts about the book said: "I am thrilled to see the book of poems by such a young author. The poems are lucid and clear and I wish Abdullah the best for his future".

Faruq Masudi in his speech expressed his happiness and wished Abdullah best of luck.

While talking about Abdullah, Abdul Rehman Bhat said: “I would like Abdullah to be a guide and a torch bearer for our future generations."

The young poet Abdullah has expressed his deep gratitude to his school DPS Srinagar and his hardworking teachers for grooming him in the best possible way. “I also thank Vijay Dhar sir for making DPS Srinagar one of the best schools in the valley,” says Abdullah.

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