The book ‘The Exiled Memories’ contains beautiful and profoundly inspiring poetry for the new generation and those who love poetry.
Prof. Lal Bakhsh Jiskani
Ayaz Gul is a distinguished poet of love, romance, and resistance; a great friend of Sindh and the most popular and distinctive poet of creative thoughts. He has composed all kinds of poetic genres which include Ghazal, Vaaees, Hiko and Bait. Everything that he has created encompasses artistic purpose instead of mere text. Ayaz has an amazing gift of choosing the most beautiful words and creating a smooth flowing river of melodious poetry- this gift is not a function of his poetic skills but can be attributed to his inborn artistically powerful imagination and perspective.
Born in Sukkur, a city of Sindh situated on the bank of river Indus, Ayaz Gul did Masters in Sindhi Literature at Shah Abdul Latif University, Khairpur and won Chancellor’s Gold Medal in 1982. He served there as a professor and the head of Sindhi department and retired from the same University. He is a progressive and a meta-modernist poet and also an author of seven books in poetry. He received the President’s award in 2022 for his contribution and service to Sindhi language, prose, and poetry.
Ayaz Gul’s poetry has been translated into English, Urdu, Punjabi and Hindi languages. His soul stirring poems and Ghazals have been sung by a number of eminent singers and he has received 50 gold medal awards, won applauds, honor and laurel.
‘The Exiled Memories’ – the book under review, contains beautiful and profoundly inspiring poetry for the new generation and those who love poetry. While going through the book, it appears that the poet’s mind speaks for freedom of speech and expression, and he feels unrest and suffocation due to restrictions. He says:
On the book of memories
And on the dreams entire
It is dust all over!
Weapons shine and
On pen and books
It is dust all over!
Ayaz Gul’s mind also agitates when he observes that the river Indus has turned into a desert due to shortage of water, because of which the crops are destroyed completely and people crave for a drop of water. Sindh needs water, cried the poet!
O, folks of Sindh!
Seems there no care
Or anxiety for future
Passes your present state
Always in no state
O, folks of Sindh!
This wretched Sindh
Does need water!!
The poet seems worried, finds an obstacle in the journey of light in the sleepy town. The candle faces storm, the retrogressive forces put hurdles. The enlightened poet finds golden light crystal clear at the end of the tunnel, but it needed courage, deep commitment and long struggle in the town of morons!
‘T is not easy
Pain is to be faced for few hours; coming out of the dark room
Into a clear does let
The dazzle reigning a while,
Nothing seems distinct,
Light pricks the thorns!
To perceive the golden light clear
And be happy
The poet is in long waiting, gloomy for her glimpses as someone has told him “She passes by this way”. He kept vigil for years. What a dream the poet has woven! He seems all happy to see her but he’s always unlucky as she says to him, “I don’t know you!” She remarked smilingly and his dreams shattered instantly like a castle in the sand which the poet had built long ago. So why can the poet feel unbounded happiness in the poem, the Joy! Because he had a glimpse of her!!
In the poem, “Without You” the poet shed light on the apt poverty of underprivileged people and collective pain of common masses. He seems extremely happy in reunion with friend and feels like festival of Holy, the event of colors and joy, the distinction without caste, color and religion.
This life without you seems like a
Torn shirt of a low-caste woman
Just few whiles with you and
It looks like Holy everywhere.
Holy Hindu festival of colors and joy.
Ayaz Gul had started composing verse in his teenage. He particularly focused on Ghazal which strictly followed social, cultural and political backdrop as evident in Bhittai’s poetry. His poetry is weaved on traditional Sindhian roots and not Persian traditions in all genres.
This book was delayed for 14-15 years and published in 2021, the inordinate delay is better known to the author. Two legendary poets and one progressive scholar of the century had written foreword. Great scholar Muhammad Ibrahim Joyo said in foreword, “To me the work invites the esteemed reader to approach it faithfully and read and appropriate its innate goodness, beauty, as it richly deserves.” Shaikh Ayaz, a modern poet of Sindh, said in the preface, “Ayaz Gul’s poetry emerges from native roots; it has a unique fragrance like the blossoms of Neem tree. His name is related to my name as it blossomed on a branch of my poetry. I hope, in future, he shall spread his fragrance far and wide, and I would truly be proud of the similarity in name.” That’s indeed an honor for the poet.
While Tanveer Abbasi, a secular Sufi, scholar poet said in the preface, “His poetry will shine like moon, Ghazals, Vaaees, Verses, Lyrics, Hiko will remain an enviable heritage of Sindhi poetry.”
The poet loves freedom like the first kiss of beloved. In a poem ‘Arms of Gallows’ he says: He went into the arms of gallows as he embraced the memory of beloved; indeed, an incredible thought. The poet cherishes light, the eternal force which death can never kill. Ayaz Gul is the brave, fearless, uncompromising, placid, original, romantic and undeterred voice of Sindh. People love Ayaz Gul immensely. His simply beautiful poetry will remain like fragrance of roses and jasmine in the air of Sindh and Hind for a long time to come.
Prof. Lal Bakhsh Jiskani is a scholar, writer, social scientist, and former director of Pakistan Studies Centre, University of Sindh. He is a bilingual writer and has authored seven books in Sindhi and English.
[The book was published by Poppat Publishing House, Khairpur Sindh in 2021]