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Think Beyond ‘Gul Aur Bulbul’ Poetry

Think Beyond ‘Gul Aur Bulbul’ Poetry
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Bani Umer

Poetry is a strain of literature that uses aesthetic and rhythmic qualities of language such as, phonaesthetics, sound symbolism and matter to evoke meanings in addition to or in place of the prosaic ostensible meaning. Although there is no doubt that there are as many definitions of poetry as there are poets; for instance here we will take the example of a natural poet William Wordsworth. He defines poetry as, “The spontaneous over flow of powerful feelings”. Even some thinkers share views like poet is known as the olfactory organ of society and he plays the same role in the society as nose plays in the normal human body.

By going through history we witness many examples which throw ocean of light on the role of poet in society. When we read William Wordsworth he leads our journey towards the nature. When we read Aga Shahid Ali we feel he not only immortalised his homeland in his poetry but also transformed the nature of english verse.

As a Kashmiri I know we mostly prefer to read Urdu poets instead of English. But in Urdu we also deliver lots of examples like Mirza Ghalib, Allama Iqbal, Faiz Ahmad Faiz, Habib Jalib etc. Ghalib took the concept of Ghazals and changed them from an expression of anguish in love to philosophies of life. Allama Iqbal played a vital role in awakening the Muslim World. Faiz Ahmad Faiz is also known as a revolutionary poet because his poetry inspires the masses to the way of critical and rational thinking. Jalib used his poetry as a tool to fight against social injustice, opression and abuse of power etc. Ghalib, Iqbal, Faiz are those few names who proved that we can express anything through poetry, which before them was restricted to pain of loss or separation.

But yet again time has come that our poets have restricted themselves to liking, pain, love, loss of separation and in Urdu term what we can say they have restricted themselves to Gul Aur Bulbul. Let me share personal interaction with readers. When me and one of my close friends meet we always discuss this thing that our Urdu poets, especially budding Urdu poets are still trapped in between “Gul Aur Bulbul” which is unfortunate. They are not coming out from this old ghost which was almost terminated by poets like Faiz Ahmed Faiz and Allama Iqbal. I always smile when he replies that this is the reason he didn’t like their poetry. I myself many times tried to convey same message to some friends who are good at writing poetry that why don’t they write poems about happenings in Kashmir and on other matters. I gave some booklets to them, in which author explains how one can write good poetry. But most of my poet friends after listening my suggestion say, “Umer, you are too much religious and you know religion has nothing to do with Poetry or Literature.” And when I reply what about Alama Iqbal, Altaf Hussain Hali, Akbar Allahabadi, Mahirul Qadri they remain adamant in saying that one can’t mingle poetry and religion.

With due respect for those “Gul Aur Bulbul” poets who pen down dozens of poems in a day I would like to share words of Irfan Hassan, a close friend of Aga Shahid Ali. He recalls how Aga Shahid Ali would meticulously explain to him every line that he would create or would discard after creating that. I then realised how tough it was to write good poetry. So many sheets of papers over a long period of time, even months, would go by creating a poem. And one must see how relaxed the poet would feel once he was satisfied with the end product. In Shahid’s words, he would feel as if he has been “freed from the clutches”.

I hope nobody will take it personally. It is just my own view, you may disagree. The thing is, today I finally tried to express my perspective with the help of Aga Shahid Ali. I deeply respect all the poets who are in my friend list and I will once again request to come out of this Gul Aur Bulbul ghost. This is only because I know how talented you are. Infact, I myself was the dupe of “Gul Aur Bulbul”.

Lastly, if religion and personality have nothing to do with poetry and litrature, then why Marxism dominated Urdu poetry through “Progressive Writers Movement” over a long period of time?

Author is studying at university of Kashmir and can be mailed on

Disclaimer: Views expressed are exclusively personal and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Oracle Opinions.

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