Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Jaun Elia (جون ایلیا)

tum jab aaogii to khoyaa huaa paaogii mujhe
merii tanhaaii meN KhwaaboN ke sivaa kuchh bhii nahiiN

mere kamre ko sajaane kii tamanna hai tumheN
mere kamre meN kitaaboN ke sivaa kuchh bhii nahiiN

in kitaaboN ne baDa zulm kiyaa hai mujh par
in-meN ek ramz hai jismeN ramz kaa maaraa huaa zehen

muZda-e-ishrat anjaam nahiiN paa saktaa
zindagii meN kabhii aaraam nahiiN paa saktaa

جون ایلیا

Disclaimer: As usual, my train of thoughts shall not follow one trail. 

Today, I happen to attend an event about Jaun Elia at T2f. It was an informal event and there were hardly ten people and two of them were well-versed about Jaun Elia and gave a talk on him. As for myself, I was aware of the name of Jaun Elia and have seen cover of one of his books in which he with his long hair looking at something. The talk started with a brief introduction written by one of the speakers and was followed by dejection which speakers felt about Elia that he couldn't achieve that fame which other poets did.

Jaun was a poet and philosopher and was well versed in Hebrew, Persian, Arabic and English. Along with his poetic brilliance, he had a great command over language. He was greatly concerned about the technicalities of poetry, which includes meter, diction etc.. I can't write in a proper and coherent way so please let me ramble now. Jaun was a person who believed that poetry is not a part-time job; it's a full-time job. He was a bohemian. He loved his work more than anything and sort of renounced everything and devoted himself completely to his work. I believe that it is utter dedication, devotion and madness that bring the genius out of you. The discussion continued about his work and that how people used to come to him and ask him for help. Those who used to come to him for help was purely for selfish reason. The never came back and paid heed to him when he was not there in hospital. Even some of the contemporary poets who took help from Elia don't give due credit to him. That is why our society is not does not deserve help. They are ruthless people. Jaun had a great command over language and writers like Mushtaq Ahmed Yousufi used to consult him if they had any issues with language. Jaun was meticulous about language. During discussion, I learned that there is no such word as Karobaar. The word is Kaar baar. There was one anecdote narrated during discussion that someone repeatedly said to Elia that '' Lahore tau Lahore hai'' and Elia replied ''Tau Jaani Sukkur kya Islamabad hai?". I may not have quoted it verbatim but precisely that is what he said. He was a witty person.

Jaun was not a family man. He didn't care much about his family and that eventually led to his divorce too. His children don't like him or probably detest him. He was a great poet but not a great father. The question arises that whether this shall overshadow his poetic brilliance or not? Clearly no. It is absolutely ludicrous if an artist is being judged for his poetry on the basis of his lifestyle or what he was in reality. The fact that Elia could pen such sheer brilliance can be attributed to his devotion, dedication and madness for his work. One of the people from audience said that Elia is a wonderful poet but people should not idolize him because he was not a good family man or father. He didn't perform his responsibilities, which includes taking care of his children and being breadwinner of a family. Had he been a family man and good father, would he have been able to come up with poetry of this calibre? Most probably no. If we look at artists in past, this has been the story of many. I am not generalizing or saying that everyone should do some, but this has been the case with many. If they try to perform their worldly duties well, then they will be probably able to only dedicate time to their work. The devotion and madness will not be there, hence under-utilization of creativity. 

In short, artist's creation should not be judged on what he was/is in his real life. It is artist's personal choice and shall be respected.