Abdul Ahad Azad

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The poet of Lool

Pradeep Kaul, The poet of Lool "Daily Excelsior" 15/11/2015

The poet of Lool

Dr R L Bhat’s “Azad -The poet of Lool” went out of stock within two months after it hit the stands. This speaks for itself about the quality of book and the response it has evoked in the minds of men, for whom, despite these times of strife, internecine conflict and intolerance, reading quality literature matters uppermost. Hundreds of books have been published by writers of the state in recent past and there are very few examples when a book gets sold out in a very short time, making the publishers scurrying for a reprint to address to the demand. That said, we are also witness to pile of books on the stores that very few touch. This situation is luckily not for the author Dr Bhat. This book shall make him sought after as a translator and commentator of repute.

‘Azad –the poet of Lool’ is in fact a translation or English rendering of almost all major poems of the legendry humanist poet of Kashmir, Abdul Ahad Azad. Azad lived in the mid of the struggle for freedom but when the fruits of independence were to be tested, he left us at a very young age less than forty eight, falling victim to appendicitis which had no cure then. Antibiotics to control such situations at that time were not available aplenty even in the countries where they were invented. Despite this few conspiracy theories about his death are still making rounds.

Before he died, Azad left behind a rich legacy of a great mass of secular and humanist literature. Dr R L Bhat has translated his many great poems into English. Due to his meticulous efforts, the famous but understated poet is now available to the international audience. It is a pity that nearly seven decades after his death we find no substantial recognition of his talent. Partly what he wrote did not suit people in power and partly due to the fact that despite the slogan of Naya Kashmir, its architects were busy scripting very subtly a system against which Azad would have revolted. Azad’s exclusion from the cultural scene of Kashmir reflects a patently foisting of a majority outlook even in the fields of arts. All praises to Dr Bhat who as an incisive scholar has rediscovered Azad for very many who cannot read Urdu script but for all passionate lovers of Kashmiri literature.

Through this work the scholar has introduced him to a very large audience. Pen proves mightier than any weapon and this is evident from the fact that although the poet was suppressed for a long time, this seminal work by the author has inverted all restrictions put on the great poet. He turned free from the time he appended “Azad” to his name, and he is now freer and open to everybody who wishes to read him. This work is already creating ripples in the valley. Appreciating yet hush- hush tones here and a silent nod of approval there about this book make us aware about the huge effort put in by Dr R L Bhat. Azad’s vast poetic talent and the broad sweep of his humanism is now before a large audience in its noble form through this translation.

The author has put called all his creative energies to make ‘Azad -the Poet of Lool’ an important work. The word Lool used by him in his title of the book tells us that Azad is brimming with nothing but love. Lool has no nearest English equivalent -it is just the pure unrestrained love bereft of religious, caste or creed and material considerations. Azad lived to the fullest, spreading nothing but Lool around. The book is divided into six parts. In the first instance the author gives us tips to read the poems in Kashmiri through his recently perfected Rationalised Roman for Kashmiri script. Second one is a word from the author, where he acknowledges the guidance he got from Late Dr B L Koul D lit. The third part though spread over two pages only tells about important events in the poet’s life. The fourth one is a brilliant introduction in which Azad’s poetry, his humanism and evolution as a master artist and his dejection with the unfolding events is succinctly discussed. It will not be an overstatement to say that till date this 62 page introduction is perhaps the best in English on Azad. Dr Bhat outlines poet’s humanism and internal call for mutual co existence by citing his choice couplets which shake us within with their intense passion for a new world order.

Fida Azaad insaanas

Na kunyi kaabas na bhutkhaanas

Tavi prath kansi Insaanas

Pasand a’my su’nz gazul’khaanii

“Azad is devoted to man, not the Kaaba, or the idol house; that is why every man likes his poesy”.

Dr Bhat in a clinical style involuntarily reflected because of his scientific background has presented original poems of the poet on one page and their English rendition on the other. This portion of the book starts with his great poem -Daryaav-the River. It is both a biographical poem, reflecting a great deal Azad’s philosophy of freedom, rebellion and penchant to spread happiness everywhere. The author has used a rhyming style of rendition and has tried to his best ability preserve the original rhyme sequence with near equivalent words of English. Having said so, it is next to impossible to render any author into other language very faithfully. And at that, Dr Bhat too has faced hitches but that apart his translation is so musical and apt that it becomes a delight to read it word by word, line by line, and verse by verse and page after page. Last four pages of the book are blank in which space and lines for notes are provided.

Invariably, these four blank pages invite the reader to interact with the poet and his translator. Through this translation, the great poet Abdul Ahad Azad has come alive again reminding us that peace, amity, tolerance and the power of the muse are crucial towards a better world. The learned author has done a labour that shall reignite interest for the great poet and his universal message of love and amity. That makes it a book to be desired on the book shelf.

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