Mohsin Bin Mushtaq Shah’s poetry springs from a heart full of angst and insight, hope and love. He tells MONA MEHTA that Kashmir, to him, is a symbol of love, not hate.
He is a medical doctor by training, and a Sufi by inheritance and intuition. His poems caress you like a whiff of fresh air, cutting through the smog of mistrust and gloom in the Valley. Says Mohsin who lives in Srinagar, Kashmir,“My verses talk about two things: Kashmir, and love and tolerance.” He was in Delhi recently and recited his poems to an appreciative audience at the recently held Times Literary Festival. Mohsin believes that it is his duty to express his anguish and that of his people through his writings, whether in prose or poetry.
MIr Sayyid Ali Hamdani (Ra) tried to spread the message of love and tolerance, and Mohsin too strives to do that through spontaneous verse, as in: ‘i exhume my heart in verses’
“There are three genres of poetry — one which talks about love of God – ishq e haqique; love of man — ishq e majazi and a third which states that only love of man can lead you to the love of God.This is my kind of poetry,”he says. The young man’s poems also address Kashmir, which is ‘no less than God’s poem itself ’.“As a poet it is my duty to write about the pain of Kashmir,” he says.
In Kashmir,Sufi poetry might have started with the Shaivite mystic Lalleshwari (Lal Ded) but some half a millennium since, sensitive poets like Mohsin are seeking to restore to the Valley all the love and longing for the Beloved that once enriched a culture of understanding and compassion.
Mohsin Mustaq with poems on love and sufism during Poetry reading session on concluding day of Times Litfest in Delhi.
PIC BY ANINDYA CHATTOPADHYAY
The Times Of India. Nov 30, 2015, 02.55 PM IST
Budding Kashmiri English poet Mohsin bin Mushtaq (29) enthralled audiences at the Times Literature Festival with his refreshing poetry on love and Sufism on Monday.
His session started with a recent poem on Iman Husain, the grandson of the prophet and to whose family Sufis trace their lineage to. The eulogy to Husain, highlighting his great sacrifice while standing up to evil ruler Yazid was read in context to the recent carnage in Paris.
Mushtaq spoke about the need to understand spirit of love that Sufism entails to counter the dark forces of evil and what they embody in forms of tragedy in Paris, Palestine and other trouble-torn places in the world.He read the poem twice at the insistence of a lively audience along with his verses mourning Paris.
The poet explained two perspectives of the poem: One the obvious expression of the fight of good against evil and the values of sacrifice, patience truth besides standing up to the tyranny.
Mushtaq spoke about his background as a doctor and his transition to poetry drawing inspiration for iconic poets like Maulana Rumi, Maulana Jami, Hafiz and Faiz Ahmad Faiz.
He talked about tolerance of the times when Sufism was introduced in Kashmir in the 14th century and how his ancestor Mir Syed Ali Hamadani chose to go with the prevalent Hanafi school of thought instead of his own — Shafi.
What else do you need from your words, when your words are known for the eulogy of Hussain and the Karbala. Two of my poems were read at the Karbala Conference, held at the Ibn e Khaldun auditorium, University of Kashmir. The video is on youtube and the original text in this post.
The original poem – hussain taught me love.
After this poem was published on social media, I got numerous queries asking me If I happen to be a Shia. It was astounding to know the prevalence of prejudice that perhaps, if a person writes eulogy for Hussain(Raa), he has to be a Shia. In view of the queries, I wrote my answer in form of a poem – disclaimer.
Four of my poems were published in the famous ‘Sacred Space’ and ‘The Speaking Tree’ of The Times of India.
Two of my poems were exhibited at The Aga Khan University, Karachi Pakistan. Couldn’t get better pictures, however, will attach the originals.