THEY SAY HE IS PROF. ARVIND GIGOO ( Born 1945 )..
My friendship with him is barely one year old. Prior to that , I had never seen him either at Jammu or in Kashmir valley .I knew him well through his write ups , Books , Poems and superb Translations. He taught English at various colleges in kashmir. Many friends told me “Beware ! He is terrible with his Pen” . Those who knew him would often say that he was friendly , Leisurely and above all helpful to Young and Promising writers . Some people tried to introduce him as writer SIDDHARTHA GIGOO’s father . In any case both happen to be brilliant writers .
In the very first meeting that I had with him, he turned out to be a Jovial, Candid and Helpful person. And then a very well read and well informed writer who dislikes people with double speak.
“ I detest Double Talkers “
The last trait also makes him profoundly different from others , affable and respected .
I kept meeting him thereafter Mostly at his residence and quite often in the company of Ramesh Hangloo of Radio Sharda . He usually talked about his Books , Translations , Future proposals and so many things from the world of Literature and fine Arts.
As writer, Arvind Gigoo has a unique style and flavor that akeeps you engrossed . He is a wonderful Narrator of events . His narrations are laced with a unique perspective . Sometimes one feels as if Sadat Hassan Manto is reborn and writing in English .
As poet ,he comes up with his own style and content .Philosophical yet simple . Apparent Humour but a subterranean and profound criticism of life .
" I AM DOING NOTHING " is a Poem by Arvind Gigoo that I need to present to substantiate what I have said about his poetic Talent ..
" I AM DOING NOTHING "
I dialed the number ,
“ Hello !“
It was my four year old grand daughter .
“ Hello Amia , What Are You doing ?”
“ Dadu , I am doing Nothing .”
Doing Nothing is the acme of wisdom.
Silence prevailed upon the words.
I kept the phone.
People do because doing means living .
They are dynamic and hardworking ,
And are busy in doing for their families ,
the society and the world.
“ I am not greedy or ambitious .
But people whom I know and don’t know
Have sped ahead of me .
I do not want to sit behind .
I crave for recognition and superior position “
“ Do You watch the full moon
and the stars and the clouds and the sunset?”
“ The skyscraper blocks the view .
Have you seen the drawing room of Malhotras ?
They have two more flats .
And their new Car !
It is very expensive .”
Dear Reader , I will disagree .
Eating is a ridiculous activity .
The unmistakable rapport and the perfect
Friendship of the hand and the mouth keep us alive
And are the basis of life .
And we do for remaining alive .
We race against others
And climb ladders to accumulate wealth.
We doom ourselves into doing , Into exhibitionism,
Into show .We speed for we are in haste .
“ Damn others , I want my Buck .
I will do for twenty years and then live “
“ So You will live in twenty years ! ?”
( Amia had said : I am doing nothing .)
Sitting still is doing nothing or doing nothing
Is the cessation of all actions –Of the speed and the climb.
Doing is evil , curse , trouble , unhappiness .
It is un-living or not living .
He said :” Perform duty without thinking of the fruit .”
Performing duty is attending to the ordinary
and the commonplace.
Doing breeds endless desires .
“ Why shouldn’t I desire the fruit of my doing ? I want to prove myself .”
Doing is “ Enjoying .“
When doing is in the process of doing ,souls and being get defiled .
Doers stop doing .
As for me while doing
I don’t – know- what I talked much and spoke nothing .
Do nothing and talk nothing .
Not doing and silence are inaction –I mean in – action.
What man needs is nothing.
No- Thing .
Evil will disappear .
The inside will flower .
Your mind is a curse .
If you say ‘NO” to whatever “IS”
You will stop doing and start living .
It takes a flash to stop doing .
Doing is undoing the you in you.
Do And suffer .
Don’t do and live.
When I stopped writing , the telephone bell rang.
It was my sixty year old friend.
“ What are You doing ?’
“ I am doing nothing .”
“ You fool , stop this nonsense . Dress up, Come out and live. “
I am the contradiction.
I am the clever Rascal .
I am the evil doer .
I dangle between not doing and doing.
I live in silence and speech..
( Arvind Gigoo.. Source ..SHEERAZA ( English segment ) Published by J&K Academy of Art Culture And languages ..April- June 2009 issue )
In his Books and essays written in English , Arvind Gigoo uses small sentences with simple English words. Understood easily and effortlessly , this style creates a vast readership apart from making an everlasting impression on the mind of the reader . In this style ,he comes closer to Sadat Hassan Manto. Like Manto , he spares none while dealing with men and issues in his Books .No prejudices and no Biases . He remains confined to Objectivity . With this approach , Some people may get hit and some may get positively revealed , he bothers not. His conviction remains “ Na Kaahoo se dosti Naa Kaahoo Se Beir “.
Read him to know that he is a master in conveying the apparent and the veiled. I quote some anecdotes written by him as they appear in the Book “ A LONG DEREAM FOR A HOME “ Chapter “ Days of Parting “.
(a) “Shaha , the old Muslim woman in our neighborhood , tells me on the road “ What nonsense is this ! we are fed up .” A Muslim gentleman joins us . Shaha now shouts ‘ We are prepared to die one by one for Independence .”’ Searches and searches. Deaths. Killings . It is horrible . A Muslim neighbour tells me in confidence “ I am afraid of my own son. Strangers are his friends .I have never seen them “
(b )We pack our things . Father is weeping . I ask Hafiz to arrange a truck for us . He says :’ Go home . A mini Bus will come to you in twenty minutes but don’t talk to me on the road henceforth “. We put other things In the Minibus very quickly. One Almirah full of old books belonging to my Grandfather remains untouched .I will come some day and carry them. These are rare books which my Grandfather had bought in Italy , Turkey and other countries . Through the window the daughter in law of Mohi Ud din tells me :’ Forgive us . Go wherever you want to go . May god protect you.’ She is weeping .”
His description about life in downtown Srinagar goes as under :
“The street urchins pelt stones on the houses of Pandits when a cricket match is played between India and Pakistan. Nobody takes such things seriously. Educated and illiterate persons rub shoulders. All steal electricity . Pandits celebrate marriages in the houses of those Muslims who have big houses .Carpets and Furnishings are lent to Pandits for use all the day. Shias Sunnis and Pandits live in harmony. Many Muslim families have leanings towards Pakistan.On Two Eids , Most of the Pandits go to Eidgaah . My Muslim friends come to me on Shivratri days and have lunch with me. Pandits and muslims play cricket in Eid Gaah. Others fly kites over there . In the evenings , some Pandits smoke charas in the Janam Bhumi Temple or in the compound of Ram Mandir. A handful of Pandits gamble in Ram Mandir. A few Pandits and Muslims drink in stealth. The quarrel of boat women lasts for days together . For onlookers , it is an entertainment of the highest type .Some young Pandits and Muslims steal hens and cocks belonging to few Muslim families , kill them , cook them and eat them. The owners of the hens shout curses on “ Cock Thieves “ . The lanes , Kochas and roads in our locality are filthy and covered with garbage .. Jagan Nath Saqi , the well known Radio Artist sits in the shop of Shamboo Nath ( Shomb Kak ) and talks about his past. Pandits who now live in New Colonies wonder how we Pandits live in the down town”
His Translator’s note to the Book " Light And Shade" Poems by sunita Raina Pandit is inimitable and matchless . This book contains kashmiri poems translated to English By Arvind Gigoo. I quote the text of this Note:
" While translating the kashmiri lyrics of Sunita Raina Pandit into English, I resorted to compression, reconstruction and re-composition . I allowed the architecture and linguistic nuances of the original to suffer. I subverted without worrying about exactness, Fidelity and accuracy of equivalence .I ruined the syntax, metre and richness the original kashmiri .The lackluster voice is an artificial exercise in which the ineffable impact of the Ghazals is lost but their soul swings and rings. This translation does not communicate the music, Rhythm ,Passion and transparent grace of the original.."
( Arvind Gigoo...... Translator..)
A sample of his English Translations are as under:
(Portrait of a Child)
A portrait hung
The chubby child
and opened his Cupid mouth.
I said "Are you my virgin past?"
The rainbow smile vanished,
and the thoughtful child said:
"Are you my defiled future?"
The answer reached me.
Grown-ups don't remember purity
children don’t know defilement.
( This is a poem by Noted kashmiri Poet Arjan Dev Majboor Translated to English by Prof. Arvind Gigoo and Published in his Book WAVES )
(Spring-wind passed by our door)
Spring-wind passed by our door
with restive fingers
beat its breast.
I asked a flower, “What happened?”
In a corner
it puckered its lips.
Soon a dry petal appeared
the spring bushes
beat their breasts.
( From “ Anecdotes “ Mini Poems of Poet Dina Nath Naadim translated to English by Prof. Arvind Gigoo )
(The oil in the lamp dwindled)
The oil in the lamp dwindled;
the wick was a flicker
the light too dwindled.
A moth danced into the dying flame;
the half-burnt hope
fell into a niche.
When the flame died
darkness gave a hysterical laugh.
Why trust laughter!
Weeping knows no end.
( From “ Anecdotes “ Mini Poems of Poet Dina Nath Naadim translated to English by Prof. Arvind Gigoo )
He has also done beautiful English translation of Hindi Poems written by Maharaj Krishen Santoshi , Agnishekhar and Kshema kaul apart from Kashmiri Poems of Bimla Raina . .
If you need to read some serious humour and Cameos then read his Book” The Ugly Kashmiri (Cameos in exile)”. Here he spares none in his crisp , brief and Poignant cameos ( 180 in totality ) .He touches the very edifice of Social life in kashmir where he lived . He provokes you to think “ Was that life based on Hypocrisy and falsehood ? “
In this book , he Talks about Pandits , Muslims , Militants, Killers , Plunderers , Intellectuals , Leaders , Language and customs . The reader is perplexed with his incisive and scissor like style that rips open every thing for display. It takes some time to understand and comprehend what he actually intends to convey.
I quote some cameos :
"I am where I am not,
Therefore, I am not where I am"
"We must preserve our culture."
"By reviving dead rituals."
“We salute this man for he is a martyr,
We kill this man for he is a traitor,
We nail this man for he is an informer.”
“ From Pakistan to plebiscite to India to Pakistan to independence to anything and anywhere in one breath.”
"Listen! How can I talk about the plight of Kashmiri Pandits? I am a secularist."
He is a kashmiri at heart and a Pandit as well. Liberal ,forgiving and Patient . No Never an Agnostic or an Atheist as was conveyed to me by some friends .I could infer that he does not believe much in ritualistic and dogmatic religious activity. Can’t say beyond that .
As and when I meet him , some specific Couplets of Majaz Lakhnavi come to my mind . I quote them ..
" Dair o Kaaba Ka me nahin Kaayal
Dair o Kaaba ko Aastaan na Banaa..
Mujh Mein Tu Rooh e Sarmadi mat Phoonk
Raunaq e Bazm e Arifaan na Banaa
Iss Zameen Ko Zameen Rehnay Dhe
Iss zameen ko Tu Aasmaan na Banaa"
Next time more . So long so much on Arvind Gigoo ..
( Autar Mota )
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