MITHI: Shaikh Ayaz was a true lover of the culture, customs, traditions and landscapes of Thar. His verses and prose on the desert region is a glaring example of his love for and deep attachment to Thar.

This was stated by Prof Mohammad Hingorjo at the launch of Jaag ja bhaag ahyoon preen (we are harbingers of awakening), a book authored by Prof Noor Ahmed Janjhi on the poetic and prose work of eminent Sindhi poet Shaikh Ayaz.

An impressive ceremony was organised by the Ghulam Mohammad Janjhi Foundation at Gaddi Bhit in Mithi town for the launch.

Prof Hingorjo appreciated that Janjhi had written one more book on Ayaz’s works after extensive research and hard work. He described the book as a great addition to the Sindhi literature and a New Year gift for those who loved Thar and Ayaz’s poetry.

Prof Janjhi said that as per the tradition of the foundation to bring out a book on the eve of every new year, it was his third book on the iconic poet of Sindhi literature. Ayaz contributed to the Sindhi literature so profusely that no other writer or poet could match him in more than a century, he said.

Shaikh Ayaz had started writing on Thar at a time when the region was little known even to the people of Sindh let alone rest of the country, he said, adding that Ayaz after Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai was the second poet who explored various aspects of Thar region. He said he had included 24 essays written on Ayaz’s poetry and prose in his book and hoped that lovers and admirers of the late poet and his works would greatly benefit from the book.

He said Ayaz, besides writing dozens of books in Sindhi, translated Shah Jo Risalo in Urdu and also authored some books in Urdu. “But he finally found solace and comfort in writing in his mother tongue and produced many masterpieces for the coming generations,” he added.

He said Ayaz was true that he was the poet and writer of future generations, adding that he (Ayaz) kept on writing despite the severe criticism resorted to by those who did not understand the message he succeeded to spread across the globe.

“His prose and poetry on Thar were of great inspiration for Thari writers, singers and students of literature; he immortalised the mesmerising beauty of sandy dunes and hilltops of Karoonjhar,” he said.

Professor Abdul Wahid Samoo said that some of verses of Ayaz resembled to those of John Keats, adding that there were different aspects of hope and hopelessness in his works.

He praised the efforts of Janhji for his continuous contribution on Ayaz’s poetry and bringing out a fantastic and very informative book every year.

Shankar Baghi said Ayaz was the harbinger of a new dawn and an invalu­able asset of Sindhi literature.

Others who also spoke at the ceremony included Dileep Doshi Lohano, Akash Hamirani, Ashok Khamosh and Sikander Ali Halepoto.

Singers Karim Fakeer, Hero Lohar and others enthralled the audience at the programme that continued into the night.

A message of noted critic and writer Gul Mohammad Rind was read out by Manzoor Ahmed Janjhi. He said Prof Noor Janjhi’s recent compilation of articles on modern poet laureate of Sindh, Shaikh Ayaz, was in continuation of his passionate foray into the realm of critical theory ranging from classical to modern times.

Despite having high standard, this book also appeared comprehensible to ordinary people. Ayaz has been an abiding inspiration for the last two generations of literary masses and classes, but was mostly venerated by nationalists, rationalist and radical socialists who treated him with awe and wonder.

Janjhi surprisingly fell into none of those generic compartments, being a spiritualist and aesthete of par excellence.

Published in Dawn, January 2nd, 2019

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