Mustafa Zaidi – A poet remembered 6/9

Yahya Khan’s famous list of 303 summarily dismissed civil servants included the name of Mustafa Zaidi, who above all, suffered the biggest stigma of non-conformity. Zaidi was a wanderer, a bit of a philanderer and outspoken in his poetic expression. He never refrained from a candid assertion of sexual desire and experience, or from expressing his artistic contempt of all that surrounded him. As a classic misfit, he also had something in him reminiscent of Lord Byron, albeit in a different context.

“Aesthetics is a fire not aware of its in-flammability,” said Zaidi, and continued to ignite the flames of his creativity until these consumed him. His poetry is diverse: from troubled relationships with women to a poetic critique on the unjust functioning of the United Nations; a dialogue with Polonius (from Shakespeare’s Hamlet ) and on the country of his choice – Pakistan. In Musafir (Traveller), written before his death, he addresses his homeland after a long sojourn abroad:

“There is nothing that I carry from my homeland
Merely a dream and the fortifications of a dream
Accept the gift of my soiled shirt
For its dirt carries the dust from the mosques
This apparel cannot be washed for it enfolds
The splashes of Biafra’s sacred blood
This is the soil from Vietnam and its grains contain
The radiant brows of the prophets.”

Cont. [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9]

Published on July 25, 2006 at 6:22 pm  Leave a Comment  

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