The range of topics reflects human being, human thought, human wisdom and human position in the vast context of nature. All of that intellectual process ignites the thought process advancing towards the salvation of humanity
By Noor Ahmed Janjhi
Human thought is blessed with creativity. The creativity traces the untouched vistas of nature and world of thought. The world of thought is full of thoughtfulness, logic, reason, wisdom and much more. It enables humans to address the framework of ‘frame of reference’ or ‘time and space’. All of the human activation, proactivity, reaction and initiation aim at to come it over the natural frame of reference. Thinking beyond time and space enabled scientists to come with discoveries and inventions, artists to create beyond to all the yardsticks of time measurement. Poetry has remained a beautiful vehicle of thought and language. Great poets of the globe rule the roost and everyone quotes them to advance his or her argument. It is the utility of poetry that has transformed beautiful human ideas and gave a great treasure trove of information to world. Besides transformation of the information and human experience, the poetry has enables humans to ignite and human thought process.
Considering the utility of poetry in the society, Prof Dr. Anjum Altaf, a well-known educationist, along with Amit Basole has written a thought provoking book under the title of ‘Thinking with Ghalib’ especially for new generation. The authors have explained the couplets of Mirza Ghalib in a very innovative way so as the thought may be presented with contemporary compatibility. The book presents a pretty vase of thoughts full of fragrance and colorfulness and variety. The topics read as follows:
Asking Questions; Thinking for Oneself; Assessing Leaders; Choosing Destinations; The Modality of Learning; Experimentation; Appearances and Reality; Fatalism; Being Trapped; Becoming Human; The ‘Other’; Relationships; Justice; The Screams of Silence; Attachments; Governance; Choice; Myopia; Law and Morality; Accountability; Identity; Dignity; Paradise; Who Goes to Heaven; Principles; Primordial Ties; Finding God; Faith and Faithfulness; The Test of Faith and Humanism.
The range of topics reflects human being, human thought, human wisdom and human position in the vast context of nature. The above cited thirty topics offer a bunch of ideas touching human life through the window of Ghalbian thought. The objective of the book, in the words of authors, is to invite young generation to think with Ghalib. However, it is too difficult to think with any other person because of natural diversity. The authors want that people should follow the ideas of Ghalib as the authors have had inspiration from the thought of Stanley Fisa about Milton – “Milton’s poetry is good to think with”. It is really interesting to invite the audience to think it over, ponder on the ideas and probe creatively to get the newer ideas and unique presentations of thought. All of that intellectual process ignites the thought process advancing towards the salvation of humanity. It is creativity of human thought that has paved the way for development of human thought and wisdom.
All of the topics given in form of lessons need to be discussed but I would like to share a few of them. It starts with the questioning or probing with curiosity. The curiosity of Ghalib seeks variety of answers without any repetition or similarity. Knowing the answers of emerging questions has been a motive of the learners of nature. The creative minds avoid repetition as it creates boredom among them. Ghalib, in spite of all critical thoughts on his poetry, is a unique poet of the subcontinent as says about himself:
هم تجهي ولي سمجهتي جو نه باده خوار هوتا
He was really a poet of ‘present’ that covers all the divisions of time in past……. present and future….made by human being because time is the only present and the other connotations are deficiencies of measurement of time. The times is in never ending succession so it is only past and all the Sufis have declared with ‘today’ tag in their poetic presentations as Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai say:
آديسي اڄ مر ، سُڀان مرندو سڀڪو
(Die today, O aadesi, everyone will die tomorrow otherwise)
Sufi Sadiq Faqir Soomro also describes it in his poetry as follows:
جيڪي آهي اڄ ، سُڀان ناه صديق چئي
(All is today nothing is tomorrow, says Siddiuqe)
Ghalib has been widely recognized as poet of romance and longing. He is also poet of wisdom and critical thinking.
He moves on, leaving the clichéd thought. He avoids unnecessary following. In a couplet he says:
لازم نهين که هم خضر کي پيروي کرين
مانا که اک بزرگ همين مسفر ملي
(It is not necessary that we follow in the footsteps of Khizr We consider that we have a venerable elder as a fellow-traveller….Translation by Anjum Altaf)
There is following in nature. However, blind following is against the very dynamism of nature. Nature bestows us with emerging thoughts. The thoughts may be wrong or right. Humans are bestowed with the capacity of ‘choice’ and they follow it to choose relatively right things.
Wisdom is universal like human thought. The authors want contextual familiarity of local realities with the universality of wisdom. Ghalib does want to go to but has not been able to seek a guide he has envisioned. So he goes along some distance with every swift walker. He thinks heart as a mirror and explanation of the mirror is like the addressing an image by a parrot. He says:
از مهر تابه ذره ودل هي آئينه
طوطي کوشش جهت سي مقابل هي آئينه
(From sun to sand-grain all are hearts and the heart is a mirror. The parrot is confronted from all six directions by a mirror…Translation by Anjum Altaf)
The authors, describing the different dimensions of the Ghalibian thought, use word ‘modernity’ to create a compatibility, otherwise there is no concept of ‘absolute modernity’. The concepts again contradict with the unending succession of time. Mirza Ghalib has tried to cross over the shackles of time and space and wants to watch the business of world beyond it in shape of a faqir. He does not to be part of the whole spectacle. It is the pivotal footing that gives human being the edge to think freely. He says:
بنا کرفقيرون کان هم بهيس غالب
تماشائي اهل کرم ديکهتي هين
(Having put on the guise of faqirs, Ghalib, we observe the spectacle of generous people….Translation by Anjum Altaf)
The presentation of the content is very attractive and well organized. Hope it will attract the readers and may help them to understand the Ghalib and his ideas to advance free and wise thought process in the context of contemporary contextuality.