Tuesday, January 1, 2013



Photographs by autar Mota

(Photo No 1 is Agha shahid's family House  at Raj Bagh srinagar ,No 2 is the spacious lawn maintained by his father and scholar Agha Ashraf Ali , No 3 shows Agha Sahib standing , No 4 shows Agha Ashraf Ali in his study room ,No 5 shows Agha sahib with Autar Mota , Ajaz Rashid and S S  Chib. The remaining three photographs were clicked at jammu on 08.12.2011. Photographs from 1 to 5  were clicked at Agha Sahib's residence at Raj Bagh Srinagar..    )     


Kashmir born  Poet Agha shahid Ali needs no introduction in American literary circles . So does he need no introduction in UK. But yes he remains  unknown in his own state and more specifically in Kashmir . Do we forget our ICONS ?

   Agha  Ashraf Ali  could not make it to  Jammu this year . Last year a  function was organized by Civil society for Arts and literature  , family friends  of the late poet and other Literary personalities of the state  .The function was organized in December 2011  inside Press Club Building, Jammu  .  The function was meant to commemorate   Agha Shahid Ali ‘s  10th death anniversary  . Agha Ashraf Ali  ( Father of late poet ) was on dais with  Prof A N Dhar ( Ex HOD English university of Kashmir ) along with  Noted kashmiri  poet Farooq Nazki and Ved Bhasin Editor Kashmir Times Group. Others who had  joined included  Poet and scientist   A R Nazki ,  short story writer Khalid Hussain , Gojri Scholar  Javid Raahi ,Writer Dr. Ramesh Taimiri ,Theatre personality Ravindra kaul,   Photographer Ajaz Rashid and many more from the field of Art and literature . Memorable evening . Poems and literary talks . Father ( Agha Ashraf Ali ) remembered  childhood days of his brilliant son . Prof A N Dhar  remembered  meeting Shahid  in kashmir university.  Some speaker  recited Faiz .  Another paid  his poetic tribute to Shahid 's memory  .I read  Agha shahid Ali ’s poem  on satyajit Ray's movie   “Pather Pancheli “. Shahid had  condensed  the entire   labour of the genius director  Satyajit  Ray  to an 8 line poetic composition  . Here goes the poem.

Durga dies in the rains,
her tongue bitter with stolen
fruit. Beyond the field, trains
escape a boy’s dreams, run
into the air. A necklace chains
him to the water’s bones, turns
his reflection sour. Wherever
Apu goes, to the temple or the river,
he carries Durga’s smile to the depths of the air.
( Agha Shahid Ali )
The  memorable scene of this great movie wherein Durga and Appu move through the
fields to have a glimpse of the train has been  beautifully  captured in this poem by Shahid .
Presently my  mind also goes to  Agha Shahid  Ali’s   superb translation of faiz.  Loneliness  has many colours and contours. Faiz is a master in expressing human loneliness . I can not help loving his poem “Tanhaayi ” and the superb and simple translation of Shahid  appearing in the Book “ The Rebel’s Silhouette: Selected Poems, by Faiz Ahmed Faiz  ”translated by Agha Shahid Ali ..Intense loneliness expressed by faiz and superbly conveyed in English by Agha shahid Ali's translation


Faiz Ahmed Faiz

phir ko’ii aayaa, dil-e-zaar! nahiin, ko’ii nahiin;

raah-rau hogaa, kahiin aur chalaa jaaegaa.

dhal chukii raat, bikharne lagaa taaron kaa ghubaar,

larkharaane lage aiwaanon mein khwaabiida charaagh,

so ga’ii raasta tak takke har ek rah guzaar;

ajnabi khaak ne dhundlaa diye qadmon ke suraagh.

gul karo shamiin, barhaa do mai-o-miinaa-o-ayaagh,

apne be khwaab kivaaron ko muqaffal kar lo;

ab yahaan ko’ii nahiin, ko’ii nahiin aayega!


Someone, finally, is here!
No, unhappy heart, no one -
just a passerby on his way.
The night has surrendered
to clouds of scattered stars.
The lamps in the hall waver.
Having listened with longing for steps,
the roads too are fast asleep.
A strange dust has buried every footprint.
Blow out the lamps, break the glasses, erase
all memory of wine. Heart,
bolt forever your sleepless doors,
tell every dream that knocks to go away.
No one, now no one will ever return……………………….
(Translated by  Agha Shahid Ali.)

My friend and poet Farooq Nazki had also composed a  kashmiri poem "Akh Berang chith - Agha Shahid-ni nawaa "as a tribute to the poet.  Wonderful English  translation to this poem was done  by his talented daughter Roohi Nazki . Here goes the poem.................

 (To Agha Shahid – From: Dead Letter Office)

 The deepening black of an evening rose,
The fragrance of a thousand blooms
The Prince of the kingdom of sleep
Caressing the eyes with a soothing dream
Rousing the soul to a silent fire
Eyes, laden with the nameless terror, a strange content
Therein glinted a hope for tomorrow
Therein went buried many a dream
Dwelling long in dreams forbidden
Searching hard in shadows forbidden
He saw them there, the demons of the night
Their dance macabre, seared his soul
I still remember
He was so different
A being unique, a heart’s content
As I held him in my gaze, my blood rose in my veins
Away and yet so close to me
The solitary figure in a crowd
First whiff of the spring
Blazing sun
Blossom of the mustard flower
Cool draught of a spring
A field of saffron
The first shower
A fist of snow
An honest man, shrouded in white
The long night of the ninth moharram
A cry for water of the tenth moharram
The flaming chinar
The generous soul
The sweet breeze of early spring
The moon in a dark wintry night, frozen in the sky
The promise of a ‘sheena sharth’
Long winter
A warm kangdi on a wintry night
Sufiya’pet, her crown, her world
A droplet shimmering on a sprig of leaves
Noble son
The midnight blue of a moths wings
Circling death, courting love
A celebrity incognito
A nameless letter that the pigeon delivers
The bridge of ‘Suraat’over the ‘Bhavsar’ ocean
A boat ride
The shailmar garden
The lilting ardour,
making the blood dance in the veins
Tibet Bakal’s ‘Tilang tarana’
The gentle voice of Shams Faqir
Begum Akhtar’s touching Khayal
The creeper climbing the mud wall
The lone flower gracing a vase
Immense desert
Divine being
A mirage within the mirage of dreams
The bard of my land
A saint, a sufi
So far, yet tuned to be silent lament of my heart
Cradling the vale in his eyes
Words shining like fireflies in the velvety night
His memory synergies my soul,
blazing the frozen blood in my veins.
Shaking the mountains
Spraying flowers
Casting life on trees and plants
A cry of delight
A lyrical thought
The merry wooer, solitary along the bridge of fire
A ray of light dispelling the darkness
Oh universe be a witness to what I say
That harbinger of life
Lal Ded’s dream
The rishi of goodwill
The seeker
He will rise again
Splitting the earth
Green like a field of wheat
He will soar again over the Himalayas
Draped in tulips he will appear, yet again

 ( Farooq Nazki Translated by Roohi  Nazki )

What more can be said about this great poet i do not know . Almost all about him  is available on the net . Amitav Ghosh , his friend and writer ( who wrote  the novel “The Hungry Tide ”  ) has also added a nice page about the life and work of this poet especially covering the period of his illness . To Amitav , Shahid had  said

‎" This dividing of the country , the divisions between the people- Hindu , muslim , Muslim , hindu - Yo can not imagine how much i hate it . It makes me sick.I wish this had not happened . "

"Once shiela Dhar who knows Gazal singer Begum Akhtar very well told me that my teeth and and mouth resemble Begum sahiba " .

“ I just love those moody songs of kishore  kumar  apart from Rogan josh and old Bombay films ”

Shahid shall be remembered for seriously working on the GAZAL format for English poetry . He himself wrote some poems in this format and compiled a book “Ravishing Disunities: Real Ghazals in English.”

 My experience with Agha Shahid Ali's poems has been like reading Rajtarangini. First reading in a summary way confused me. But Once you understand the reference /context of his poems you start realizing intellectual tallness and clarity of vision of this man . You come to his poems again and again. His poetry breathes the natural fragrance of kashmir . If  kashmir is in pain his poems reflect the pain. If hope and bright dawn is nearby , he is the first to talk about it . Shahid uses a large canvas to convey issues touching him. In this type of literature you do not talk about any victor or vanquished . You can not call it a poetry of cause or poetry of effect . It is poetry of human beings who have a shared history and a shared past . Through some poems ,the poet also envisions a future for them based on a very strong and indestructible cultural commonality and ethos . Such Intellectuals rise taller in any group to say loudly " look folks ! All of you are sufferers ". And We are duty bound to salute these genuine feelings .This is the quality of great literature . A Literature that has no group label. Apply it to universal situations and it fits perfectly....

 Shahid loved Kashmir ,its river , mountains , hills , lakes , birds and seasons . He had special love for srinagar city .I  also Joined  the memorial function in December 2011 and felt privileged to be given an opportunity to speak  for 10 Minutes  on Poetry of Agha Shahid Ali especially his translation of Faiz  Ahmed Faiz. I dedicate a   poem  of mine to  Agha Shahid Ali's memory .  I read this poem  at the memorial function at Jammu..

Hamaara shehar ( our City )

Manzilein Ghumm hain Raastey Sooney
Naa Koyee Yaar Naa Sukhan Naa khuloos
Kab Hansey Thhey hamein to yaad Nahin
Koyee Kaandhaa nahin hai Roney ko
Shaam Se hi Gharon ke Bandh kiwaad
Zindagi Ghutt Gayee hai kamron mein.
Kyaa Khareedeinge inn Bazaaron mein
Jin me Bikatee hai dard o Badh –Haali.
Woh Parindey Woh Pyaar ke Raahi
Shehar Ko Jin Pe Naaz Thaa kal Tak
Aaj Jaane Kahaan Bhataktey hain
Ya issi Shehar mein hain Chupp Bebas
Apne Khwaabon mein rang Bhartein hain.
Khwaab woh Hain Ki Sunaaye Na Baney
Dard Woh hai ki Dikhaaye Na baney
Fir Bhi Har waqt Yeh Dua Woh Karein
" Aey Mere Shehar Tuu Aabaad rahey
Mausamon ki Mehar rahey har saal
Tere Baagon mein Parindey hon sadaa
Teri Jheelon mein Aabshaaron mein
Inn safedon mein in Chinaron mein
Har Choraahey mein basti koochey mein
Zindagi Laut ke har pal Yeh kahey
Pyaar Ka Jashn Manaana Hai Ab
Har Andhere ko Mitaana Hai Ab”"
(Autar Mota )

  Tuesday 1st jan, 2013  ,  Time  11.35 PM Good Night 

Creative Commons LicenseCHINAR SHADE by Autarmota is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 India License.
Based on a work at http:\\autarmota.blogspot.com\.

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