Sunday, April 24, 2011

Dr Shahzad Rizvi on Muslim Saleem and revelation of his poetic art

A few months ago my sister, Dr. Imrana Nashtar, who was Reader in Aligarh University and now lives in the United States, informed me that a gentleman in Bhopal was preparing a directory of Urdu poets and his name is Mr. Muslim Saleem - thus I was introduced to Mr. Saleem in absentia. When I logged on to his blogs my introduction to him became complete:  I discovered his poetic prowess through his Urdu poetry. I thought that it would be a shame if the international readers would be deprived from enjoyment of his marvelous poems. His poems reveal his novel way of looking at the issues of life. His each couplet is so much packed with depth of thought that a careless and an uninitiated reader may miss what the poet is trying to convey.
His does not write just for the sake of writing - as Urdu writers have been saying "literature for the sake of literature" - but, with a purpose and a mission in mind. From that standpoint, I think, it would not be an exaggeration to say that he is not only an observer and commentator of life, but, a social reformer. Slowly but assuredly his art has been maturing over the decades and certainly his profession as a journalist has given him diversity and a unique opportunity to grow as a person and as an artist. He does not sit at his desk every morning faithfully and start crafting verses - dragging unwilling, half-baked, and screaming lines out of the hold of his creative self - but relies on the inner creative fountains when by some unknown force they are turned on and there is a deluge of poetry. As Mr. Muslim Saleem writes himself about his creative process in "Aamad aamad"and I quote:

"Sometime I don't write poetry for weeks or years at a time. And when the flow begins, whether I am in the office or traveling or just staying in one place, couplets, one after the other, start tumbling out of me. Some times, after a fallow period of years, for  ten – fifteen days it seems that someone has pushed the button of creativity in me; during these days I am almost in a trance, swaying back and forth, and in that state I welcome the new arrivals. When the couplets produced by my inner self during this period leave such a remarkable impression on me, a being of modest learning, then I breathe with satisfaction that the people of taste will certainly like them."

For the reason I mentioned earlier, I try to find time in my very busy life in Washington to translate his poetry because I regard it a worthy task as well as I would like Mr. Muslim Saleem's art to be known internationally. Hence I have translated his ghazal:


In silence, he is revealing every secret
He is only speaking the language of smiles

Hunter - congratulations - get ready your trap
Your quarry of my heart is poised to fly

Though he is putting sweet melodies into the ear
Beware! He may poison the cup of your life

Attired in the robes of civilization
Packs of carnivores have been residing within the community

Love, such an unusual thing - though the beloved is silent
And yet, every limb of his speaks volumes of her emotions

- Dr. Shahzad A. Rizvi

(Ghazal in roman script:
Khamoshi se har raz-e-nihan khol raha hai
Wo sirf tabussum ki zaban bol raha hai
Sayyado Mubarak ho, chalo daam bichhao
Seene mein parinda koi par tol raha hai
Wo zeest ke pyale mein kaheen zahr na bhar de
Kano mein jo awaz ka ras ghol raha hai
Ulfat bhi ajab shai hai, wo khamosh hai lekin
Us shokh ka har azw-e-badan bol raha hai
Tehzeeb ki poshak se jimson ko saja kar
Basti mein darindon ka ghol raha hai
1. Raz-e-nihan : Deep secret
2. Daam : Net
3. Zeest : Life
4. Azw-e-badan : Part of body
5. Poshak : Attire, dress
6. Darindon : Beasts,  
7. ghol : group

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