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Literature of resistance

Reflections on Seraiki poetry and deprivation and pangs of separation found in different genres

Literature of resistance

Literature is the reflection of a communal mind of any nation and Seraiki poetry is an excellent example of this phenomenon, shares Dr Nukhba Taj Langah, chairperson of the Seraiki National Party. Langah is passionate about the struggle for an empowered Seraikistan which she inherited from her father late Taj Muhammad Langah. She moderated the LLF session titled ‘Reflections of Seraiki Literature’ with Ashiq Buzdar, Riffat Abbas and Rana Mahboob Akhtar. The hall was packed to capacity comprising mostly the Seraiki students enrolled in different academic institutions of Lahore.

During the session, Langah summed up that more than 90 per cent of the poetry produced by Seraiki poets is about resistance. And there is a reason behind this. The Seraikis have been slaves for more than 5000 years and they have expressed the tyranny of oppressors and their own helplessness through literature — whether it is poetry or prose. She points out that sense of deprivation and pangs of separation can be found in different genres of Seraiki poetry. For example maahiye, dohray and kaafis express these feelings in a unique way.

Saen Ashiq Buzdar from Rajan Pur Meher Wala, who is a very popular Seraiki nationalist and resistant poet, recited his famous poem Assan Qaidi Takht Lahore De amid applause at the LLF. Even the school-going kids in the region know this poem by heart which talks volumes of the atrocities of the Punjabi establishment. Buzdar says he has been organising the Seraiki Mela for the last 28 years and can easily claim that Seraiki literature is far richer than the literature in other local languages. “We belong to the Indus Valley civilisation. Our forefathers were highly civilised and educated at times when the rest of the world was struggling to even crawl.’’

Buzdar proudly claims that Seraiki literature published over the last two years is more than that published in any other Pakistani language. The Academy of Letters has also confirmed this. Folk tales, songs, ballads, marsias, novels, poems, travelogues etc have all been produced in abundance over this time.

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Riffat Abbas, a popular Seraiki poet and intellectual, terms kafi the gem of Seraiki poetry. The great Sufi Saints Baba Bulleh Shah, Sachal Sarmast, Shah Hussain etc. had written kafis which gave the concept of religion which taught love for the mankind. Today the maulvi, the establishment and the state uses religion to exploit people and invaders from Arab, Iran and Afghanistan have interpreted it differently.

Rana Mahboob Akhtar, a journalist and intellectual from Seraiki Wasaib, dispelled the impression that Seraiki is just a dialect of Punjabi rather than a complete language. “If it had been a dialect, Seraiki would have been a thing of past by now.”

Sher Ali Khalti

sher ali khalti
The author works for The News. He can be contacted at [email protected]

4 comments

  • Dr.Salim Haidrani

    Sher Ali’s brief reporting about the ‘Literature of resistance’, is so far outstanding and purposeful information published in the English Newspaper industry in Pakistan since the Lahore Literary Festival 2015 ended in Lahore. Every year I travelled to Pakistan to visit my hometown ‘Shadun Lund’ in Dera Ghazi Khan, I would meet Siraiki writers and intellectuals and book shops in the Siraiki belt to purchase Siraiki publications and collect some Siraiki new poetry books from friends but most of the publications tell the tales of ‘ victomhood rather than resistance’. Resistance is a form of celebration over the burden of power, its abuse and prejudices. Siraiki writers and intellectual must come out from this discourse of being victims of the ‘Takht Lahore’. – the domination of Punjab and its Central Establishment.

    Siraikis never have been slaves in their own Indus region as it has been claimed by Dr.Langh because we do not have any appropriate evidence to prove this fake claim.

    However, I have a great respect and regards for Dr.Langh and all the other Siraiki writers, intellectuals and specially Sher Ali, for their serious contributions and efforts to raise their voices for their cultural and political identity as Siraikis.

    Salim Haidrani
    London.

  • Mansoor Hassan hashmi

    Well done, well written Sher Ali, thanks so much for this
    Manchester—UK

  • Nice reporting Sher Ali keep it up

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