Thursday, March 09, 2006

Attempt to free Nanak from Sobha Singh's portraits

Using the catchy ad jargon as an instrument of satire poet Jaswant Zafar has attempted to pull Guru Nanak out of the portraits of Sobha Singh where he had acquired "surkhi Tipsi honth, mulayam Gemini per, koole Barbie hath, pegumbri vastran da Ariel nikhar".His book, Asi Nanak de ki lagday haan has already celebrated its third edition and has given reason for readers to start buying Punjabi poetry with fresh enthusiasm. Critics and poets see this anthology of poetry as a tribute to the "real Nanak who had challenged the establishment".
The poet in his poem Nanak sees him thus: "Penday di dhoor naal lathpath pinjanian, tirkeean addiyan, nehri naal ulji khushk dari, looan, barfan di jhambi pakror chamri."( Calves covered with the dust of long journeys, cracked heels, beard having the imprint of dust storms, skin dried up by the desert winds and icy breezes).On the other hand is the "sun-silky shafaf dahri, gol-matol gorian gulabi gallan-Fair and Lovely," of Sobha Singh.
In another poem of this anthology, Gurmukh Singh, the poet weaves a satire on the way Nanak's name has been misappropriated by commerce.He makes fun of the way his name has been used for finance companies, floor mills and filling stations.
Yet another poem attempts to expose the manner in which Bhai Ghanaya's image of "selfless service for humanity" has been distorted by present-day organizations named after him.
The poet reminds us that a rich heritage in social perspective has been lost. Guru Nanak's philosophy and his real message to mankind have been forgotten. His was a revolutionary role. He challenged the establishment. He challenged the ritualism that had entered religion and our day-today lives. The real Nanak does not suit the elite society. He is revolutionary. So they created the Nanak of Sobha Singh. He has been most aptly satirised. This new perspective from the young poet is a tribute to the Sikh Master on the occasion of his birth anniversary," said Dr Sarabjit Singh, literary critic.
The cover has a painting of Arpita Singh and the book has been published by Chetna Parkashan, Ludhiana.