Thursday, March 09, 2006

Jaswant Zafar: a ‘technocrat’ poet, cartoonist

Kaun bachya hai, secular aaj kal
Yaar? Akhbar? Sarkar? Parchar?
Ke Hatiyar?
Secular te lagde ne sirf
Rukh, Dukh, Sukh, Bukh
te jan Kukh’’
wrote Jaswant Singh Zafar during his student days at local Guru Nanak College of Engineering. During that time terrorism was at its peak and the year was 1985. The anguished youngster,protested against the political situation it came out in the form of poetry. Jaswant’s first book of anthology ‘Do Sahan Vichkar’ was published in 1993.
. He is an Assistant Executive Engineer with the PSEB and is presently posted in Ludhiana. He says, ‘‘I strongly disagree with those poets that say that writing is a full-time job. But a writer cannot get varied experiences unless he is into some profession. Guru Nanak Dev Ji, Bhagat Ravi Das created beautiful poetry. Their sole aim was not to write poems but follow their noble mission. Poetry came from them as they had rich experiences following their mission. It is only when the writer has rich experiences that he can write rich, varied and meaningful poetry’’.
Jaswant is good at drawing too.He made good use of it by being a political cartoonist of some Punjabi journals.
But a year ago, Zafar’s thought process changed, he says, ‘‘We always criticise people. By lampooning the politicians, I made my readers happy, but that is it. It did not bring in any political change. Haven’t we seen degradation in our political, social and all other systems? Now-a-days every one’s bete noire is Ravinder Sidhu. Everyone is happy criticising him. That set me thinking. ‘‘There is a Ravi Sidhu that is omnipresent in amongst all of us./We have to identify our own Ravi Sidhu inside us and kill him. Everybody himself should be the first person to be criticised by himself.’’
Sambhav an NGO, that aims to improve environment and clean Ludhiana by 2010 has inspired Zafar to join them. His second anthology of poems titled ‘Asi Nanak de ki lagde haan’ focuses on making wrong use of ideologies.
The new House of Punjabi Sahitya Akademi, has elected him the literary and cultural secretary. Most of the writers criticise modern music and writings. To combat this Zafar has organised Sufi singing, recitation of Sufi poetry and to pursue healthy trends in Punjabi poetry every first Satureday of the month.


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