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‘Silent Voices’: A book by Rayees Ahmad Kumar

‘Silent Voices’: A book by Rayees Ahmad Kumar
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Book review

By: Khursheed Ahmad Wani

Rayees Ahmad Kumar is a leading light from Berigam situated in Qazigund Kashmir. He is a literary personality with a penchant for writing columns, fictions, reviews and poems in English and the native language Kashmiri. He is a protean thinker who always comes up with invaluable pieces of writing. His literary works are regularly published in leading local newspapers.

“Silent Voices” his debut anthology published by Shrihind Publications India. Cover Page – It’s easy on the eye and striking. This anthology contains 25 gilt-edged poems on varied themes. It is a precious keepsake for poetry lovers worldwide. The poet has dedicated this treasured souvenir to his late grandfather Haji Habibullah Kumar who loved him the most. He has acknowledged his teachers who taught him from the early stage of his life.

He also thanked his friends who encouraged him regularly from time to time. In its proem, the author said, “Poetry has the power to enlighten and enliven the dead hearts into an enthusiastic and zealous one. It has enough power to heal the wounded humanity. In loneliness, it is the nicest friend as it teaches us to think logically.”

At page 15 -16, the opening poem of the book “Chinar” presents a superb flow of ink of the poet in which the poet has used imagery and artistically conveys its significance since ancient times. I don’t want to go too deep into it rather I suggest you read it at leisure. Believe me, you will enjoy it.

A heart touching poem “Desperation” at page 19 – 20, in which the poet presents the most important situations of his life. Out of which, some become an agony to his mind. Despite being born in the middle class family, he achieved his dream through his hard work and dedication. I found two section of this poem. In the first section I found prosperity and in the last section I found desperation. The poet rightly concluded this poem with this verse,

Oh my Lord! Do show some mercy, Lest I shall be lost..

Another poem on page 22-23, indebted in memory of Shiekh Hamza Makhdoom (RA) and has the same title. Shiekh Hamza Makhdoom, popularly known as Makhdoom Sahib was a Sufi mystic living in Kashmir. He was staunch follower of Shariah and Sunnah. In this poem the poet tried his best to show devotional likings and tried to weave all the aspects of life of Sufi mystic in word-focused arrangement. On page 25, the poet showed his love towards “Barn Swallow” commonly known as Katij in Kashmir; he composed it so nicely and depicts to and fro migration and all its related elements in verses. Another one on page 30, “Song of Love” is a poem of serious reflection and longing. The author goes like this in the poem,

“I am shedding the blood through my eyes Please come here soon.”

The poet has written a beautiful poem on page 32-33, about “Chillia Kalan”. In this poem, I found his passion for using imagery, as is strong suit of one of my best instructor, Charlene Phare. She is an international poetess who belongs to United States of America. “Kashmiri Kangri” or The Firepot on page 34 – 35, shows the poet’s love for his cultural assets and how a craftsman creates this exquisite creation that warms our chilling bodies in harsh winters. In this poem, the poet has told the inventor that we are very much indebted to you for giving us this priceless gift.

Another poem on page 37, “Lialatul Qadar”, in Islamic belief, Lialatul Qadar or Shabi Qadar is, the night when Muslims believe the Quran was first sent down from Heaven to the world and also the night when the first verses of the Quran were revealed to the Islamic prophet Muhammad; it is described to be better than a thousand months of worshipping. In this poem, the poet has presented the greatness of this night. Another poem on page 39, “Tiger”, the poet has personified a tiger who has narrated a wonderful story in which he said that he belonged to a family of cats and all that he did for their survival in nature.

“Kashmir the Paradise” on page 43-44, often called, “The heaven on Earth”, due to its pristine beauty. The poet has showed his love for his motherland and has especially tried to present the bounty of nature. “Spring” on page 46, a season, called Sonth in Kashmiri language. The season brings flora and fauna alive after the dull winter months. It is called the king of all seasons.

Another poem on 47, “Woman”, in this poem, the poet has shown the true essence of women in this world. How in bad times a woman stands like a monolith and gives strength to her family. On page 48, “Teacher”, in this poem the poet has said that parents nurture their children physically but a teacher nurtures their soul. Teachers teach us about moral values. They shape the future of their students. They are the role model of the society. The penultimate poem of the book “Solacer” on page 49, in this poem the poet has called the birds of nature to come and sing some soothing songs which help in erasing the agony of mind and heart. “Childhood” is the last poem of the book appearing in on page 50; the poet has beautifully composed and describes the experience of childhood in a beautiful way.

Rayees Kumar has composed this anthology very well. Every poem has the power to enthrall and mesmerize poetry lovers. He has weaved poetry on varied themes like nature, environment and religion. He has made excellent use of imagery in this anthology. It creates snapshots in readers’ minds and can help them connect emotionally to this literary work. He has a strong grip on poetic diction. I found in him the taste of literary realism. I wish Rayees Ahmad Kumar all the best for the publication of this anthology and hope to see more of his work in the future. I am delighted to write a review of this anthology because the poet himself is an excellent book reviewer. I pray to Allah SWT that the dream of the poet will be fulfilled and he will touch the heights of success.

(The author is a poet and a teacher)


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