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Published in the 1-15 Apr 2004 print edition of MG; send me the print edition

Pioneer of new wave poetry
Adil Hayat
By Anwarul Haque

Adil Hayat Recently published book, Sitara-e Sang, a collection of poems by Adil Hayat, one of the emerging Urdu poets, defines the new pragmatic trend in Urdu literature. The book published by Nirali Duniya Publications is different in several ways. Most amazing feature of Hayat’s ghazals (poems) is an enduring thought. One ghazal comprises nine couplets. Few are shorter than three, five or seven couplets. Interestingly, all are united and different too. Even a single couplet tells much and bestows complete meaning and thought without any conjunction.

His poems are a literary revolt. At the same time Hayat maintains the features of innovative poetry, particularly ghazal that subjugates such differences and cohabits a complete thought. That is why critics never approve ghazals and castigate the intricacies of its existence.

Kalimuddin Ahmad, one of the few renowned critics of Urdu poetry, famous for his negative approach says, ‘Ghazal is a semi-barbaric poetical form’. Another critic Azmatullah Khan emphasises that ghazal should be slaughtered without any hesitation. The primary motive of both is that this form of literature augments uncontenuity of thought and narrowness in its contents. Its hollowness depicts in the theme itself. the trend mostly confines to physical attributes of women particularly virgins and a phantom of their beauty that, unfortunately, should not be the only approach of literature. No doubt, poetry contributed a lot in reforming Indian society. Since 1857 Hali, Sir Syed and Shibli adopted the new trend of ghazals written in such a way that they incarnated deep thoughts. Their poetry depicted the sufferings of the time including that of partition; the second disaster of Indian history. That gory event worked as a plague for the society and people found themselves helpless and nowhere. After partition, Urdu poetry summed up the pogroms, which ultimately became history. In the present scenario (since last twenty five years) terrorism in Kashmir has found place in Urdu ghazals. Adil Hayat as a mature writer penned his assessment of the bloody effects of terrorism on Kashmir. An extract of his poetry tells much in this direct conversation —

Ek Maan ne cheekh rakhkha apne mustaqbil ka naam
Ek beta dard ke Kashmir mein gum ho gaya.

(One mother named her future cry. Her son lost in the pain of Kashmir).
Besides this, Hayat vividly defines the communal disharmony in India. His poems continously make us understand the penurious effects of genocide in communal riots. An extract of his recent poetry elaborates this fact this way—

Fizaoon mein har ek sou roshni hai
Na jaane aaj kis ka ghar jala hai.

(There is light everywhere in the skies. Don’t know whose house has been burnt).

Prominent features of Hayat’s ghazals are many. One of the specific characteristics is, each couplet has marvellous continuity. They are like pearls of garland. The ghazal completes its theme in continuum in the same connotation the garland finds its final shape with its pearls. Ahmad Hamesh, editor of an outstanding Urdu magazine of Pakistan describes the features of Hayat’s ghazals in a colloquial description — Most of Adil’s ghazals from top to bottom are a continuum, just like another nazm (Poem) peering oneness of content and thought. Either it is any ghazal of Hayat encores the readers to find him very close to a quantum leap to understand the contents and thoughts.
Another attribute of Hayat’s poetry is a deep feeling of life’s pains with ingenuity.

Nazar aati nahin hai shakl koi
Bas ek saaya khala mein chal raha hai
(No face is seen; only shadow walks in the space). Adil Hayat’s other poetic collections include, collection of nazm for children namely Choti Gudia (2001) and a collection in ghazals is distinct and foolproof.

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