Annual of Urdu Studies, v. 6, 1987 p. 33.


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WAZIR AGHA: ELEVEN POEMS

Introduction

In the world of Urdu letters Wazir Agha (b 1922) holds a somewhat unique position He comes from a rural area of Punjab (Pakistan) but prefers to write in Urdu in the diction of an urban milieu He lives on his farm and breeds horses, but holds all the credentials for an academic position an M A in Economics and a Ph D in Urdu He has published three books of essays, nine or ten volumes of literary criticism five collections of poems one long poem, and one autobiography, beside founding and editing two literary journals'

His first major book of literary analysis was Urdu Sa'in Ka Mizaj, 'The Nature of Urdu Poetry ' The title itself was intriguing, employing a word, miza/ (inherent or elemental nature), which had roots in medicine metaphysics and alchemy In that book he made some provocative and insightful connections between structures of poetic genres and evolutionary stages in the human society in South Asia At a time when one large group of Urdu writers was marching to the drumbeat of socialist realism while another equally large crowd was enamoured of Freudian psychology, Wazir Agha turned for his inspiration to Jung and Frazer. as well as to the metaphysicians and mystics of his own Islamic and sub-continental traditions

Wazir Agha s concern with myths and archetypes, with microcosm and macrocosm is as much reflected in his poetry as in his literary criticism Although he does not set about creating a mythology of his own allusions to myths and images taken out of dreams and nature occur only too frequently in his poems There are also equally frequent images out of the contemporary world of wars and machines Sharing the two and connecting them is a human presence, who neither shouts self-happy revolutionary slogans nor easily gives in to cynicism and despair The voice we hear is full of wisdom, though tinged with sorrow

Many of Wazir Agha's poems are built around moments of discovery and knowledge What is apparent and on the surface always has a hidden side to it—to every z^hir (the exterior) there is always a batin (the interior)—and Wazir Agha is never concerned with one to the exclusion of the other His creative discourse of discovery, his poem, usually moves in a curve seeking to return to its source the self of the poet But this self is not

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