Like Allama Muhammad Iqbal, Iftikhar Arif has loved the privilege of consuming from each wells: jap and western. And just like Iqbal, he did not allow himself to be overwhelmed via the ideologies of the West. That is a reality that has been noticed by a lot of his commentators, who encompass the bigwigs of literature consisting of Faiz Ahmed Faiz, Parveen Shakir, Mumtaz Mufti, Ahmad Nadeem Qasmi, Syed Zameer Jafri, Annemarie Schimmel, Intizar Husain and others.
Arif’s poetry offers a long way more than what critics have up to now been capable of see. How do his birds and bushes educate us approximately eco-focus? How is the loneliness of his narrators helpful in know-how the psychosocial problems of the postmodern human? What does the metonymy of titli [butterfly] imply? How does his employment of a spiritual framework in his poetry assist him project via hard terrains? How does his poetry reply to oppressive regulations, worldwide aggressions and exploitative economic structures? Human beings with those and other comparable questions will find solutions thru a completely careful analyzing of his poetry, but the query that intrigues me the most is that this: sailing through waters of all kinds, how does Arif anchor his poetry inside the oceanfront of resistance?
Even a brief studying of his poetry shows that Arif harbours traces of resistance through a totally skilful illustration of silencing. Even if the poet does now not talk, while he leaves gaps and aporias, those silences are considered a meaningful form of resistance. In any case, how can the silence of eloquence now not be registered? A careful reading of his poems shows that Arif’s theorisation of silence is patterned in state-of-the-art levels.
Silence can also be eloquent and feature its very own lifecycles in poetry
the first degree on this pattern is when silencing is wanted and woven by using those who detest voice. For example, in ‘Khauf Ke Mausam Mein Likhee Gaee Aik Nazm’ [A Poem Written in the Season of Fear], we see how hunters — who're as blind as their consciences — need to hold brightly chirping branches silent. Those hunters of voices need to encage them to keep away from the hazard they'll pose to their dozing consciences. That is honestly the beginning of the concept of silencing in the mind of the oppressors, and Arif quite simply notes it:
[A hunter, blind as his conscience is blind/ He takes no stock of times of sanctuary/ His aim unfailing, he aspires/ To still the singing voices on the radiant boughs/ Aspires to open every path to tyranny] (Translated by Ralph Russell)
the second stage in the system is when the oppressors release the task of silencing and are honestly able to silence some of people who raise their voice. Arif suggests the ache this degree brings with it by using turning our attention to individuals who ought to come to the rescue of the silenced ones, but voluntarily live silent. ‘Aur Hawa Chup Rahi’ [And the Wind Kept Mum] is a observation on this type of volunteering. This poem depicts stillness enforced so effectively by using the political circumstance that we arrive in a time-space that has quiet all over it. Doves have been displaced, birds robbed of their wings, pastures trampled. The land is plagued. And when all of this turned into going on, the effective wind remained indifferent.
the following stage leads us to a conceptualisation of the oppressors. In this connection, ‘Abul Haul Ke Betay’ [Sons of a Pharaoh] is a poetic verdict that folks that forcibly take over are certainly the pharaohs of the age. Their presence on my own is evidence that every one individuals who are upright ought to now not be tolerated anymore. But, rather than negotiating with the pharaoh of the time, the poet opts for an everlasting go out.
In ‘Aik Rukh’ [A Perspective] Arif theorises sannaata [utter silence] in a completely unique manner. Downplaying all the tools of manage and cruelty, he indicates that every one the colorings and cries of the oppressor are always followed by using a command of silence. This silence, he believes, is a voiced silence. It eats up all the noise of the conflict drums, and registers its protest in a remarkable manner:
[And every time the aftermath — a realm of total silence/ A silence that swallows the terror and horror of victorious drumming/ The pomp and show of the standards/ Silence is that rhythm of defiance, a form of protest] (Translated by way of Brenda Walker)
Now, this is heroising of the silence of testing instances. Because whilst ruthlessness expects everyone to sing odes to it, the ones practising a strategic silence are honestly voicing their disdain for them.
‘Aik Rukh’ facilitates us to examine the irony packed in every other poem by Arif referred to as ‘Aakhri Aadmi Ka Rajz’ (The last guy’s Boast), wherein all of the courtiers and collaborators of the king are satisfied after doing away
with all their unbowed citizens. They see peace in placing all the heads that refused to bow. This, of route, is a critique of the shortsightedness of the courtiers of a king, and this critique is, absolutely, undying in its attraction and relevance.
At every other level, reawakening starts offevolved with a whisper of dislike for silence. The poem ‘Sargoshi’ [Whisper] is an try and convert depression into hope. Even as it admits that the times are wrong and the realities are bitter, the whisper attempts to induce wish and teach braveness to a soul that has absolutely given up.
next to it's far the birth of a preference within the heart of the poet. ‘Pata Nahi Kiyun’ [I Don’t Know Why] sees this age as a sea of tears and a woodland of arrows and, unusually, the poet needs this equipment of silencing to pierce best his eyes and coronary heart! He wishes absolutely everyone else to be spared. This preference for himself taking all the blame, and being on the receiving give up of the stone-throwing people, is also pondered in Arif’s poem ‘Scandal’.
This desire to get the cannon of silencing grew to become directly to oneself is strengthened with the delivery of a query. ‘Aik Sawal’ [A Question] reminds us of our eloquent forefathers, who in no way surrendered to any force of oppression. They presented their lives for truth and their martyrdom have become the most effective voice in support of the oppressed. So, ‘Aik Sawal’ shakes us out of our complacency by using boldly thinking the authenticity of metaphorical blood this is silent in instances that need speakme:
[Enchained, and compromised by common comforts/ I find myself watching — thinking — / If the blood of these forefathers flows in my veins/ Why doesn’t it cry out?] (Translated by using Brenda Walker)
sooner or later, ‘Elan Nama’ is the proclamation of the reawakening of a young guy’s feel of honour, a person who is prepared to provide his existence to uphold the reality:
[Now/ The blood of my heroes and martyrs/ Beckons/ So I have brought my head on a platter/ So I have brought my dwelling for devastation/ I may be a helpless coward/ But I belong to that very same tribe] (Translated via Syeda Saiyidain Hameed)
So, this short evaluate of a few of his poems shows that Iftikhar Arif has recorded silence in tiers: from the theory of its necessity all of the way to its implementation at the a part of the oppressor, and from complete give up to voiced silence to being prepared to speak up despite the fact that it prices one’s existence. These are the ranges via which silence is made efficient.
In her ‘spiral of silence’ idea, German political scientist Elisabeth Noelle-Neumann asserts that human beings generally tend to end up increasingly silent when they consider their views are exceptional from the ones of the general public. But the concept that emerges from Arif’s poetry suggests that innovative and vital minds are not sure to any variety. Their silence has a lifecycle of its very own. Resistant through default, they quickly progress thru it and in the end are equipped to speak their hearts and take the blame for it.
the author is Chair, department of English at international Islamic university, Islamabad. His most latest publication is his Urdu novel Sasa
published in , Books & Authors, March 17th, 2019