Thursday, March 09, 2006

A poet who establishes instant rapport with readers

N.S. Tasneem
Meeting Jaswant Zafar is like having a glimpse of the futuristic vision of life. He is ever in the process of views and reviews. He thinks differently not as a matter of routine but as the result of conviction. He composes poems to establish a rapport with his readers. He then merges his identity with collective consciousness to debunk the traditional attitudes to men and matters. His approach is based on logic and he shuns emotional responses. Emotion he uses as a medium of communication with the thoughtful minds.
Born in 1965 at Mehsampur (Phillaur), he did his pre-engineering in Government College, Ludhiana, and then passed B.E. (Electrical ) in 1989 from G.N. Engineering College, Ludhiana. He joined Punjab State Electricity Board in 1991 and is working as Assistant Executive Engineer at Ludhiana. The poet in him is ever engaged in the mathematical formulation of ideas and he takes the help of numericals while putting across his viewpoint. He considers human relations in accordance with the theory of relativity. For him father minus affection is ‘oldie’, brother minus love is ‘sharer’ and husband minus understanding is ‘man’.
His recently published book of poems, ‘Asin Nanak De Ki Lagde Han’, has created a stir in the Punjabi literary circles. Never before had someone pinpointed so assertively the misuse of the name of Guru Nanak for commercial purposes. Even more than that, he has presented an altogether different profile of the great Guru . Sardar Sobha Singh’s portraits have depicted Guru Nanak contemplating on the Supreme Being in a calm and serene atmosphere. That is the bhagati aspect, whereas the aspect of a crusader against the social, political and religious ills has ever been eclipsed.
This search for the true icon of Guru Nanak has been welcomed among others by Dr Manohar Singh Gill, Chief Election Commissioner of India. He has written in his letter dated May 2, 2001, in no uncertain terms, “Your poem on Guru Nanak is really powerful, and I read it to a number of persons. I must congratulate you on your excellent book of poetry.” This letter followed after a long trunk call from the dignitary. Perhaps the cartoonist in him is helping him a lot in discovering perfection through distortions. The exhibition of his cartoons at PAU in 1997 drew much applause from the viewers. The poet and the cartoonist in him are ever engaged, of course not simultaneously, in drawing a line of demarcation between appearance and reality. This quest reveals the aesthetic aspect of his personality.
Jaswant Zafar is of the view that life is not static but cyclic. An alert mind can view the fleeting glimpses of life as the universe is ever involved in the process of rejection and renewal. Man is a part of the environment in which he lives.
In his poem ‘Bachcha’ (The Child), Zafar has, perhaps unconsciously, alluded to the omnipresence of the spirit of evolution and extension. This is the secret which is manifest everywhere but eludes the comprehension of the over-wrought humanity. There is no tranquillity to enable a person to listen to the music that emanates from the cords of affection that bind ‘each to each’.
The child is not merely a member , it is the pivot of the whole family. Its presence is felt not only in a room but in the whole house. It throbs and vibrates in all the things in every nook and corner.


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