Without poetry there is no life. You can work backwards from that and say what makes life meaningful is the poetic. There can be poetry in your clothes, in your demeanour; in your very presence. As a child, poetry takes the form of little stories that help your mind blossom. Then you introduce yourself to poetry that speaks of the romance of love; and then the romance of change and revolution; and even to the romance of disillusionment and frustration. And once you’re past all these stages, you can enter the realm of submission and surrender—the mystic dimension.
Poetic licence: Muzaffar Ali. Hindustan Times
The problem today is that people are trapped by the mundane. There is a social conditioning of the mind that blocks people from the poetry in life.
India abounds in poetry, but we’re very chauvinistic about languages. There is 200-300 years of Urdu poetry that is now lost to our generation because the language has been lost. People are very protective and insecure about language. Maharashtrians should only write and speak Marathi. Tamil should be spoken in Tamil Nadu. Languages are defined, and given regional and religious labels. For example, Arabic is a Muslim language. But what about all the Arabic Christians speaking Arabic? Or Farsi? You say it’s the language of the Shia but it is the way the Mahabharat and the Ramayan reached the rest of the world.
Crossover: Rumi’s verses are widely read in English.
Rumi is among the most-read poets in English but people are getting his words second-hand. In Farsi, the rhythm and melody of his poems are much superior to the English versions, but his words want to reach out, and he’s read everywhere.
When you let a poet into your heart, you have to celebrate him. The poet is casting seeds over barren soil hoping some flowers will grow.
I’m only a craftsman applying other people’s poetry to my work. That’s why I don’t write poetry. I don’t have the guts to write poetry.
As told to Melissa A. Bell