Verses that penetrate the heart

Words, as they say, can penetrate far deeper into the heart than the sword of a valiant solider. Truly so, the way noted Urdu poet V.K. Tripathi popularly called as VK, with a poetic name of Bashar, weaves magic with words; transforming them into new idioms and metaphors that leave a lasting spell on his readers.

Recently Tripathi’s newest collection of poems, ‘Meri Zameen Mera Asman’, was published by India’s most prestigious institution, the Anjuman Tarikkhi Urdu (Board for Promotion of Urdu language), and received wide literary acclaim.  The fact that the Board decided to publish his collection is a reflection on the quality and scale of his work.

Says Athar Farooqi, Secretary of the Board, V.K. Tripathi’s work is grand and the best part is that his poems are in pure metric form and not free verse.  “The content and connotation of his work is amazing”

What is surprising is that Urdu did not come natural to him and in his school days he was never exposed to the world of Urdu language.  Coming from a rural background, V.K. Tripathi had a lot of involvement with literary activities in his school and college days as the poet in him slowly beginning to take shape.

That was more because of the then popularity of ghazal singers like Mehdi Hasan, Jagjit Singh, Ghulam Ali, and he was a great admirer of their signing art. He began to weave words into couplets.

It was years after he joined the India Revenue Services as a bureaucrat that VK formally entered into this new world of Urdu poetry all by a chance. Recalling his entry into Urdu poetry, VK says that it was in 1990s that he first ventured into writing ghazals in Urdu.  Handicapped with his scant knowledge of the language he took help of his junior colleague to shape his art.   He began to add new words in his vocabulary giving new contours to his writing.

Years of hard work gave birth to his first book ‘Mere Zameen ke Log’, which the late progressive poet Shabnam Naqvi said was fresh, authentic and gave a new flavor.  “He wades his way using meters that were once mastered by legendary poets of the past,” he said, adding that VK’s works give traces of legendary poets of the past such as Meer, Zauq and Ghalib, yet he maintains his own identity.

Amazingly, VK mostly writes when he is flying during official or personal trips. “Words descend to translate my thoughts and I pen them down in the long haul of journeys,“ he said.

His fascination for ghazal writing prompted him to learn Urdu and now he mainly writes in that language.

He is very clear that there was no conflict in his persona, but his poems reflect the social conflict which are beautifully woven with words throwing reality off time.

VK says he is a straightforward man and does not mince words but as an artist he minces words and sharpens them to reflect new connotations and contours.

Although he asserts that he has lived a contended life, the poet in him has an undying quest to go higher; to unravel new worlds and to conquer new terrain.

His new book displays collection of poems in different colors and hues where he transcends the borders of time and space and emerges as one of the prominent Urdu poets of the present time.

It is to the service of Urdu, the language of his expression, that VK never charges any royalty and whatever comes in his share is returned back to promote the language. “I love the language and want to promote it with whatever means I have, by writing, by expressing my thoughts or financially.”

As the octogenarian Urdu literary genius, Ibne Saeed, told him once, “You are a poet of amazing quality and I treat you among the front-row poets.”

His collection of poems ‘Meri Zameen, Mera Asman’ is now being translated into Hindi for those who do not know Urdu language but love Urdu ghazals and is due to hit the market soon.

S A HJ Rizvi