Book Review: ‘Muhabbat Kei Paron Mein Ghantian Baandho’ —By Dr Amjad Parvez
This reviewer has been introduced to Hasan Abbasi as a poet through his poetry book ‘Aik Muhabbat Kaafi Hei’ on which this reviewer had also written a book review. It was not known at that time that Hasan could also write prose and that too in the shape of a travelogue, which is more of his autobiography, as well as poetic journey to India. His latest book, titled ‘Muhabbat Kei Paron Mein Ghantian Baandho’ (Hang belles in the feet of love’s wings), a line he took from Amir Suhail’s poem, is referred to here. Hasan says that by temperament he is a romantic person and came across many pretty girls during his travel and he did not find it awkward to mention them as his friendships with them were without any ulterior motives (Page 14). The first chapter of the book gives the details of Hasan’s infatuation of Taj Mahal and the road that led to India. As a child he would look at the road sign for hours on which it was written ‘Maroot, 36 km’. He thought that it was the only passage to the Taj. He lived in Cholistan then. This road passed through a railway station. He would often walk on this passage full of trees, deafening quietness with only sound of snakes crawling on the dry tree leafs. He said ‘Choom Kei Maatha Mera Roz Jagei Koi/ Uth Kei Daikhoon To Nazar Bhi Nahin Aaei Koi/ Paaon Uthetey Hi Chaley Jaatei Hein Jungle Ki Taraf/ Mujh Ko Manoos Si Awaaz Bulaei Koi’ (Somebody should wake him up by kissing his forehead and when awake he would know who that person was! My feet would then automatically tread towards a jungle’s path as though some known voice was calling him!).
When Hasan was grown up, his dream of travelling to Taj Mahal came true. Those were November days; cool sunshine, retiring days, wouldn’t open up, people shying away from cold air. Hasan was disappointed when he witnessed the immigration hall at Wagha, more like an elephant’s den. Hasan’s only respite was a beautiful face peeping from the crowd. He hated the borders that seemed to him like a huge wall. He hated the Indian Army horse riders next to the train as it entered India. Atari was as strange and small as Wagha. He was part of a 22-member delegation from Pakistan travelling to Indian Punjab. Sikh turbans were seen like in seen in a festival. His delegation started walking on foot near a tree where buses were available to take them to Amritsar. The meaning of this city is a pond of life-water. Once this city got its fame due to mass murders in Jalianwala Bagh in 1919 during struggle for independence from the British. It is a sacred city for the Sikhs.
Hasan felt Amritsar was like Lahore. The only difference was ladies driving motorbikes without any hesitation. In the evening the delegation was treated to a night club. Yousuf Baloch, Sameera Shehzad, Bushra Hazeen and two Sikh lads treated each other to their poetry. After a touch and go to Amritsar, the delegation moved to Dhodhakey. There was a camp in a village school. The whole hall shouted Pakistan Zindabad when Pakistani delegation entered. There were delegates from SAARC countries. Seven Afghans staged a walk out. Those were the days of Mujahidin’s government in Afghanistan. Faqir Hussain Saga, more known for his peacock dance, won applause on his performance. Camp housed three hundred female and male delegates. Women were more in number. Their eyes reminded Hasan of a girl who would lay awake in full moon and enticed Hasan said a poem ‘Chand Tum Sei Shikayetein Hein Buhut’ (I have lots of complaints against moon) (Page58). Hasan then enters into giving details of the camp in the village school. This village was more known as being the birthplace of Lala Lajpat Rai! (Chapter titled Dil Ya Shikam?)
In the next chapter Hasan gives details of the activities in the camp, like singing motivational songs, Kathak, Bhangra, classical dances etc. Karnataka’s Parsad entered into friendship with Hasan. They would discuss Islam and Hinduism at length.
To be continued