Saturday, June 22, 2019




A collection of poems by Vijay Saraf ‘Meenaghe’.
Price Re1600/-  in India . 

Overseas  GBP 20 and US$25.
( 35% concession to Artists , Writers , Performing Artists ,Students , Libraries and 60% concession to those earning upto 2.5 lacs per annum )

Before i say anything about the book and the poems included in it  , it is quite relatable to introduce the author   for a better  understanding of  the book and its contents .

Vijay Saraf ‘ Meenaghe ‘ (born 1956 ) is a well known artist of our state who served  as Principal and Dean , Faculty of Music and Fine Arts , University of Jammu . Trained at J J School of  Art Mumbai,  Vijay Saraf  ‘Meenaghe’  has  exhibited  his work  (  1974 onwards  )  in solos  and groups at various places in India .His work is on display at National Gallery of Modern Art New Delhi, Lalit Kala Academy New Delhi ,E. Alkazi Art Heritage New Delhi , Bank Of America  New Delhi , Raj Bhawan Jammu, Dogra Art Museum Jammu , Rashtriya Lalit Kala Lucknow , North Zone  Cultural Centre Patiala, Shri Mata Vaishno Devi University Katra   and many other places   . Some  prominent private collectors  who possess  his work are  Vivek Burman ( Dabur ) Dr Karan Singh , Nusli Wadia  ( Bombay Dyeing ) , Satish Choksi (Mumbai )  , Kirti J . Seth (Mumbai) , family of A R Antulay  (Mumbai ) , Dr Farooq Abdullah  many more . 

 Shri Vijay ‘ Saraf Meenaghe ’ is a poet , photographer  and  Musician. He  has done  installations and  Murals  in ceramic tiles, terracotta  and mix media as a part of his commissioned work at many places   . His paintings  have received  positive and excellent  reviews in National newspapers  from  eminent writers and Art critics like  Keshav Malik, Ranjit Hoskote , Santo Datta , Dhyaneshwar Nadkarni , Niyatee Shinde and Manjula Padmanabhan.

The book under review contains 183 crisp Hindi poems in blank verse spread over 737 pages .  Most of the poems in this collection  are  supported by matching  illustrations done by the author himself .The beauty of this collection lies in something unique that i have come across for the first time in my life. Every poem has been translated into English , Urdu, Hindi , Sanskrit , Dogri , Kashmiri and  Punjabi  apart from  beautiful transliteration in Sharda and Dogri Akhar . This is  a great effort  to maximize the reach of the book . And in this task ,  he  has been assisted  by a team comprising of   Mohan Singh ,    Shuja Sultan ,  S N Pandit ,   R L Betab ,  Sham lal Raina and  Baljit Singh.

In his foreword, the author has expressed  sincere gratitude to Lala Mulkh Raj Saraf , Ved Rahi , O P Sarthi and so many other   relatives , teachers and friends .

This is a poetry collection  by a painter. The painter in him comes live in various poems . I have seen his paintings also and quite often,  the poet  in him is visible in his canvases . Let me take up some poems for review .  

A small poem at page number  ten of the collection under review  is about flowers and colours .The poem expresses artist’s  love for colours . And on this earth, colours are best represented by flowers . Here is the poem :
Phoolon se
Tum agar  baatein karo 
Aur  karte raho ,
Sach-muuch ,
Tumhe  yaad hi  nahin rahega
Ke tum inhein
Todne aaye thhay ..
 The above poem in English translation appears as under at page 10 of the book ..

‘With the flowers ,
If thou ever converse ,
And keep on conversing –
Really , You will forget ,
You had come to pluck them..’
Another small poem is as under:

‘ Khudgarzi ko dost bana kar
Ghar uss ke
daawat par  jo gaye-
Chugte chugte
Hum kabootaron ke
Pankh kat chuke thhay ..’

 The poem conveys  something that most of us have felt  or experienced.  Is present day  friendship another name of selfishness ? Does dishonesty rob a man of his capacity to fly free ? The flying power of a  pigeon may  decline  should he keep running after grains procured dishonestly . This mini poem comes close to Dr Iqbal’s popular couplet  from  Bal-e-Jibril  . I quote :
‘Aey  tair-e-lahooti!  Uss rizq  se maut achhi
Jis  rizq se aati ho parwaaz mein Kotaahi’

(O Bird, who flies to the throne of God,
You must keep this truth in sight,
To suffer death is  far nobler
 Than  the bread that clogs your upward flight.)

Another small poem is as under:
‘ Me
Kuchh  bhi  nahin  huun_
Yahi  baat
Yaad dilaate hain
Meray aangan mein
Pedon se girte
Sookhe  pattay..’
This poem is based on the deep philosophy of existence ,  Maaya- jala of the visible world and  the transitory nature of life on this planet. Green leaves full of life today shall inescapably fall to dust  tomorrow  . This comes  close to Kabir’s  popular Doha ;
‘Pataa toota daal se  le gayi pawan Udaai
Ab ke bichhde kab mile door padeinge jaaye .’

( The  wind carried away the leaf
that  fell from the branch ,
 Alas ! once   separated  ,
 It might  not meet  the tree again
Once  it falls to a  distant ground)

This poem also comes close to a very popular couplet of Poet jagan Nath Azaad. I quote
‘Maine poochha  ke zindagi  kyaa hai
Haathh se gir ke jaam toot gaya ’

( I sought to know the meaning of this existence ,
My wine  glass slipped from my hands and broke  )

There are so many other poems that need to be commented upon. For example a mini poem “ Dukh baant diya……. toote gamlon mein phool ugg aaye hain ‘ on page 402 conveys that sorrows need to be shared . Shared sorrows may become flowers .
The painter is visible in some mini poems .  In style and content , these mini poems look like Japanese  Haiku. I quote:

(a)    ‘Nazdekiyaan
paas paas sun rahi hain,
Chhaanv dhoop se bahut naraaz hai .. ’

(b)   ‘Sooraj bhi thithur gaya
Uss ke
nange jism ko dekh kar’

(c)    ‘Baadalon ka aanchal
Devdaaron ki
chupp bhari udaasi  ko chhu ke
Apne aansuvon se
Halka kar detaa hai ‘

The book can be directly purchased from the author who resides at  Jammu . He is available on mobile 9419195849 and 7889536356 . The book opens a new window  of interest and when  painters  write   poetry they tend to make  you happy and contented .

( Avtar Mota )

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