January 20, 2021

KITAAB

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Scars of Life: Book Review of Behind the Walls by Manshoor Nazki

2 min read

Dr. Sutanuka Ghosh Roy reviews Behind the Wallsa collection of poems by Manshoor Nazki (Published by Meezan Publishers & Distributors, 2020) calling them riveting and how they leave a lingering effect even after you close the book

  • Title:   Behind the Walls
  • Page: 120.
  • ISBN: 978-93-80691-11-4
  • Edition: (2020). Paperback.
  • Published by Meezan Publishers & Distributors.
  • Price: INR 350.

       Manshoor Nazki’s poems are songs of love and anguish, of dream, hope and waiting. Their spirit is informed both by contemporary music and by the lyrics and ballads of earlier times.

The poems are an eclectic mix of the songs of Leonard Cohen or Bob Dylan rhythms. One can find the beauty of faces and limbs, beautiful landscapes and seasons, the play of light and shadows, silence, and a sudden emptiness, pain, and uncertainty. There are images of bloodied hands, deserted houses whose occupants will never return and there is an endless wait. Manshoor writes, “All I do is wait/This ever-changing love/All I want is peace/In this never-ending war” (“All I Do Is Wait”, 21).

In another poem, we find the same strain of endless wait, “Did I meet you that day/The day that I met you/Or was I always in love with you/All my life, as I waited” (“As I Waited”, 28). Poet, art critic, cultural theorist Ranjit Hoskote in the introduction to the book writes,

“Even at the heart of the metropolis, he is possessed by memories of a homeland that has borne a far greater share of suffering than any region should have had to bear. Manshoor travels, a stranger among strangers, sustained by the love of a land that his neighbours do not really know, or have buried under clichés either pretty or ominous”.

The poet writes, “But no one seems to know that place/ And no one seems to know the way”. “Empty houses on empty streets/ No mail arrives no telephone rings/The vanishing footprints, forgotten signs/The wind hostage to broken wings (“Pale Blue Dot”, 22).

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