Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai, a poet of truth, beauty and patriotism

By: Zulfiqar Ali Bhatti

[ Zulfiqar Ali Bhatti is an English teacher at Government College Hyderabad. He is an author of several books on various subjects with his famous English poetry book , ‘ Unshed Tears’- the longest English poem ever written by any Pakistani poet.]

Shah Abdul Latif has chosen his themes from the daily life. while selecting subjects and themes he has been very careful. It seem he intentionally selected topics which lead people towards virtu and make them think about his existence. While driving people towards virtue, love and beauty he does not forgrt to inculcate the feelings of patriotism in the minds of readers.there can be no two opinions about him that he is the soul of Sindh.
The poetry of Shah Abdul Latib Bhitai is divided into Surs. The word ” Sur” means a mode of singing .In all there are 30 Surs in Shah Jo Risalo which are named according to their subject matter .If we study his poetry we clearly find him a nationalist , humanist and poet whose stature is perhaps on par with the great poets of the world and in no way he is behind them, but yes of course at many places we find him ahead of them all. Much of Shah Bhitai’s poetry expresses the individual seeking for God (Truth) in terms of well-known ballads and the negation of the ego.
While reading his poetry, there comes in mind that he does not want to forcibly drive people towards the path he thinks right, but he motivates his readers to ponder with the intention that may he be given enough wisdom to understand what is truth but at the same times he knows the price of being wise in this world, He asks God not to be blessed with wisdom as wiser people are always weary in tears.
He advises people to be always among with those whose do not create differences between human beings but remain with a kind of people who always join. In this connection he says in Sur Bilawal he says that we should go to the weavers who have sensitive love and they always join and has not learnt to cut or separate. at an other place he reminds us the example of birds which always fly and travel in the form of folks and have more love than humans. H e says that we human beings should learn the lesson of unity from such birds.

The love to the motherland is the main concern and theme of Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai. Marvi and a girl from a small village of Thar is his heroine and symbol for patriotism she was made captive by Umer, the king who kidnapped her and forced her to get married to him. The ideal life of the king does not attract Marvi, she prefers her hovel over the palace instead. she says:
Standing in prison tower
I raised my face to my homeland;
Looking out fell from my eyes
Tears in torrential shower;
A cry went from the heart
Raising there keen and clamour;
Ah Kith and Kin not ever
Did care for me in their huts.
She rejects Umer’s proposal and continued her protest and made request to him that he should set her free so that she should go to her homeland as she feels pleasure being there even if his village was nothing but a very poor village.
O God! Be not so, that I die
In this dark dismal prison;
The body bound up in chains
Day and night doth weep and cry
O first to homeland go I
Then come to end m days-over here.
Continuous struggle and strive for achieving the goal is an other major theme of his poetry. He says that one should not give up in the course of his ones life to get any goal or success of any kind. He says that if one strives hard with a firm determination then even if he is feeble and wee=ak but will be helped and strengthened by God. God. Sasui a woman from Bhambhore he presents as his symbol for struggle.
Sooner or later my going is to Him
To my Dear Dreaded One;
So let not be lost this labour of love
O Ye Lord of labourers alone;
Unto me this favour be done,
That in life I meet my love!

Zulfiqar Ali Bhatti

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