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Remembering Atta Shad

February 11, 2011


FEBRUARY 13 is the 15th death anniversary of Atta Shad, the celebrated Balochi and Urdu poet.

Born in November 1939 in Singani Sar, Turbat, Atta Shad emerged on the scene of Urdu literature in the late 1950s when Urdu literature had almost marked the end of the Progressive Movement.

However, it left an impact on Urdu literature. Shad started his Urdu poetry under the tutelage of Faiz Ahmad Faiz but soon felt the need to evolve his own style.

His unique style gave him a prominent place in the literary quarters. Even critics like Prof. Mujtaba Hussain, Dr Wazir Agha, Dr Farooq Ahmed and Dr Farman Fatehpuri have acknowledged his vast imagination. His diction was fresh as compared to his other contemporaries.

He abandoned outdated expressions and metaphors that had long been associated with Urdu ‘ghazal’ from the days of Wali Dakkani to Hasrat Mohani.

In Balochi literature, while stalwarts like Mir Ghul Khan Naseer and Azad Jamaldini drew inspirations from the Progressive Movement, Atta Shad neither followed the Persianised form of ‘ghazal’ nor owned the oratorical style of Gul Khan or Jamaldini. He forged a different form for himself.

He discovered a new poetic language for his poetry. He skillfully projected the miseries of his people in his verses. In versifying the landscape, he avoided mentioning the experiences of a poet, focusing more on the beauty of it all.

However, Atta Shad universalised his poetry by expanding the horizons of Balochistan.