Tuesday, October 4, 2016

'SHEIKH AYAZ " WAS SUBCONTINENT'S TALLEST SINDHI POET.



                                                                                      





 SHEIKH AYAZ.. ( 1923-1997 )


“ I belong to the religion
Of all men,
all women and all children,
I am everyone.
I am as old as the hills of Aror [1].
I am the `Madan-Mast' plant [2]
Which grew
Wherever there fell
The drops of blood
Shed by Ladi [3]
Fighting the ruthless Arabs.
I am the cave
Of Goddess Kali's thousand idols
Which I wrought in stone,
Which I have been worshipping,
All my life..”

( Sheikh Ayaz )

PS.

[1] A place in Sindh and a site of an ancient city.Arora community is believed to have originated from this area.

[2] "Madan Mast" is a flowering plant, that has yellow thick (banana
peel like) petals which are fragrant . Just one petal  can give out the smell for many days .

[3] wife of Raja Dahir, who died in battle defending Sindh. The invading Arabs executed thousands of captive Sindhi soldiers, and sent thousands of other Sindhi men and women as slaves to Arabia..


SHEIKH AYAZ ( 1923 -1997 ) was a sindhi Nationalist and Tallest Sindhi poet of the subcontinent . He is credited with bringing Modernist Metaphor to Sindhi Poetry. His poetry overflows with folklore and history. He wrote prose , poetry ,Biographies , Operas , Dramas, short stories and essays . Through his poems ,one gets a glimpse of universal thought and collective Human emotions .

Apart from praising the bravery and commitment of the sons of his soil; he paid homage to international revolutionary figures also. He dedicated one of his poems to Che Guevara. He wrote a beautiful poem on the Spanish poet Lorka who was killed by fascists. He wrote about the death of Chile’s rebel singer, Victor Hara, and introduced Dostoevsky and Tolstoy to his readers . Through his Poems , He praises Raja Dahar ( who Fought Arab Invaders in Sindh ) , Gandhi Ji , Kabir ,Budha , Tuka Ram , Bhagat Singh , Tagore and so many Icons of the subcontinent. As translator , he will always be remembered for his major work of urdu rendering of "Shah Jo Risalo” of shah Abdul Latif Bhittai.His books have been published in Sindhi and urdu.

Born as Mubarak Ali Sheikh at Shikarpur in Sindh Pakistan , Sheikh Ayaz was a lawyer by profession. He also served as Vice chancellor of Sindh University . In  his work , Sheikh Ayaz brings in anecdotes that have philosophical depths . He is a Sufi, romantic , progressive and revolutionary. He creates images of his land and its plural cultural past Characteristically
  through his poems.

During the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965, he wrote a poem about progressive Sindhi poet Suragwasi Narain Shayam, who had moved to India in 1947..The English translation of this poem is as under …

“There in front of me is Narain Shayam!
His tales and mine are the same,
our promises are the same,
He is the king of poetry,
but my colourful ways are also the same
Land also same,
beloved also same,
heart also same,
horrors also same
How can I point a gun at him!
How can I shoot him!
How can I shoot!
How can I shoot!
How can I shoot!”)

( Sheikh Ayaz )


On political front , He was also associated with G M Syed ’s “Jiye Sindh ” movement . For this association , he also faced several imprisonments .He also faced imprisonment for supporting Sheikh Mujeeb’s Awami League in 1971. He also opposed 1971 war and had to go in hiding in Sindh . He refused to become hysterical when the war drums began beating.He wrote a Book titled” SAHIWAL JAIL DIARY” detailing his life and experiences in Sahiwal jail. This book remains a Great piece of Human Psychology and a master commentary on Socio Political realities of that time .



His Musical Opera “ *Ranni Kot Ja Dharrail (Dacoits  of Ranni Kot), still enthralls audiences as and when the same is performed anywhere .It is a timeless creation of Sheikh Ayaz .


Sample poetry of. Sheikh Ayaaz is as under ..

                                                  (1)
(Truth)

A great offender!
Ever since genesis Seized and chained, Hunted out and killed.
At times --
Condemned to drink hemlock (1),
Hanged from gibbet (2),
Roasted alive in cauldron of boiling oil (3),
Crushed in oil-expeller (4),
Thrown down from mountain top .
Despite all, he persists in his luckless custom;
Any heart that he breaks into
Is always in turmoil;
Today he is thy guest,
Hast thee ever paused to ponder,
Whom thou hast befriended,
the great offender,
Truth!
( Sheikh Ayaz)

NOTES:
1) The great Greek philosopher, Socrates .
2) The Arab Sufi, Hussain bin Mansoor al-Hilaj (858-922 AD)
3) Sikh Guru Arjun Dev Ji..
4) The Sindhi saint, Makhdoom Bilawal (d. 1579 AD).


                        (2)
Opposite the Living Saint in Rohri
A crumbling temple
And in the temple
A broken figure
Arms, feet, and neck missing
Only a part of the torso remains
the part
Where it is supposed to have a heart.

(Rohri is a city in Sindh on the banks of river Indus famous for its ancient Hindu temple now in ruins)

                                                   (3)
‘O Moon!
How can I reach you?’
‘Go right up to the top of Karonjhar
and jump
See you in the pool below’
(Karonjhar is a hilly area in the eastern part of Sindh, in Thar desert)

                                     (4).
Poesy is a river
On whose banks today
I have seen
Saraswati and Mahakali;
The two together
Were drinking moonlight;
They have come together
After long ages,
No doubt today will be born
A great Maha Kavi.

                            (5)
................................
(The Song of Love)
The song of love
Resonates again
Losing itself in the echoes of space;
Time, crocodile style, gobbles up
The song of love.
Then from the bosom of earth,
From the embrace of lovers,
The song of love
Grows up again and again
Into the rose garden of life --
Because if there be any thing on this earth
Immortal, adorable,
Victorious over death,
Distinct from all,
That thing is
The song of love,
The loveable song of love.

                          (6)
Night is all colours
And the wine brewed
Come and let’s drink together
The pain is too brimful.

                 (7)
Leaving your heaven,
I’ve come for the earth
Need I not nirvana
Make me wander from birth to birth.

                  (8)
Winter has brought hardships
The boots in uniform,
Their heavy steps,
Audible from afar.
Their march pauses at my door --
Intimidated hearts, impatient fools!
All the inhabitants tremble --
At my door is a persistant
Knock, knock
Knock, knock!
"I was telling you, Sir!"
And then the deaf shed their tears--
"Why do you write such poetry,
"That they put you in chains!
"They call you a secessionist,
"The liars tell tall tales about you!"
At my door is a persistant
Knock, knock
Knock, knock!

-(Sheikh Ayaz)


Because of a secular, progressive and humanist flavour present in his verses, Sheikh Ayaz was not popular with the establishment in his country .

Moonis Sheikh Ayaz adds:

" My father was a progressive and an existential thinker. The history, politics, philosophy and mythology of Sindh are all engrained in my father 's poetry. He was a born poet. .He wrote wherever he was, be it at the dinner table, while travelling or even while practising law as an advocate.”

( Autar Mota )


PS
(1)
Rani Kott is a historical Fort in Thhaar desert of sindh . The boundary wall of this fort is about 30 kms in length and that makes it the largest fort in the world. It falls in Jamshoro district and is also known as Great Wall of sindh . It comes next to the Great wall of China.Many adjoining small hillocks are also covered by this Fort wall. Sindhis believe this Fort wall as a protector of Sindh or Sindh’s defence against invading Mongols during ancient times .

(2)
On the repeated insistence of Z A Bhutto,Sheikh Ayaz agreed to take over as vice-chancellor of Sindh University. “Those three years were a waste of my time and I paid a heavy price for it,” he later lamented.

(3)
To Che Gauvera he dedicated his poem, “Kehn bhi Azadi Nahey Roee Warti”. When General Pinochet seized power in Chile and killed the elected president, Allende, during the early 70’s, Ayaz wrote a poem addressing Pinochet. “Pinoche! Chile ji pan pan mein parlau ahey” which, when roughly translated, means, “Pinochet there is an utter echo in every leaf in Chile”.

(4)
On the death of Chile’s rebel singer Victor Hara, he wrote: “Bakh futee jo roz budhan tho/! Voctor Hara’ khey/ Ho jo Chile jo ragey aa,/ Muhnji bhau jiyan aa,/ Un ji dukhyari dharti jann/ muhnjey mau jiyaan ahey”. (I do listen daily at dawn to Voctor Hara, who is a singer of Chile seems my brother. And his grieved homeland I do feel like my mother).

(5)
A sample poem from "SHAH JO RISALO " goes as under...

(Seek them out
For once they go to Hinglaj [1]
You will never find them.
Leaving behind the comforts of the world
They surge towards the Ganga!
That Sanyasi who loves the delicacies of the world
Allah is far away from him.
They [who] do not sit down in the middle and rest:
Rama comes and meets them on the way.
-(Shah Latif,)


[1] Hinglaj ... Ancient temple..It is one of the Shakti Peethas of the goddess Sati a form of Durga or Devi located in a mountain cave on the banks of the Hingol River. A place of pilgrimage for People from Rajasthan , Sindh and Baluachistan . It is situated 250 kilometres to the north-west of Karachi ( Sindh ).
CHINAR SHADE by Autarmota is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 India License.
Creative Commons LicenseBased on a work at http:\\autarmota.blogspot.com\.

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