A Cosmopolitan poet - Saqi Farooqi
By Professor Dr. Saadat Saeed
Today modern Urdu writers are following the criteria established by their towering predecessors. Thanks to their urban orientation. In terms of ideas, choice of their subjects, diction, symbols, metaphors and sensibility, they have displayed a marked deviation from the rather ethereal connotation of classical Urdu literature, brining it closer to earth. A few of them have broken new grounds about the subjects they have chosen to discuss in their works. By and large their motifs revolve around the industrial progress and its cultural, social, aesthetical and reflect ional implications.
Saqi Farooqi and eminent Urdu poet of Pakistani origins but at present residing in London, stands among the chosen lot contributing towards the shaping of a new poetical taste, doing away with the traditional overtones of mysticism, platonic love and flowering verbosity. The readers of modern Urdu literature are well familiar with his celebrated poetic collections, the living testimonials of his unwavering commitment with the written word and a truthful depiction of his times. His philanthropically verse is carrying out the task of portraying the life under the shadows of big industrial complexes and monolithic skyscrapers, a recurring characteristic of modern cities everywhere.
Saqi's poems with queer titles such as Blood Bank, Flirt, picnic, Bus Stop, cancer, party, communication, Sea Sick, parasite, poster, Dust Bin, Shah Shaib and Sons, Camera, Breast Cancer, party, Sun beach..., Alkubray, Sher Imadad Ali.., Khali Boray Main... Mustana Hijra and Haml Sara have been standing out in the annals of Urdu poetry as they bring to life his pulsating cosmopolitan worldview.
Macolam Bradury, an English critic, has defined the broad lines of modernism in the following words, Modernism, as a highly complex aesthetic tendency, has not been much given to a direct, realistic expression of the social and intellectual forces and conditions underlying it. Clearly, it is an art of a rapidly modernizing world, a world of rapid industrial development, advanced technology, urbanization, secularization and mass forms of social life."
Saqi has taken upon himself the awesome responsibility of producing truthful chronicles of a world changing at kaleidoscopic pace. His iconoclastic, liberal and secular approach is in accordance with the standard set apart for contemporary scientific and social development.
However, he has always refrained from dancing to the tune of go-getting piper of the modern lowbrow society. He is impatient towards the grabbing, gnawing and suffocating norms of the "Brave New World" and would rather replace it with a world more congenial towards the individual idiosyncrasies.
Saqi has contrived a rather innovative paradigm of dramatic monologue with all the ingredients of plot, personae and allegory, a hitherto unheard of genre as far as Urdu poetry was concerned, in order to cast off rigid and stereotype notions and expressions. Saqi has broken his linked with clogged gutters of old rotten ideas and searched new sources of truths. His impassioned desire to make his mark left no stone unturned in search of flowing water of new alive and generative meanings. A bird’s eye view of his latest book "Zinda Pani Sachcha" can suggest that in the poems containing some of his blasphemous ideas, Saqi has eased his ambitions into the garb of verse wondrously. Saqi Writers in the preface to his collection.
All are true
All are true everywhere in towns.
Among these true people,
Still there is a vacancy
For a liar
In whose devilish eyes
Occur only buffoonery and flames of loathe.
Who can spit on the faces of pretentious people can spit
and can abuse them grossly
No doubt Saqi himself has abused them ruthlessly. He is a poet who can say "No, I don't accept your lunatic approach."
Saqi has not let the Living - dead devour him up. His animates poetic configurations acclimatize him to the modern thought and contemporary sensibility. In contrast to the poets proclaiming threadbare ideas his meticulous metaphorical and imagistic style has creatively reflected unconventional themes. The force of his unique sensibility exterminates the mundane experiences nurturing scores of poets newly initiated into the realm of Urdu poetry. Saqi differentiates the real thought coming out of the luminaries of new times from the book is ideas lurking in the darkness of traditional life. In his context, he has brought off valuable scraps of accomplishment and stolen limelight in Urdu speaking world.
Saqi's collected poems entitled "Zinda Pani schcha" present the landmarks of determined odyssey along the convoluted paths of word and meaning. Saqi's Stalwart assertiveness illuminates his analytical spirit and multifarious speculative ideas. His thought provoking simplicity clears him form the blame of romantic verbosity.
His poem "Anwaz Ka Masila" is an example in his regard'
I lie in the forest
Wrapped in a blanket
playing a listening game
who has caged
the tiger's roar
the elephant's trumpet
in the cricket's
(Tr. Frances. W. Pritchet)
Saqi owns the traditions of modern Urdu poetry, established by a great modernist N.M. Rashid. He has written a short poem about his mentor under the title of Noon Meen Rashid. He says:
With the remembrance of a person
Like dew in the dawn
in the domain of body
To the last post of soul
N.M. Rashid has fought a two-pronged war against the progressive propagandists as well as romantic traditionalists. Saqi also breaks into the cosmetic traditionalists. Saqi also breaks into the castles of neo-conventionalists to desecrate their relics. His novel and unusual expression use of modern metaphors and symbols, elegance of phrases, and new global themes in a distinct diction made him a poet of the first water. Saqi believes in the transcendental, creative and impressionistic spirit of literature. He has adopted allegorical, narrative, anecdotal, symbolic and to some extent sage-like style, to express his discontent with the painful situations prevailing in the frenzied cities and listless industrial societies. of the modern world.
Saqi's originality forces him to transform his subjective situations into his poetic experience. He recreates an atmosphere of his own, with the help of his volcanic, palpitating, operational passions. In this context he stand above the withdrawal and escapism, the forte of the majority of his contemporary poets.
Saqi’s unassuming approach towards his personae is refreshing; occasionally spinning hilarious tales about his self-deceiving characters. His high-spirited ideas often compel the reader to burst into sarcastic laughter emerging from humanistic analysis of feudal and capitalistic temptations. Saqi condones nothing, attacking the stagnant fellows passing life lifelessly.
He has focused his attention sympathetically on the merits of new Urdu ghazal and by the dint of his laborious nature has created a niche for himself in this genre, as well; several modern poets were reluctant to use the form of ghazal. Because they were sure that it had already exhausted its possibility ghazals in his comprehensive grand style.
His fiery spirit, captivating emotional capacity and ecstatic affinity for art of poetry forced him to cry out against those writers who have put out their inner fire and are living in commercial Zones. They are putting up the prices of their conscience without any hesitation. They in fact live in isolation and are not bale to express the truths identified by their souls. Their individualistic notions are destroyed by tides. Saqi writs,
for last seven years
You are sitting
on this television
holding your breath
carefree and satisfied and ignorant,
like the humble and tolerant dog of
His master's voice
Beneath your feet
They have raised a tumult
has erupted from the veins of the television
The carpet is wet
couches are swimming
I am going to drown in my own blood
why don't you bark
Saqi Farooqi does not like to go with the stream. The critics who possess a traditional sensibility with a beat of drum refuse to accept his unaccustomed themes and unique craftsmanship. To them his poetry pricks as a thorn because he challenges their literary creeds.
His liberalism is not of that sort which ends in smoke. He could be declared a passionate rebel who off and on takes upon himself the task of demolishing the sacred literary palaces of rigid ideologues.