KARACHI: Speakers at the launch of a transladon of Shah jo Rüalo on Thursday said Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai was one of the first few poets of olden times who championed freedom of individuals and nations with desire to see peace and prosperity across the globe.
`Go through his entire poetry; analyse his characters and weigh his message, you will find it carries the message of freedom for the individual and for nations, particularly the one he belonged to,` said Yusuf Shaheen, writer and researcher, while delivering his keynote speech at the launching ceremony of the translation of Kalyan Advani rendered by Dr Ali Akbar Dhakan at Arts Council of Pakistan Karachi.
The book launch was organised by the Arts Council`s folk and heritage committee.
He narrated a famous sedition case against a newspaper editor in 1919 during the British Raj in the court of a British magistrate, H.T. Sorley.
Jethmal Parsram, editor of Hindvasi newspaper was charged with inciting violence against the British government through a verse in April. `That verse belonged to Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai, and it was his first introduction to Mr Sorley, who went on to write a landmark book on Shah Abdul Latif of Bhit a decade later, but then the editor was sentenced for a two-year rigorouspunishment,` said Mr Shaheen.
Dr Dhakan, translator of the Risalo and formerly deputy governor ofthe State Bank ofPakistan,saidhe translated the Sindhi version written by Kalyan Advani, which, he added, was the easiest for readers with vivid description and greater understanding.
He said translating the poetry of the Sindhi bard was like a treasure hunt for him as it motivated him to search for the meaning of words of classical Sindhi; this merited a separate book for helping to understand as many words were not used in modern Sindhi.
During the speeches argument over the notion whether Bhitai was against the`establishment`ofhistimesemerged.
Amanullah Shaikh, chief of Jamhoori Watan Party, was interrupted by someone from the audience when the former said during his time Shah Latif had equally interacted with the people representing the then establishment and its detractors.
The JWP leader said Sindh and its people were not complete without Shah Latif yet the great bard was not panacea for all ills.
A participant from the audience insisted Shah was not pro-establishment; the response was that the issue deserved a separate debate meriting full focus and time.
Intellectual Dr Suleman Shaikh said Bhitai had always been, and will remain, relevant with Sindh and the rest of humanity for his unbiased, audacious and brave message.`You will find new meanings when you go deeper in Latif`s verses,` said Dr Shaikh.
He said Latif endured a kingdom and not modern-day establishment during his time. It was time to translate Latif in as many languages as possible, he added. Besides, there should be easy versions of his poetry for younger generations as was long available for classical poets of several other nations.
Dr Aijaz Qureshi said Latif was the ultimate love of Sindh.
`Shah is the only poet for whom love of Sindh is a prelude to the love of entire world.
Local Government Minister Saeed Ghani stayed at the event for a while and spoke briefly citing his preoccupations. He said the translator had secured his name in history by offering such a lovely gif t.
Fazal Haq Qazi and Dr Aftab Abro also spoke. Dr Ayoub Shaikh moderatedthe proceedings.