I am Shahida Latif from Pakistan, I am the author of many books of Urdu poetry and one novel Saath Ishq “Seven Love Legends”. In my poetic career I made several tours abroad and participated in seminars and poetry reading sessions, during the international tours I was asked by the literary figures to write in English as well, so I wrote my first poetry book in English, titled “Drop The Weapons”, consisting of 70 poems. The book will be soon brought out, very soon. I have been appreciated a lot by the readers. I have been awarded Pride of Performance in Literature and Journalism in the year 2013. I hate bloodshed in the world, when any one is killed in war or in any conflict my heart weeps, I through my poetry want to give the message to humanity to end war and it the easiest to do so, just drop the weapons, enlarge your zones of acceptance, consider all men and women are children of the same parents; we can make the world more and more beautiful with love and patience and by preferring others interests to ours. It is the only way to maintain peace in the world, open your eyes and minds lest it should be too late. Love and peace for all.
DROP THE WEAPONS
By Shahida Latif
Dedicated to the hands that offer the gifts of roses in the world of weapons.
by Laura Solomon
While going through “Drop The Weapons” the poetic collection of Shahida Latif I got contentment and gratification that some serious poets in Pakistan are concentrating the global issues in their poetic endeavours, instead of traditional subject matters centring on only amorous affairs. The collection contains a variety of issues and multifarious aspects confronted by humanity at present stage of era. Shahida Latif, being a muslim by faith has unambiguous and clear-cut notion regarding omnipotence of God and puts a question to the derailed believers who have gone astray in material pursuits:
Do we believe in His Omniscience;
When we form, shape our opinions,
That our deeds outlawed remain unnoticed?
She possesses a mind with a vivid vision regarding existence of God or ever living Force behind the scheme of the universe, she like William Wordsworth can feel existing Reality behind appearances of the objects of nature living in singularity:
I can observe with vivid vision,
An evident soul hiding, concealing,
In layers of the colours, and fragrance,
Enveloping the whole scheme,
Manifesting in countless forms,
But living behind in unique singularity.
Another characteristic of Shahida Latif’s work is that it bears an ardent emotion for her motherland, her heart pains when she observes the people of her country suffering through any havoc. She wrote a very powerful poem on the earth earthquake that occurred in Pakistan in October 2005, describing widespread disaster, she believes that such calamites are not causeless they are either the test of endurance or outcome of our own misdeeds:
Whose blind deeds the earth shook off,
From its back, indifferent to the holocaust,
Its quakes made ravaging the lush crop of life,
Or these enormous bloody jerks and jolts,
Were the tests of our stock of endurance?
At one end Shahida Latif shows concerns over collective derailed deeds of humanity, and she is despised on encroaching consequences, but on the other hand she is optimist and harbinger of good tidings, she inform residents of the world about bright and glaring future waiting ahead:
The caravans are stepping ahead,
Birds are flying into the high zones,
This route will take a turn a slight afar,
You will find the destination in front,
And at the yonder end of the sight,
21st Century waits for you to greet,
With the best wishes and sweet tidings.
He poetess has much concern about the future of humanity, her heart throbs when she feels that the leading heads follow the same track and do not learn lesson from history and past experience. Standing amid the ruins she listens to a mysterious whisper, such a tendency lends to her poetry a mystic touch:
While engrossed I was in profound thoughts,
A mysterious whisper I happened to listen,
“Have men changed their olden route? ”
Shahida Latif though deals in her poetry with collective affairs of humanity yet she is a representative of women in the world, she in very powerful poems like ‘A Question’, ‘At the Gate of a Hospital’ and ‘The Voice of Woman’ indicated inhuman distinctive treatment exhibited to women all around in the world even in the developed and civilized countries, much is to be done to rectify the situation. She seems to be struggling for women empowerment through poetry and is confident for a tremendous change.
Shahida latif in her poetry invites the readers to be become the real characters of the world; they should counter bitter realities of life instead of escaping them and also she advises to follow the voice of wisdom instead of unbridled emotions which might engender disorder in the social fabric, she knows that a man of controlled ambitions only can render positive role, the romantic characters only suit to the romantic tales:
Those who follow the counsel,
Of the unbridled hearts are lashed,
Flogged, whipped and thrashed,
And have to suffer nothing but pangs.
In her poetry, she also deals with the very burning issue of ‘Child Labour’, her heart cries to see the children labouring in hotels, workshops, factories and searching their sustenance through collecting trash. A very few poets have made ‘Child Labour’ the subject matter of their verse, she is aware of the fact that it is a responsibility of the state to take up measures to eradicate such a curse as ‘Child Labour’ for who knows the child whose hands are black in the workshop and has a hammer or a spanners in his hands, or a child who is walking with the bent body under the load of trash what role he might play if he is given an opportunity to flourish his intellect and skills:
Why have the tides of time forced him to hold,
Heavy hammer, spanners, pincers and pliers,
And now I see him running, moving the wheel?
Why has blackness of the dark night smeared,
His dress, his hands, his feet and rosy cheeks?
Shahida Latif is against exploitation in the world; especially she is troubled when she observes the workers like shepherds, farmers and laborers who toil the whole day but sleep un-dined, and the business men make much money on their produce, she ponders at the whole game and seems to favour and agree with Carl Max:
Why the kids: the offspring of the sweating,
Toiling labourer not get the sustenance,
Inscribed, incorporated in the scrolls of fate?
Why doesn’t the mystery divulge itself at last?
Desertedness groans and moans.
Shahida Latif invites and gives a clarion call to residents of the world to render their share in making the world worth-living, if they cant not perform heroic deeds, they should perform the petty ones like picking up thorn and flinty pebbles from the path where upon the humanity passes, she is of the opinion that a little kind act is much better than a loud and boastful prattling:
Picking thorns, spikes and spines,
And flint pebbles and stones,
From the path don’t demand,
Heroic bravery and valour too;
Perform the task of your own share,
Though it be a minor act,
Of planting a petty plant of pretty pansy,
For a little kind act is much better,
Than a loud and boastful prattling.
‘Drop The Weapons’ is a title poem in which the poetess makes very influential appeal to the leading heads of the world as well as each and every sensible man and woman to end the curse of wars from which up till know has victimized billions of human beings their fuel. She recommends that wars can be ended if the fatal weapons be thrown in to the seas and they be replaced with the tufts of roses, the boughs of olives, or handful of fragrant flowers of jasmine, these must be scattered upon their enemies just once, the wars will be banished from the world instantly.
Although wars have remained un-banished,
Since centuries, yet you can send them exile,
In a day, or a month, but not more than a year.
Shahida Latif is a widely travelled poetess, she has a keen observation of the western society, there the social life is hilarious, and the residents are so much engaged in material pursuits that they do not have time to share worries of one another, family breaks up are common. ‘In The Multitude Of London’ she depicts very pathetic and splendid description of a beautiful woman who became the victim of break-up, she had cascading hair, blue shimmering eyes, silky skin, face with the grace of an angel, and sat casting down, on the steps of a terrace. Her figures spoke though she was silent, she seemed to be a pang ridden, heart broken being. She out of pity queried, “Oh! Girl what occurred to you? The woman jerked back the dishevelled eclipsing hair, moped drenched eyes, wiped rosy cheeks, and responded to her words:
“I am a victim of
The break-up, here the marriages are the jokes,
In my motherland only death separates the couples,
Though they go through the hard times.”
Shahida Latif has dealt with almost all issues confronted by the humanity in 21st Century; environmental pollution is a very difficult subject to be chosen for poetry, though it has been a burning matter for the prose writers and environmentalists. In her poem ‘Pollution’ she wrote very powerful lines and proved it also can be the subject of poetry as it too like wars is an issues of enormous importance. She is depressed on seeing smoke devouring clean airs; obscure and dusty spheres blurring the face of the Moon, she feels these signs may be omen some colossal encroaching catastrophe:
The spheres are obscure, dusty,
Ashes blur the face of the Moon,
The earth trembles on emerging,
Appearing, awful erratic incidents,
Which contaminate the blue seas.
The waves rise with the feeble move,
The smoke devours the airs clean,
The awakened eyes are depressed,
And dissuade all on seeing the tragedy,
Being performed on the stage.
Much can be said on the poetic work of Shahida Latif, as far as I think it is a worthwhile addition in English poetry; it certainly will get its due place with the passage of time. Diction of the poems and imageries are splendid, genuine and uncommon, her poetry is replete with metaphors and similes. Each and every line is spirited and alive which affect heart of the readers straight. Most of all it is a very satisfying matter that at present, in a non-English speaking country like Pakistan work on English poetry is being done which is not in any way less in standard and quality than being produced in English speaking countries. Residents of the world, organizations working for peace, governments as well as leading heads of the world must pay heed to her voice, her poetry is not mere a description and representation of sentiments of the teenagers but an intellectual effort to admonish humanity about the consequences and outcome of their irresponsible attitude towards global peace. I wish Shahida Latif should keep continue her efforts ahead as there is a lot to do for the world peace and harmony.