‘Even mud used to cushion my feet’

Adarsh Ajit
Kalhan is ready to open his heart before the Platonic mindset holders. But he is in conflict in deciding whether it is a right choice to put his observation among the analysts of the time. He is aware about the misdeeds of the worldly who wear masks during daytime. They commit criminality during the dark nights and behave as seers in the light. They force the soothing rains to turn into pool of painful tears.
karaan gayi kaar aadam zaath raatas/wadaan as daari az wahraath raatas(Bad deeds during the nights. Rains weep)
For Kalhan ‘mother’ is a tree, extending branches of love. She is an antidote to all poisons. Her love is panacea for all the miseries and difficulties. She is like an umbrella defending her children from the sun and rain. By the blessings of a mother a man reaches to greater heights. Her warmth of love fills the empty treasures of her children)
maj chanis fitratas chanis kamaalas vaati kus/kya lekhan shayar sokhanvar ath khayaalas vaati kus? (Who will compete with you, mother, you are beyond the conception of writers and scholars).
Kalhan has many opponents who obstruct the rays of the sun. His compound and other alcoves are devoid of the shade and cool but he has a vast heart to pardon his adversaries. At the same time he reminds all that the bakers pray for the boon of Lalded and warns that even today the curse of Lal is on the grocers, viz.  her opponents.
wuni ti chi kaandare lali hinzi barkachh lole baraan/az ti chi vanis lali heund lalwun shaaph dapus(The bakers still have the blessing of Lal Ded and the grocers have her continued curse)
There is certainly a crowd which is the sympathizer of Kalhan but for mere show otherwise there are murders at their backs. He predicts that on his demise there will be thousands of mourners but the real lover would be weeping somewhere in a corner.
maeni marnai aawarani peth aasi duniya dilmalool/khaal kaanchah aasi andkun osh vassess dadraayi tai(All faces would be gloomy on my death. A few would be weeping).
Dealing with the catastrophe of displacement in a universal mould, the poet recognizes himself with his roots only.  Identifying the sufferers, he daringly challenges the explorers to find their existential marks, not only in the fundamentals of the nature, but also in the latent deposit of human mind. He speaks out boldly:
dalas volras karakh yeli paaz /labakh ada raaz meonai vuch (When you will de-silt Dal and Wullar, my secret will be unfolded to you). Sensitively recharged Kalhan reaffirms his belief of the presence of his soul in every particle of his lost land and he responsively rebounds:
maeni vajoodach shahid mechi tal katri daffan/yam chaa kaagaz tilima chatith kari saaf dapus(The system of my existence is eternally inscripted and buried unlike that of yours which is like a paper cut into pieces).
The complex conduits of divinity to attain eternity and perfection are just hallucinated attitudes, as the poet, follows these. Astonishingly, by chance, he calls Him once, all of a sudden and he is sanctified and gets all as a boon.
teuth kya cha mangaan zahido vuni chui na deevaanai/alagaph kuni krakh dicham daamaan barith aas(What is the big thing you are asking for and as such you don’t get? I suddenly called him once, and he gave me everything).
For the poet, even the creator is under the executive of nature and murmurs if he had been all potent, all would have been blissful.
rozi hay maa baana teli holkol kihen/pane paanas taam kraalas aasihay(If the potter had everything within his reach, no pot would have become irregular).
Kalhan has experimented his poetic imaginations with the existential reality by including satire and black humour. His outflow is full of rhyme and rhythm. His tendencies vary from deep philosophy to the mundane transactions. Despite being apolitical his words are full of it. He says that no stone has vanished by the human touch. For him there is no saint here. Neither the milestone is here nor the travellers. But he is all for writing poetry without complaints. He dangles between hope and despair.
na chu tas boozith insaaf lekhun/na chu me vonmut fariyaadai kanh
Kalhan is of the opinion that we ourselves blackened our faces and erased every sign of ethos, culture and historical richness. We axed down the chinar’s glory. We denied the shades and invited the wrongs. Questioning his conscience he asks who are responsible for cutting the throats and burning down the structures, living or non-living?
mosooman kame hatte tsane chatte chatte kame deut shahras naara hey/qabristaanan log tameera, basti gov lurapaara hey (Who axed the throats of the innocents? Who constructed the mansions on the crematoriums?).
Kalhan feels the absence of Badshah. In his absence his pages of poetry are of no sense. He alleges that in present era everybody seems to aspire for the end. He had many friends but all fell off in adversity.
draayi maa nata ase rachmate yaar kate/hanga ta manga nata soore gayi gharbaar kate(Friends turned faces in need. The homes turned to ashes)
The title ghazal chashman chashman khaabach kath evokes hope, aspirations, patience, love and concern for others.
rishtan matlab jazbov sate/lolach kath wartaavach kath(Relations have meanings with the emotions, love and the behavior.)
Some couplets of Kalhan outshine transcendentally. They need optimistic insight to unravel the backdrop they point to. History, legacy, black thunders, lightning, fumes and fires, floods, peace, mystic touches, are told in an inimitable style:
mot yus az taam varaanan manz kana-kani gare gare thaavaan oas/sobhai deuthum vati peth katren kyathaan lekh lekh thaavaan oas/yami basti hind chukedar aavare, yami shahrek ghaatel khaamosh/dek sai chandd dith sothi peth paagal vethi kun kyathaam haavaan oas (The eccentric, who, was chiselling the stones in the barren lands, was today seen writing on the pebbles/earthen pieces in the early morning. The concerned of this habitation are busy in their selves and the clever of this city have maintained silence. Striking his forehead, the mad man, was showing something towards Jhelum from the embankment).
Beauteous spring, blooming buds, multicolours, orioles, nightingales, gardens and crematoriums show the capacity of the poet to write and copy the nature. It also divulges that the poet is completely sunk with the pastoral imaginations.
pareshaan poshinoolan dil parehshaan baaghachee mehfil/rangaarang poshi thal baagas khasaan bubraayi sontas manz
Critic and poet Makhan Lal Kanwal has written a detailed paper on the poetry of Kalhan and opines that the poet is the representative of our tomorrow.


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