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OPINION

Shad Saeb – my mood-lifter

His poetry, his humour and his naughty turn of phrase
AJAZ UL HAQUE
Srinagar | Posted : Aug 13 2017 1:33AM | Updated: Aug 12 2017 11:33PM
Shad Saeb – my mood-lifter
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Calling him Shad Saeb makes it more intimate than Prof. Shad which is more formal and removed. A noted poet and historian of the state and a well known personality of Bijbehara, Prof. Ghulam Muhammad Shad left us last Sunday. He was my friend's father whose company I relished more than my friend's. I remember him for three things. His lucid poetry (which you understand without a tutor), his wicked sense of humour (which tickles your fun cord) and his impish turn of phrase (which was typical of a teenage boy that made him stay young for ever).

I knew him for his nonchalant approach to some serious questions regarding fate and existence. Shad Saeb talked about God as if God was his neighbour next door or his colleague in the college.  `You must pray for something that happens without praying for and that prayer is accepted'. He once told me and I asked how? `Look my son, God grants you the wish which otherwise also stands granted. Like this. Pray O Lord, it's Sunday today, may it be Monday tomorrow. Then say AAMEEN. He accepts your prayers'. It summed up the philosophy of freewill and determination for me. It just happens by itself and sometimes we credit our creator for no fault of His. Shad Saeb was a firm believer as a Muslim, but as a freethinker, his attitude was closer to life and – to a degree – easy-going. 

Once I asked him about the well-being of someone whom he had not seen for so long. I said `kyahaz su cha waray' (is he fine?). With an unusual frown of displeasure on his face, he replied `ahnu me cha patah' (how do I know). I rather curiously asked why? He said `I prefer that Iblees who shows up than the Khizr who hides himself. You can at least snub a devil (if he is visible), but you can't do a damn to an angel who never shows his face', Shad Saeb said and I took home a lesson. Love the immediate (no matter how bad) and not the distant (no matter how good).

Don't know how scholars of literature may evaluate him, but my line is too straight and too ordinary. Shad Saeb had a natural revulsion for one of the most desirable traits of the modern society. Sycophancy. Averse to the corridors of power, he maintained the dignity of a real poet who preferred an honoured anonymity to a cheap fame. He took on the powers that be and his poetry was a protest against all forms of authority and exploitation. Judging by the standards of literary criticism, his poetry may not be multi-layered, but to read him is a pure joy. It is the song of a human heart sung in a heart-set metre, prosody, rhythm and rhyme. He had an uncanny way of narrating parables, anecdotes, and historical events through poetry. Leave your mind, heart is the route though which you approach his poetry.  

Shad Saeb is one of my perennial reads who I take a dip into. He is my mood-lifter. May His Soul Rest In Peace. AAMEEN. May it be Monday tomorrow. AAMEEN.