Amritsar, February 7
Anisur Rehman, Rekhta Foundation Senior Advisor, Writer and Translator, who was formerly Professor and Head of English at Jamia Millia Islamia University, in an online session hosted by Majha House, talked about his latest compilation of ghazals in his book ‘Hazaron Khwahishen Aisi’.
Many respected American poets like Adrian Rich embraced this genre and it was so fascinating to others that many popular Australian poets like Judith Wright also wrote ghazals. The challenge was to limit the thought to just two lines – the verse. But their initial efforts were technically not perfect, so they started to learn the shape of the ghazal, its rhythm, the kafiya, the madiha and so on. — Anisur Rehman, Senior Advisor, Rekhta
Rehman, who has many books to his credit and is a bilingual poet, said his book traces the history and journey of the ghazals over the years. The conversation was moderated by Dr. Gurupdesh Singh, former English teacher, GNDU, Amritsar.
Talking about the popularity of ghazal across borders since the genre’s inception in the 6th century, Dr. Gurupdesh pointed out that the genre was popular not only in Arabia, Persia or Turkey, but also in Europe.
Anisur explained, “Many respected American poets like Adrian Rich embraced this genre and it was so fascinating to others that many popular Australian poets like Judith Wright also wrote ghazals. The challenge was to limit the thought to just two lines – the verse. But their initial efforts were technically not perfect, so they started to learn the form of the ghazal, its rhythm, the kafiya, the madiha and so on.
Ghazal, he added, also served different purposes. “Urdu ghazal draws you to it because of its smoothness and rhythm. It is a mistake to believe that the ghazals speak only of the beauty of the beloved, and speak eloquently about hair and face. Urdu ghazals have also been the vehicle for protest and have served many different purposes,” he said.
Talking about the genesis of the book, Anisur said he had the chance to learn four languages: Hindi, English, Urdu and Arabic. “I could read ghazals in their original language and so I started my affair with ghazals in different languages. This case resulted in this book, which is a labor of love and took me years to be completed,” Anirur explained.
He also spoke at length about how he translated the ghazals keeping rhythm, syllables and kafiya, and how he chose 65 poets out of thousands, who have graced the ghazal from the 16th century to the present day. . “The secret was to find a key word in the original and introduce that key word or refrain into the translation, while retaining the syllable pattern, rhyme and rhythm of the original. I had to see which poets are poets of ghazals or nazms.For this I had to leave out popular poets such as Sahir and include Majrooh Sultanpuri.