Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Pashto Language Great Poet AFZAL SHAUQ POET OF LOVE, LIFE, HUMANITY / Ayaz Daudzai

One of their active and productive pals, Afzal Shauq , is anxious to tread that unbeaten path, in the domain of 21st century Pashto literature. He has acquired considerable grasp of the new trends and critical discourses on the Post-Modernism in the Western literature. Well educated and widely traveled in the countries of the east and west, he has closely studied the culture and the way of life of the countries he has visited. He has keenly observed the goings on and life style of the countries, having been the centres of the ancient civilization and culture such as, Egypt, Rome, London and Paris. In his travels, Afzal shauq , was fully equipped electronic gadgets of photography and audio cassettes recording. Besides visiting places of historical interest, literary institutions  and cultural centres, he had rounds of busy bazaars, markets and parks, capturing and  preserving landscapes and sound images, besides recording interviews and chatting with men and women in the streets and institutions.

Based on this pictorial and sonic material, he compiled three creatively conceived and inspiringly portrayed travelogues published in beautifully printed books. He has given frank and thought provoking accounts of what he had seen and heard, in well-written prose, interspersed with poetic pieces, composed  on various occasions during his journey. He has also published two collections of his poetry, mostly consisting of prose poems. Another of his prose books is an experimental biographical novel of great literary merit. This novel is written in the perspective of Pharaoh’s era of Egypt, which merges ancient past with the present day space age.

The lead lady character is an Egyptian beauty (Shauq’s wife) and hero of the book is Shauq himself, with fictitious name Sailaney ( the traveler) .  The heroin has been modeled after the enchanting queen of Egypt of yore, Cleopatra, whose enticing charm has been immortalized by Shakespeare, saying, her infinite variety can be withered by age, nor staled by custom.

Afzal Shauq is lucky enough as 333 of his selected prose poems have been translated to English by a gifted American damsel, Alley Boling, an intellectual, scientist, philosopher and a marvelous muse. A perfectionist, she devoted two long years of her precious multi – task carrier in Georgia, USA, to render into English verse Shauq’s poems, published under the title, TWIST OF FATES. She plans to publish the book in the United States, too. If effectively promoted through media and book – launching functions, it is quite possible that the book will hit the best sellers list in that country.

I feel that the plot of Shauq’s novel may have been inspired by his poem, published in the TWIST OF FATES. Here are relevant lines from the poem, titled “ Global Sign” ( dedicated to Dr. Ouahiba Sakani Afzal, dearest life partner of Afzal Shauq) , He says;

                Daughter of Pharaoh
                Queen of Egypt
For love’s sake
Places her Crown
At the feet
Of Pashtun Caesar,

The dominant themes of Afzal Shauq’s poetry, as published in the TWIST OF FATES, are love, life and humanity, which though amply dealt with in world literature, yet Shauq gives new meanings and dimensions to these ideas. He has written unique poems in starting, simple but evocative  style, which at the same time are shocking, shaking, dazzling, amazing and soothing. He presents love as enriching, ennobling life and cementing humanity. Besides poetry, almost half the world’s philosophy is devoted to these three elements: “ Man is born free and has to live freely, without social taboos and restrictions and oppressive legal systems.

Mankind is the descendant of a single diving couple, Adam and Eve, and must live like brothers all over the globe, turning it into a paradise, lost by their heavenly ancestors. Equality, justice, and universal peace are yearning passion of Shauq. He abhors the idea of a global village …. Which is a codename for the enslavement of human being to be fettered by the exploitation might of market economy and technological superiority.

The most perplexing problem facing MAN today is, how to actualize the diction;

                “ Live and let Live”

As Robert Browning says,

                So free we seem
                So fettered fast we are.

Shakespeare in Hamlet observes;

       For who would bear whips and scorns of time,
       The oppressor’s wrong, the proud man’s contumely,
       The pangs of disprized love, the law’s delay,
       The insolence of office and the spurns,
       _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

                The grunt and sweat
                Under the weary life.

William Black says,

                Life delights in  “ Life”.

A French anonymous song hits the bull’s – eye;

                It’s love that
                Makes the world
                Go round.

Bertrand Russell philosophizes:

                Broadly speaking, we are in the
                Middle of a race between human
                Skill as the “ means ” and
                Human folly as the  “ end “.

Shauq upholds the enlightened Zoroaster’s teaching, as propounded in the scripture - - Zhand – Avesta, about light and darkness. Light, he says, signifies the Good and darkness, the Evil. Both are at ceaseless war, against each other since time immemorial. It is the light, which will ultimately triumph. Zoroaster preached that Ormazd is the Lord of goodness, Light and Creator of mankind. He identified the deity of darkness and evil, as Ahriman. In Persian language and literature, Ahriman still stands for Satan, while Ormazd has been turned into Yazdan, meaning Allah Almighty. Zoroaster is believed to have lived in the 6th century BC.

Shauq is fully conscious of the complexities of life. He says;

                Life is a snake crawling
                Life’s path
                Twist and turns
                And the distances
                Are always expanding

Yet, he is optimistic that life will shine with bright light at the end of the dark tunnel. This he portrays in the following lines..

                The state
                Yet new
                Bushes grow
                Bringing hope
                For new

About love, Shauq says;

                And with love
                All vanish,
                This, I believe

Shauq is restless soul, always on the move, in the quest for peace, amity, and universal brotherhood. He years that;

                Like travelers of yesterday
                It would be my wish
                To go to world’s corners
                The white flag of peace,
                The banner I would carry
                Removing all the borders.
                And whole humankind
                Could join together
And in another two lines, Afzal Shauq, lark of thousands melodies, aspires;

                For a white flag
                To wave against the darkness.

Now, let us recall prophetic Goete’s dying words - - - only two words;

                “ MORE  LIGHT ”

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