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    Anju Makhija on the cryptic meanings in Shah Abdul Latif’s ancient verses.

    ONE aspect of great poetry is that its relevance should stand the test of time. Shah Jo Risalo, a 17th- century compilation of Sufi poems written by the great ancient Sindhi poet, Shah Abdul Latif, qualifies. Known for its deep spiritual themes, it is considered as one of his best works and comprises 30 surs (musical compositions) which borrow elements from classical Indian ragas and talk about mankind’s eternal search for the ‘divine’.
    Shedding more light on Latif and the complex interpretations that his poems offer, Anju Makhija, also a poet, is part of a session organised by People For Pondicherry’s Heritage (PPH) next week. The Mumbai-based writer, along with the late Sindhi poet, Hari Dilgir, co-wrote the country’s first English translation of the Shah Jo Risalo, titled Seeking The Beloved (a Sahitya Akademi Award-winning book), which is available online. “Since my roots lie in Sindh (now in Pakistan), I was always curious to find out more about my ancestors and poetry from that region. That’s how I came across Latif’s works,” shares Makhija.
    His verses are dramatic and musical at the same time. Introspective subjects like direct surrender to God sans idol worship or union of lovers after death have drawn legendary singers like Sufi maestro, Abeeda Parveen, who sing his lines even today. His works and influences have also been portrayed in films like So Heddan So Hodda, excerpts of which will be screened at the event.
    Entry free. September 16, at Palais de Mahe. Details: 0413 2345611

    — Karan Pillai

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