Book Review: Folios of lost treasure
The published translation is an arduous task and it requires a nerve that knows the way to the core of the poet. Sincere efforts aided with the understanding of the verse are other standards to transfer the idea from the original language to the target language.
Keeping both these conditions into consideration, the translation adds aesthetic beauty to the verses for the readers of the other languages. Satish Vimal’s anthology ‘Khoye Huai Prashat’ is an impressive collection of 100 micro poems covering both esoteric and exoteric worlds. Owing to this feature it has been translated into many languages.
In English, it is titled ‘Folios of Lost Treasure’ and in Kashmiri as ‘Rayimit Warakh’. It is not just a collection of beads carrying 100 different colours of life but an expression of a vital experience leading to infinite.
Satish Vimal is influenced and inspired by Rabindranath Tagore, which is accurately reflected in his writings and poetry. Tagore in one of his poems requires a mention “In art man reveals himself not his objects.” With reference to this spiritual saying, I can say the book ‘Folios of Lost Treasure’ is not just a collection of words and verses, but a treasure trove of emotions that Satish Vimal has experienced.
Every micro poem is an expression that only a Sufi saint can project as Mantra to his disciple. Only he can declare what the esoteric world means and how that can be explored. The translator Mushtaque Barq titled the book: ‘Folios of lost treasure’ instead of lost pages, it is his own experience and observations, but as a reader, I came out of the murky mist to dazzling dawn while scanning this anthology.
It taught me life and its dimensions and I went through an opinion that in the title of this book Barq has explored its multidimensional attitudes. He is of the opinion by himself that it is not a book but a treasure that has gone into oblivion. It is perceived that the translator has read the book with an aesthetic feel, grasped it deeply and then conveyed to the readers his sincere efforts thoroughly and intensely.
Although ‘Folios of Lost Treasure’ is a translation, the reader does not feel it as a translation. The taste he gets in reading “Hindi” is the same way he enjoys reading English renderings of Barq. Hindi metaphors and similes have been translated into English in such a way that it seems original, for which a reader witness the fact that the translation is remarkably close to its original.
I have also followed the Kashmiri translation of this book. Every translation is idiomatic, but no other translation has done the work of propagating this book into every corner of the globe as English translation has done. Although it was desperately firm to translate Hindi proverbs, sayings and metaphors into English, the translator has proved that nothing is impossible.
The language used by Mushtaque Barq in translating Satish Vimal’s book is wholly admirable. Translation also has displayed a high level of fluency and maturity while applying phrases and words in a unique way. It is challenging to understand Satish in poetry and poetic debates, but Mushtaque Barq’s translation has made it easier and must be treated as an inexplicable contribution to our literature.
Don’t you listen to music?
Are you hard of hearing!
Don’t you admire the flowers- are you blind!
Oh! The sworn appraiser of melancholy
Why to Lord have denied access to?
The above-mentioned poem is the first poem in this book. In the second verse hard of hearing is used instead of the deaf. Hard of hearing here is not just a sentence or a combination of words but a phrase and is used in the sense to illustrate the feeling of the poet.
As a fact, hard of hearing doesn’t mean only the person who is inborn deaf but also called a person who is not deaf but is semi-deaf or pretends to be deaf. Reaching Vimal’s senses, Mushtaque Barq used the hard of hearing to keep alive the poetic sense that he was addressing not only the deaf but also those who deliberately run away from the voice of truth.
If this poem is seen in terms of poetry, then this poem is a masterpiece. It mentions the inner music which is not instrumental but natural. In Vimal’s view, music is also a creature that is already present in every creation. Every creation that does not hear that voice actually closes the inner door to God and deprives itself. The translator has tried keeping the same subtle titles and sentiments alive.
In fact, this book opens the doors for all-wise and the men words, inviting them to read the world which is beyond mortality, which is beyond words, so the book exactly is a treasure as the translator has mentioned.
The book begins with Amrita Pritam’s statement in which she expresses her heartfelt love. She says, “I read a few of Vimal’s poems and met the lost ascetic of Abhinav Gupta’s times who carried with him a pot full of nectar of Self-containment. I sang a few of his verses, and an illuminating path took me to the land of intoxicating tunes I danced with them…
“There are a hundred untitled poems in the bookmarked by numerals representing the fact that life is untitled passing as the days pass but our experience provide the title to our days. Sometimes Vimal inspires readers with words but most of the time the content of his poetry take the reader to the world which is beyond mortality, beyond mundane comprehension but possess a deep relation with common life. The book in front of readers will open hundreds of new doors of vision.
It will teach how to make the feelings possibly expressive even in silence. Each and every poem in this book is a lesson about sacrifice, inspiration, respect, self-realization and many other values which we have lost.
In conclusion, I have no words but can have a view that Satish Vimal is a poet of self-containment as every Sufi poet should be. Rumi has said early, “I saw myself as the source of existence I was there in the beginning and I was the spirit of love.”
(The author is a student and hails from Tangmarg)