Er. Vinod Kumar
The legendary Kashmiri poet Sh. J.N. Sagar once said
” chhe jazban te ehsaasnei din’y pyevaan zev
pazar boz yee chhui ha?sili zinde’ga’nee”
(One has to give voice to his emotions and feelings
In fact this is the biggest achievement of life)
Today we are living in 21st century. We often talk about freedom of expression. It looks as a new concept. But in reality it is not new. If we look back into the past history, we find that about 700 years ago the great Shiva Yogini of Kashmir, Lalleshwari (Lal Ded) has deliberated upon freedom of expression in her vaakhs (verses).
Satish Kaul Safeer popularly known as Satish Safeer has come up with the printed form of his expressions under the book title ” Burning Breeze “. It is a collection of his English poems. Though Satish Ji is writing from quite a long time, but it took him almost two decades to document his creative pieces in the form of a book. Anyway better late than never.
The book “Burning Breeze” is a beautfully designed laminated paperback edition of 110 pages. It’s year of publication is 2023 and is priced at Rs. 250. The book is dedicated to late H.N. Tiku, Founder President “Samskar”, a non-profit social help organisation, whom the author considers as his guide and mentor. The index page of the book shows a list of 85 poems. But to the surprise of the reader there are only 82 poems in the book. The last three poems listed in the index page namely “Cross Road”, “Passionate Connect” and “Far Away Garlands” are nowhere visible in the book.
The foreword of the book has been written by R.L. Shant who describes the author as a person with a sensitive mind and a throbbing pen and is open to accept literary influences across other languages.
In the preface of the book Satish Ji gives details about his family background, the literary interests of his family and how he entered into the journey of writing, though being a person from different profession of agricultural science. Though Satish Ji started writing during his student life, but the forced mass exodus of 1990 shaped his pen.
In this book Satish Ji has written prems on love, nature, environment and nostalgia. Like most of his contemporaries, he has written most of the poems keeping the exile consciousness alive.
An exiled poet from Czechoslovakia, Broniskava Volkova, has said.
” When people are forced into exile, they weep ‘over what has been lost, over what was and what will be, and mostly over what won’t ever be’. To them every memory becomes sharp as a knife, and their life turns into ‘ life in the middle of nowhere’ ” Satish Safeer’s poems dramatise all these aspects of exile in ample measure. His expression of the circumstances permeates the texture of most of his poems in the book.
Khalil Gibran, the famous Lebanese poet once said
“A poet is like a dethroned king sitting on the debris of his demolished palace and trying to make an image of his lost kingdom out of the ashes.”
In the poem under title ‘My Vale’ Satish Ji writes
“How soothing it was there
and how I languish here.
Oh! How I long to be in my vale
though it has become but a sordid tale”.
The poem “Burning Breeze’ is the title poem of the book. Following lines of the poem draw attention
” Yet how can we cull
our longing and our agony
of separation from
our ancestral abode
our pound of mother lode
that our valley was for us
changed though we our dress.
Our brows developed permanent crease
As we inhale
this burning breeze,
a piece loving tribe
that lost it’s ease.”
In some poems of the book Satish Ji has touched the subject of love. These poems are ‘O! Glassy Heart’, ‘Torrents’ and ‘Ever Glowing Amber’. The poet has beautifully described nature through some poems in the book. These poems are ‘Setting Sun’ , and ‘A Long Lease’
Jean Paul Sartre, a renowned French philosopher, playwright, novelist and literary critic argues that literature has a social and political dimension. He suggests that literature is a way of engaging with society and of challenging the status quo. By presenting alternative visions of the world, literature has the power to inspire change and promote social progress.
The poet has shown his concern for the protection of environment. Such feelings are expressed in the poems ‘Cycle of Rain’, and ‘God’s Gift-Environment’.
The poet also gives indication to the readers about the ultimate reality of life in the poem titled ‘Death Kill’.
On the whole Satish Safeer has tried to cover nostalgia, exile consciousness, nature, environment, love, sweet and sour memories, etc. in his maiden book. His free verse is impressive and clear in the expression of emotional equivalents.
As has been pointed out in the foreword of the book, Satish Ji tries to be faithful to metre and rhyming words, though now we are living in the world of free-verse poems in almost all languages. Today the modern reader focuses on the weightage of words in the meaningful verses rather than meter and rhyming patterns. At some places the rhyming attempts of the poet under discussion seem to be a result of overworking and is conjured up. As a result some of the poems lose sheen because of this overworking. The basic thought in a few poems of the book has been waylaid in a forced search for sounding similarity.
Just like his guide and mentor, Late H.N. Tiku, one can find the frequent use of complex vocabulary in most of the poems of Satish Ji. No doubt there was a period of using tough complex words in the past literature. But now the trend has changed. Such words are avoided now as they also hamper the flow of the poetry and lack of interest of the reader. In this world of computer laptops, smart phones, Artificial intelligence, ChatGPT, social media and T-20 cricket, if we want to attract our young generation towards literature, we have to use simple vocabulary in our prose and poetry. This is applicable to all contemporary poets and writers. Because now a literature is not a worth literature if it requires frequent use of dictionary or google.
Another scope of improvement for the book in future editions is the proper and ample use of punctuation marks as scarcity of the same is observed while reading the book. Also proper care is to be taken to start a particular line in the poem with an upper case or a lower case alphabet.
The contents of the book indicate that the poet has an unsatiable thirst for life and nature. He treads the creative pieces telling the story directly.
Overall the poetry collection ‘Burning Breeze’ is worth reading for the lovers of English poetry. This book can be considered as another drop in the ocean of ‘Literature in Exile’ post 1990. This is Satish Ji’s maiden publication. It is worthwhile to mention that he tries his hand in writing poetry and prose in Hindi, Urdu and Kashmiri too. But such writings are yet to come in the market in published form. It is hoped that in future too Satish Ji shall enthrall the readers with more meaningful thoughts and verses. This paper on “Burning Breeze’ is concluded with the couplet of legendary Kashmiri poet Arzan Dev Majboor “dale’ky pamposh da’dimit syekilyenei manz
Karaan naaras andar chhee phwolnukui sanz”
(The lotus of Dal Lake have burned in the heat of deserts.
They are preparing to rebloom in the fire)