Love is the most powerful driving force on the planet. It compels the human being to do what otherwise would be undoable. Love exists in many forms. The most prominent among them are earthly love (majazi) and Divine love (haqiqi).
Now, sometimes it is difficult to differentiate whether someone is in human or Divine love. I came across precisely such a wonder in the shape of a recently published book by Dr. Waheed Jatoi titled An Analysis and Evaluation of Mystical and Philosophical Aspects of G Allana’s English Poetry.
While reading the preface of the book, I found a most touching anecdote. Dr. Jatoi writes that he was teaching poetry to 11th-class students at a certain private institution and when he was explaining G. Allana’s poem “I Had Reached Your Doorsteps,” his own beloved overheard this entire explanation. She then remarked: “Why don’t you compose such poems?” Dr. Jatoi writes that he realised she was demanding something! And from that day onwards, Dr. sahib developed a fondness for G. Allana’s poetry. He finished reading G. Allana’s entire literary work, especially the poetry, within a few months.
He writes, “I swallowed the whole Allana, and consequently belching out the book in your hand, earning me the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in English Literature.” Hence, this masterpiece is also the product of love – although the love remained unfulfilled and was defeated by society, for Dr. sahib and his beloved are no longer together.
Chapter 4 is titled “Mystical Aspects” and examines this inner dimension of Allana’s work
An Analysis and Evaluation of Mystical and Philosophical Aspects of G Allana’s English Poetry is the product of research that the author has carried out over the years on the poetic work of Ghulam Ali Allana, better known as G. Allana (1906-1985). G. Allana is too well-known to need much of an introduction. The book is basically a thesis which the author presented to earn a PhD degree. Aside from calls for the author to turn the thesis into a book, we are told that it was also presented with a view to benefiting the young researchers who aim to pursue their career in English Literature and who want to follow Dr. Jatoi in his footsteps.
The book consists of 6 chapters plus a foreword by veteran member of the literati and retired civil servant Gul Muhammad Umrani. Chapters one and two are technical in their nature. The first is an introduction and deals with rules about research itself. Chapter two deals with the actual research methodology — Dr. sahib has deliberately included this chapter in order to facilitate new researchers. The third chapter comprises a literature review and discusses abstract topics such as Immanentism, Pantheism, spiritual states and Nothingness. Chapter 4 is titled “Mystical Aspects” and examines this inner dimension of Allana’s work. The fifth chapter deepens the author’s treatment of philosophical issues arising from Allana’s work, and the final chapter sums it all up.
Reading the book reminds you that Dr. Waheed Jatoi is truly a man of letters and the works authored by him have always occupied a unique place in the literary world. I dare to hope that this book would outdo his previous endeavours and earn him worldwide – or at least nationwide – fame. But I am reminded that unfortunately we do not value our poets and literati as much as they deserve.
It is worth mentioning that other than this book, Dr. sahib has produced four others – out of which two are in Sindhi prose while the other two are anthologies of his poems in English. Both his Sindhi books, one on the structure and technicalities of Sindhi poetry and the other on existentialism, are nothing short of masterpieces in Sindhi literature. In fact, both have earned a place on sheer merit in the syllabi of almost all Sindhi universities.
To sum up, this book will make a fascinating reading for people who have an interest in English poetry as well as quality work on it. In addition, the new and young researchers who aspire to make a career in English Literature will find the book particularly well suited for their needs.