Whether it’s the pain of the partition, or the revolutionary movement in Maharashtra by farmers, or the angst of people during Assam floods, poet-lyricist Gulzar said that poetry documents the time during which it is written.
Speaking at the Media Rumble here Friday, the 84-year-old poet said that poetry reflects the mood of different parts of the country during different eras.
“Poetry is not only about romance, it speaks about everything. It documents the time when it’s written. When I started translating poetry of my contemporaries I started realising it showed the mood of the country across the years,” he said.
Citing the example of eminent Urdu poet Faiz Ahmad Faiz’s lines written in 1947 — “Ye daag daag ujala, ye shab-gazida sehar, wo intezaar tha jiska, ye wo sehar to nahin” — he said while on one side their was mourning of partition, the rest of the country was celebrating independence.
“He (Faiz) said this morning is tainted, this is not the morning we were looking for. This showed how partition was affecting people around the border states. I could not find any poems, stories, or couplets about the partition in other language but Hindi, Urdu, Punjabi, and Bengali. Because the partition didn’t affect the rest of the country,” he said.
He added that the poetry from different parts of the country still shows that we continue to live in fragments.
“The kind of poetry you’d find from an affected area you wouldn’t find anywhere else. The loss and pain of somebody affected by Assam floods will not reflect in poetry from somewhere else.
“Even today, if you see poetry from north East, it is so striking, it is shocking and painful, the rest of the country doesn’t even know the issues they face. For decades the governments neglected them, they barely existed as part of the country.”
The octogenarian will soon be coming out with his new book A Poem a Day, which is essentially a collection of translated poems from across the country.
“I have translated my contemporaries starting from 1947. The book will have the works of 272 poets in 32 Indian languages,” he informed.
“Going through their works you can traverse through movements in Maharashtra and Gujarat, south Indians writing about not wanting to read Hindi, and floods in Assam. You can see these mood shifts. Since 1947 you start seeing escapism turning into gloom, gloom turning into protest, and then into frustration. I have put all of that in the book,” he added.
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