Seeking the Beloved

1st August 2015, Saturday

The teachings and poems of Shah Abdul Latif, the great 16th century Sufi poet were brought out with great fervor and passion here at the Centre on this evening. After Purvi introduced Anju Makhija to the gathering, the renowned poet began the evening by introducing her work, 'Shah Abdul Latif: Seeking the Beloved', that she translated with the late Hari Dilgir.

From what little we heard of the excerpts that evening, there was no denying the awe one could feel to have 400-year old poems brought out in front of us that evening. As one patron said, "It was like removing the screen of ignorance to  get a glimpse of the mystic thoughts of this great poet." The book is the first comprehensive English translation in India of Shah-Jo-Risalo, one of the greatest Sindhi works of the Sufi poet. It was awarded the Sahitya Akademi English Translation Prize (’11). The sufis, as is known, were great integrators and Latif’s poetry draws freely from both Islamic and Vedantic traditions. Latif’s unique treatment and allegorical interpretations of common folk tales, like Sasui-Punhoon, are truly relevant in today’s atmosphere of religious strife.

The essence of Shah Abdul Latif's original poetry was captured by the poet and Mr. Khare, who read part of the poems. Following this, parts of a documentary that went by the name of 'So Heddan So Hoddan' (Like Here Like There) produced by Anjali Monteiro was screened. Artistically shot in the village of Kutch amidst idyllic scenery, narrating the  life story of Shah Abdul Latif, the viewing of this film left people wanting  for more.

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