Saturday, May 16, 2015

Apni hi kokh se: helping to fight communalism

By Asif Anwar Alig 
Book: Apni Hi Kokh Se (Poetic Collection) (From own womb); Author: V. Sudhakar Rao
Publisher, Isteara Publications, 53/A, Zakir Bagh, Okhla Road, New Delhi-110025 (India); Year: 2004; Pages: 120; ISBN-81-89179-02-0

Apni Hi Kokh Se
rdu poetry has always played subversive role in depicting the social gamut of the particular era it belonged. It demarcated the tunes and vibes time and again. In the Mughal Rule Urdu literature was somehow or the other a means of documenting Darbari Shayeri (Court history in poetic format). In between the lines it also advocated the cultural extravaganza incepted by various empires of the time working as an afterward of the empirical traditions thus formatting the royal history.

After and before the post-independent Indian literary history, Urdu poetry became instrumental earlier to free India from British and later to streamline the literary renaissance (Read Progressive Movement) to upgrade the condition of the poor Indians. Poetic themes always varied. They came up as the bonhomie for highlighting the dilapidated social, economic and political conditions of already destroyed Indian megalomania.

At present the themes of various young writers have turned up to jeopardize the pathetic conditions of the particular society it undergoes.  This is one of the reasons that poets like Ali Sardar Jafri, Kaifi Azmi, Sajjad Zaheer and et al emerged and tried to make the masses understand that poetry is not merely a mental romance. This is more than recitation and appreciation. This may evoke a silent revolution to mould the already evaporated social system and can play crucial role in highlighting the issues related to social evils. And finally the movements Jadidiat (Modernism) and Maa-Baad-e-Jadidiat (Post Modernism) came into existence. 

Both of these conceptual revolutions faced violent protests from the old-fashioned Urdu poets and the obsolete Urdu mentality. But the trend continued withholding all hindrances. The majority of those literati who never wished to see themselves nowhere tried to crush the movement by various means, sometimes by fabricating allegations and sometimes by throwing blames mainly personal protests with the help of religious doctrines. But the trend survived like a strong warlord and is continuing even today.

Recently published book Apni Hi Kokh Se, a collection of poems by V. Sudhakar Rao and published by Isteara Publications, New Delhi is another feather in the cap. The collection of poetry is not merely a book to be read but to be chewed rather to be drunk. These poems are the story of today's youth, their grievances, their pains and their reactions. Rao has evoked the voice of the young generation in his poetry. He weeps in solitude and vomits the pain of communal flames like Hemlock, which keeps the society at loggerheads affecting them to survive peacefully.

Neither have they helped the violators to confront their own heroism. Rao eschews the game of death played by those evils that have got the supervision of their 'rulers'. His pain is immortal. One couplet of the said book indicates this way…

Dahshat -o- Khauf ki Aandhi Si Chala Karti Hai
Raat Bhar Shahar Mein Ek Nind Si Uda Karti Hai

(The storm of terror and fear is at full swing. A sleep is wandering for the whole night). 

Reviewer Asif Anwar Alig
The book is an epilogue of a writer's depression that cumulates after the communal clashes, which never recognize a Hindu and a Muslim, but drenches both in equal proportion. Riots never leave any community happy instead they spread hatred amongst the masses that might wish to survive in the spartan of a single religion Humanity. This couplet endears his thought…

Mas'ala Hindu-o-Muslim Ka Hai Nazuk Itna
Is Se Aage Jo Kahoun To Buda Ho Jaaye

(The problem of Hindu and Muslim is so sensitive that if something more is told it becomes controversial). 

Urdu Alphabets
Indian critics have always discouraged young writers. Their assumptions and deterrent antagonism that hinder them not to cross a particular parameter fixed by their predecessors and now by themselves compel them to stick to the dogma. 

Writers, here, are entertained on the basis of seniority and not on the basis of maturity of thought. Young writers may have mature thoughts, more than a senior, but the critics and literary circle might ignore them most of the times as they lack guts to accept the politicization of literature.

On contrary to that new trends are also emerging where youth are given chance to share the platform of elders. Isteara Publications has proved itself as the pioneer of spreading this trend by inspiring young writers to get published including Rao's first book Apni Hi Kokh Se. This book has left an imprinting effect on the poetry lovers, on the masses and on the society that watch its gradual death at every juncture.
Killings in the name of religion and paving the way to mesmerize the gory scenes of genocide to emerge might primarily seem the social decadence but it also hampers the essence of literature, culture and arts. Rao has keenly observed the 'crusade' before writing this couplet….

Deen Aur Dharam Ke Jhagde Mein Huwa Tha Jo Shaheed
Bechaara Bhook Aur Piyaas Kaa Maara Huwa Kaafir Nikla

(The person who died in the name of religion was found out as one of the cases of starvation death). 

These lines incarnate the provocations and anger of the entire community of youth who have understood the social aesthetics and horrendous pitfalls of the so-called advocators of peace. A human being, either Hindu or Muslim needs food to survive. The unaccountable toll of death in the name of crusade pampers another story. 

Thousands of masses might cooperate with the snoops to infuriate their modus operandi. But in real terms these are just for getting a few score of meals in the frowning atmosphere of hatred and starvation that ultimately force them for the 'immortal sleep'.

As a harbinger of peace, Rao repeatedly tries to eulogize the masses to understand the ethics of humanity instead of fighting for their respective religions they follow. His emotional illness cocoons him to comprehend religion and politics of religion. He is mingling between the right and the wrong intricacies of religious and political atmosphere when he says….

Mujhe Raas Aayein Ibadatein
Na Samajh Mein Aayein Siasatein
Wahan Ghar Jalaye Gaye
Jahan Faqat Ek Chirag Jalna Tha

(I did worships but could not understand the politics. Houses were burnt out where one candle light was enough). 

Rao has given new meaning to the trend of poetic regression. He has seen, faced and felt the anarchies of abrogation and contradiction in religious ethics and provocations that stouts that one who is truly religious cannot be communal. But the fact remains in the back lane once the sentiments overpower religious sermons. These three couplets discretely define the macro mania.

Arsa huwa Curfew Uthe Lekin Ab Tak Ye Aalam Hai
Khali Khali Aankhen Hain Aur Khwab Bhi Hein Sune Sune
Ho Gayi Hai Maut Ab Ghar Ghar Muqeem
Zest Kiyoun Deti Hai Pehra Shaher Mein
Daal Do Saara Usi Ke Laash Per
Ban Raha Hai Jitna Kapda Shaher Mein

(Curfew has ended for the long time but the situation is still pathetic. Eyes are blank and dreams are silent. Death has now shifted to every home. Why unnecessarily the life is guarding the city. Through all the clothes on dead bodies whatever manufactured in the city).

Poetry is incomplete without the involvement of the reader. This is appreciable that young writers including V. Sudhakar Rao have been the part of the chain of poets encircled by Isteara Publications, who takes firm determination in understanding the minds of the readers. Apni Hi Kokh Se is one of the few books that not only encompass its message by reading once or twice but also inspires the young writers to understand that literature is more of ethics and not controversies. Poetry can convey a universal message and can inculcate the sense of brotherhood and love. Rao has maintained it with firm determination.

His first book of poetry is a surprise entry for the critics and Urdu poets. This is almost heroic to be bold enough to write a book in a language in which he never got any formal education.« 

Mr. V. Sudhakar Rao is not a writer by profession. After graduating himself from Film & Television Institute of India, Pune, he assisted several Indian Film Makers as Assistant Director. Besides learning the ups and downs of filmmaking he learnt Urdu Literature under the able guidance of India's Prominent Urdu poet and writer Late Kali Das Gupta Raza. 

He wrote scripts, he directed several television serials and achieved pioneering position in the field of electronic media. He has been very much aware of the developments of mass communication for the last ten years. At present, he is associated with Hyderabad based India's prominent Digital television Channel, Ushakiron Television as Producer. His love for Urdu literature and Language made him crazy to learn this sweet language besides English in which he has got mastery.

This book review first appeared in Milli Gazette, New Delhi in 01-15 October, 2004 edition. Its shortened version also appeared in The Friday Times, Lahore on October 01, 2004.

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