Taufiq Rafat’S Poems – Full-Bodied And Rich

Since Independence, Pakistani literature has come a long way from its early roots. Over some 50 years or so, it has evolved from its commonplace, mindless cast into a unique and rather vigorous manner. Today it has an idiosyncratic ‘Pakistani’ color, or essence, different from that of other English literatures. Pakistani English literature privileges to have its own idiom reflecting Pakistani culture, society, and characteristic. Pakistani English literature just like Indian English literature understood very later that the main objective of the literature is to portray what one meets throughout one’s life and that it is not something like a shot in the dark. This idea emerged with Taufiq Rafat who created a distinctive idiom for Pakistani poets; later it became the standard, and according to Carlo Cappola Rafat’s poetry is “full-bodied and rich, direct and readily accessible to the reader’s sensibilities, and devoid of excessive artifice”. I agree to Carlo Cappola’s statement, and in the next few paragraphs I will support his statement by giving evidence from Taufiq Rafat’s poems.

First of all, talking about richness in his poetry, his poetry is culturally rich and has the real essence of Pakistani cultural. The imagism he portrays in his poems, such as “Arrival of monsoon”, “Wedding in the flood” and “Kitchen” reflects the true colors of Pakistani culture, society as well as ideology. The poem ‘Arrival of the Monsoon’ mentions an image of 'coniferous lands' that denotes to Pakistan in particular. In the northern parts (Himalaya) of Pakistan the trees of conifers are in a great number. Therefore, the image of blustering wind headed towards the coniferous lands aptly mirrors Pakistaniness. There is another stanza which is full of images that can effortlessly be connected with Pakistani culture. The bad-tempered wind take along clouds which drizzle rain in windstorms. It obliges the boys to come out to adore it and it scrubs the streets and make it clean. These features are explicit to Monsoon rain otherwise normal rain does not clutch the devotion of the boys as paralleled to that of Monsoon; neither pours in storm nor scrubs the streets. In Monsoon, the thuds of clouds, tweeting of birds, and the heckling of insects are witnessed more than other days of the year. These sounds add magic to the desirability of the Monsoon weather that is why, we adore these sounds and here Rafat unites these sounds with attractiveness keeping in mind the impression of Pakistaniness.

Secondly, as Taufiq Rafat’s poetry is rich in Pakistani idioms and various literary devices such as rhetorical questions, enjambment, and symbolism. One can see the practice of rhetorical questions in his poem, The Wedding The Flood, when the bride made a conjectured question about her husband’s personality and said, “What sort of a man is my husband?” Such questions provoke readers to think a bit harder. They prove the readers to question the society and its norms. Symbolism and metaphors can be overly found in his poems such as ‘Lights’, ‘Kitchen’ and “The Kingfisher”. For instance, kitchen was the symbol of matrimonial amalgamation where the people used to be at home in with each other. ‘Kitchen’ with an idiosyncratic nostalgic for a childhood disbursed in rural kitchen that is ‘high roofed’ and ‘spacious’ permeated with ‘the pungency of smoke and spices, monitors the reader to a up-to-date and sterilized kitchen that is both germ-free and fantastic, just like modern existence. Moreover, he also used the metaphor such as ‘elfin’ for those typical men who seek harbor in egotistical, puffed-up, and lonesome mountains. Besides, “Kingfisher” also has symbolism in it.

Thirdly, for me, Cappola’s view of relatability applies to Raffat’s poetry the finest. By using Pakistani Idioms he makes his readers to relate more and more. For instance, in the poem, “wedding in the flood”. He uses many idioms like, “This girl has been licking too many pots”, “a looking glass”, “bride into the palankeen”, “hennaed hands”, and many more, which are relatable to every Pakistani, as he contextualized the language making it culturally-appropriate. Talking about “arrival of monsoon”, reading this piece of art makes ecstatic, blissful and euphoric, “Alive, alive, everything is alive again”. “how madly the electric wire is swinging” and ‘drenched shaky tress,” all these images makes me happy and excited. I can relate to it more rather than relating to Wordsworth or John Milton’s poetry. When the “naked boys paddling in the ditches” it makes me feel nostalgic, because, that is something we are grown up with. We have seen and practiced the same situation every monsoon. Taufiq Rafat knows how to snatch reader’s hearts, and he does it sound in his poetry by talking about widespread, universal and general themes. He talks about kindness when he says, ‘I’ll learn to love you then’ in The Kingfisher, he makes us feel compassionate.

Finally, highlighting the most important view of Cappola, which is “devoid of excessive artifice”. Taufiq rafat never sugarcoated the Pakistani society’s real issues. He talks about them and provokes his readers to think out of the box. For instance, he talks about “Dowry” in “wedding in the flood” and the concept of the mother-in-law problems is to be discussed there. He mentions in then poem “arrival of monsoon” he feels no shame in giving us the image of naked boys paddling in the diches. He doesn’t hides what’s reality. He could have written it otherwise just to give a good and mannered image of Pakistani boys playing in rain but he doesn’t, because, he represents thing as they are. He doesn’t like to put a vail.

In conclusion, I would like to say that I’m fully satisfied with Cappola’s view about Taufiq rafat’s poetry. Hence, he was right, the writing of Taufiq Rafat is the echo of our culture — Pakistani culture. He doesn’t make his poetry artifice. He represents his culture as it is. He uses simple language, Pakistani idioms, and other literary devices to make his writing more accessible and rich. He has the energy in his poetry. Hence, he drives our attention to the art of creativity that gains maturity, in both content and form.

11 February 2020
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