By Muzaffar Ali
Nov 03rd, 2010
The soul is a poet. Whether one writes poetry or not, the soul lives in poetic thoughts. The poet dreams of human beings in a world without boundaries. When he dreams of a nation, he dreams of co-existence and peace. Poetry is not only a barometer of a society but is often prophetic. It can be used to feel; it can be used to heal. As Allama Iqbal inscribed in his diary, “nations are born in the hearts of poets and die at the hands of politicians”. Today we are at the crossroads of evolution and, like the West, seeking direction. Fortunately, we have a past to lead us into a visionary future.
Ham aagahi ko rote hain aur aagahi hamein
Wa raftagi e shaukh kahan le chali hamein
Wahshat ne mujhse loot li dam bhar mein dosto
Jo muddaton mein aayi thi shaistagi hamein
— Javed Kamal
(We moan awareness,
and awareness weeps for us
Whither do we go,
do we ever ask of this wanderlust...
How madness got the better of us
and in a moment
the refinement of centuries)
Have people lost faith in people? Have people become mere products? Has modern consumerism made human beings respond to other humans only through media... react to brands, insensitive to intentions? Has media increased the generation gap that even a decade may seem like two generations or more? While we pay institutions more than we can save in our lifetime to educate our children, it is likely that our cherished values will be conspicuous by their absence.
The symptoms are often alarming and we need poetry to come to our rescue. We need to be sensitive to symptoms of society through prophetic poetic thought...
Na kisi pe zakhm ayan koi na kisi ko fikr rafu ki hai
Na karam hai ham pe habib ka na nigaah ham pe udu ki hai
Saf e zahidaan hain to be yaqeen, saf e maikashaan hai to be talab
Na wo subah vird o wuzu ki hai na wo shaam jaam o subu ki hai
— Faiz Ahmad Faiz
(Neither is the wound revealed,
nor do we yearn for a healing touch
The grace of the beloved is nowhere seen
Nor are we in the adversary’s gaze
The preachers stand faithless,
the wine bibber without thirst
Nor are we in the sanctity of morning prayers,
nor in the evening of drunken revelry)
We need to evolve a one-world vision to create the much needed East-West equilibrium. We need a meeting ground; a two-way traffic. If we move in this mindless dabang way, we may lose out both in the realm of spiritual ascent and intellectual evolution, as has happened many times over in the past.
With rapid development of communication and connectivity, India urgently needs its renaissance. And this has to come from deep within. We need a sharp focus to seal all escape routes which turn our mind around and lose what we have.
Urdu poetry, which is now lost on many of our younger generation, had reflected these concerns when India was immersed in the colonial era, circa 1857, and also as it emerged out of it 60 years ago. Which means that besides philosophical and spiritual thought, we are deprived of much of the sensitive reflections of this period and later.
While the evolved Western youth is disillusioned with his/her system and consumerism and is attracted to the East for enlightenment, we continue to be carried away by the consumerist agenda of powerful economies and modern media and our own mindlessness.
Art brings us close to such concerns. It can truly usher a renaissance that will impact us and from our shores touch the world. A deep and widespread effect can only come from poetry and cinema — poetry that has a superhuman agenda and cinema which is not commonplace.
The feeling has to come from the wisdom of those who have protected themselves and the energy of the youth that dreams with a free soul. Thus, the healing has to come from within, from a powerful collective mind which thinks with the heart.
The wise and the young will synergise to present an image of a free and emancipated nation, which will make people want to belong to us, just like they want to belong to the UK or the US, unlike the people of the Valley or other separatists in different parts of the country who yearn for freedom, who yearn for what they think will be a “free” country.
It is a war within to liberate the poet caged inside us. Essentially a non-compromising and poetic mind, a romantic mind, and a revolutionary mind... a mind which can make poetry into cinema, make poetry into rural development, into skill development, into industry, into jobs that salute people, into buildings that bow to man.
— Muzaffar Ali is a filmmaker and painter.He is the Executive Director and Secretary of the Rumi Foundation. He can be
contacted at www.rumifoundation.in
Source: The Asian Age