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February 18, 2019

Samina Tabbsum’s restive poetry

Islamabad

February 18, 2019

Samina Tabbsum's Basanti Chonarya, the first collection of her raw poetry, overflows with restless stuff. Her verses ooze out from her inside. Her direct poetry, effortlessly written, successfully encompasses daily rituals.

Her book is a stunning kind of arrival, an emancipating act where every happening has meaning and the heart need never be kept indoors:

Main Tabbsum houn tu phir lab pe saja lay muj ko

Gar koi tera naheen apna bana lay muj ko

She has lived out her individual life, created her individual stories but she seems connected to us by way of our common experiences, the rhythms of our lives played out in our shared mortality. Basanti Chonarya beautifully invokes this connection:

Kia khabar thi keh teray qurb ki khushioun mein bhi

Ghum bhi utray ga rago pai mein azaboun ki tarah

Basanti Chonarya’s ghazals and nazms both have a particularly light touch, letting the passion elevate the verse. Samina invests poetry with a childlike wonder at the casual brutalities of love:

Wafa ki tamanna tu tum se naheen hai

Chalo phir nigahain mola kar tu dekho

There is a sort of straightforwardness in her voice that opens up all of its compressed levels of meaning. She says:

Muj ko dekho tu apni ankhoun se

Hu bahu tera khawab lagti houn

Meray andar hai payas ka sehra

Main jo tab’an sahaab lagti houn

Samina is not unaware of the problems and struggles she sees around her. Samina’s intensely personal poetry is able to choose detail and move it around in a poem so that the detail becomes telling as her nazms like Apmi Tareekh mein, khushi ki Arzoo, Apnay shareekay zingi kay leeyay, Doctor dil ka, Madame Florence and Mother Treesa, Pak watan kay passbanoun kay naam, Meri Maan, Payari beti Ayesha Tehreem kay leeyay amply show.

The final effect of all this is that the book has a uniformity unusual in debut volumes. Her poetry is oriented to the human feelings sighted through the prism of love:

Os ko dekh kay apni janab

Aanchal ko lehrana ho ga

Jo punchi wapas na ayein

On ka durr takhana ho ga

There are inner worlds contained in many of her poems. The commonplace rubs shoulders with universal truths that we all can recognize:

Janay kis paar ja kay utray hain

Woh jo jeenay ki dua kartay thay

Throughout the collection, the poet's voice is unruffled. She explores her subtle response to growing in a male-dominated society in the poem Aik Bhanwray Se Makaalma.

As readers we find her poetry city limits and its suburbs extraordinary. The collection begins and ends with this impression:

Aik mahshar bapa hai dil mein meray

Hadsoun ki kitab lagti houn

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