PESHAWAR: Speakers at a commemorative ceremony paid rich tribute to reputed Pakistani English poet late Prof Daud Kamal for his literary services.
The Department of English, University of Peshawar (UoP), commemorated the 27th death anniversary of Prof Kamal here on Friday. He was former teacher and chairman of UoP’s Department of English. Hailing from Abbottabad, Prof Kamal was born in 1935 and educated at Cambridge University, UK. He started composing poetry in his early twenties.
He was a recipient of three gold medals for international English poetry contest. Prof Kamal had rendered Urdu poets Ghalib and Faiz’s selected poems into English, and published his own poetry volumes – ‘Remote Beginnings, ‘Compass of love and other poems’, and ‘Recognitions’ during his lifetime. His works have been posthumously collected and published under the titles: ‘River Mist’, ‘Before the Carnations Wither’ and ‘ A Selection of Verses.’
“I really stand awestruck as it was a wonderful event. I think, we should remember other literary figures too who have rendered invaluable contributions and scaled international repute through their talent and farsightedness. Late Daud Kamal was a gem of man and was, therefore, a great pride for Pakistan,” Shaista Jabeen, a student of English literature at the department, told Dawn. She, however, regretted that not a single title of late Kamal’s poetry was available in the local market.
Remembered as a fine English poet, dedicated teacher
Department of English chairman Dr Nasir Jamal Khattak delivered a thought-provoking paper on the life and literary contributions of the late poet. His talk drew smiles as well as tears while sharing his fond memories about Prof Kamal. Mr Khattak was a student of Prof Kamal in 1986. “I had intended to do my doctorate thesis on the poems of Prof Kamal, but unfortunately, the size of his poetry was not enough to qualify for my PhD thesis. I have learnt everything from Prof Kamal he did. Learning was seeping through his personality,” he narrated.
Poet and ex-student of Prof Kamal, Prof Dilshad while speaking as guest of honour on the occasion said that late Daud Kamal belonged to a galaxy of university teachers who besides teaching also inspired their students. “Prof Kamal was a fine English poet, a thorough gentleman and dedicated teacher. He had a nice sense of reading and admiring English poetry,” he recalled. He said Prof Kamal’s poetry was pregnant with images and modern sensibilities. “Prof Kamal was in fact a sad man, but he never let others know it. Grief finds a fine expression in his verses. His contribution to English poetry and universal thought at large was superb,” Mr Dilshad observed.
Prof Rubina Rehman said that once Prof Kamal took her in his car to a live theatre in Edwardes College, Peshawar, in 1986 where a Shakespeare’s play ‘Twelfth Night’ was staged. “Being his student was a wonderful experience. The department of English was really like a family for us with Prof Kamal. His taste was sharp while his poetic images were reflective of refined vision. He was a great lover of books. He would say, books travel through hands to souls of readers,” Mrs Rehman shared.
Two young teachers at the Department of English, Sameera Abbas and Fatima Khaliq, also spoke at the event. Students, senior teachers and fans of Prof Kamal attended the function. The late poet had breathed his last in the US on Dec 5, 1987. He was buried in the UoP’s graveyard in front of the Pashto academy.
Published in Dawn December 6th , 2014