Book Review
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A New Voice in Punjabi Poetry

  Reviewed By Nabeel Anwar Dhakku


Today, when English seems to have a stifling effect on Urdu’s rich literary culture, to create a piece of writing in Punjabi is like completely going against the tide. But Dr Azam Samore’s  debut poetic collection, recently published by Poorab Academy, Islamabad, contains 75 poems and as well as a few couplets in Punjabi. Titled, Tand Tand Tarakla, which
literally means a thorny dress, the book exhibits the imagination of the poet. Samore’s poetry is imbibed with a cultural essence as the metaphors, similes and images have been picked up from rural life in Punjab.

Punjabi poetry is well known for two themes: mysticism and romanticism. To these Samore has added elements of
defiance, optimism, courage and hope. In his poetry, humanity reigns supreme and according to him there is nothing in the world which can defeat the human spirit. Take some verses from the poem, “Sir Dee Haandi” (Head’s Oven):

We have resolved for dawn, Now the sun has to rise, Prostrating, we are kicked So to put our head on shoulders, If Socrates’ seat you desire, Be ready to be boiled in the head’s oven.

Samore argues that if man makes a resolution to accomplish a task no impediment can stop him. For him, to achieve one’s goals, one must think. And this process of thinking means that one has to boil oneself in the oven of the head that is the brain.

If Faiz looked defiant in his Punjabi poem, “Rabba Sacheya” (O! You True God), Samore is so in the poem, “Naam” (Name):

We pour the pearls of our life in the broken bowl of The Bread Giver, To make name and fame is not our task as we vanish without a name, He is called Generous by giving us bread, What name do we fix for ourselves?

Samore embarks on a journey in which there is very little romance in his verses. Rather, the subject hinges itself on the superiority of the human being. According to him man has still a lot more to achieve. In his poem, “Bandeya tairay utay bus aey”, he says:

To pass the camel through the needle, Make the sun rise in the West, Such feats are difficult today, But man, your journey has not ended To built houses on the stars, To throw death on the cremation ground, To exercise command over the air, Man has the ability to do such wonders.

Critics may find several technical faults in Samore’s verses but his poetry has nonetheless injected Punjabi poetry with fresh ideas.

Tand Tand Tarakla
By Dr Azam Samore
Poorab Academy, Islamabad
168pp. Rs200


[The Dawn::  October 16, 2011