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Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai: The Poet of Patriotism and Unyielding Resilience

By: Zulfiqar Ali Bhatti

[ Zulfiqar Ali Bhatti is an Assistant Professor of English. He is the 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.

Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai’s poetry, with its deep-rooted love for the motherland and a profound sense of patriotism, stands as a testament to his poetic brilliance and his unwavering commitment to the land he cherished. The poem, centered around the character of Marvi, a symbol of patriotism and resilience, exemplifies these themes vividly.

Marvi’s story is one of captivity, coercion, and the unwavering love for her homeland. She is forcefully taken away from her village by King Umer and compelled into a marriage against her will. Despite the grandeur of the royal palace, Marvi remains resolute in her love for her homeland, a humble village in Thar. This stark contrast between the opulence of the palace and the simplicity of her village reflects Shah Abdul Latif’s commentary on the true essence of belonging and patriotism.

In the lines, “Standing in prison tower, I raised my face to my homeland,” Marvi’s gaze directed towards her homeland symbolizes her unwavering connection to her roots. The tears streaming down her face convey the depth of her emotions and the agony of separation. Her cry resonates not just as an expression of her suffering but as a call to her kith and kin who seem to have abandoned her in her time of need.

Marvi’s rejection of King Umer’s proposal and her persistent plea for freedom demonstrate her indomitable spirit. She values her modest home over the grandeur of the palace, emphasizing that true happiness lies in the embrace of one’s homeland, even if it is economically humble. This sentiment encapsulates the essence of patriotism, where material wealth pales in comparison to the love for one’s land.

The poem also underscores the theme of continuous struggle and determination. Shah Abdul Latif emphasizes that one should never give up on their aspirations, regardless of their strength or circumstances. Marvi’s resilience serves as a symbol of unwavering determination. Her yearning to return to her homeland and reunite with her loved ones reflects the human spirit’s unyielding will to overcome adversity.

Through the character of Sasui, Shah Abdul Latif further highlights the concept of relentless effort and dedication. Sasui’s longing to reunite with her beloved mirrors the poet’s message that persistence in the pursuit of one’s goals, no matter how arduous the journey, ultimately leads to success.

In conclusion, Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai’s poetry, as exemplified in this particular piece, is a testament to his profound love for his motherland and his astute understanding of patriotism and resilience. Through the characters of Marvi and Sasui, he eloquently conveys the message that one’s homeland remains the most cherished and valued place, and that unwavering determination is the key to achieving one’s goals. His verses continue to inspire generations with their timeless themes and powerful expressions of love for the homeland.

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