This piece, from our first volume, is part of Taufiq Rafat’s seminal essay on the Pakistani idiom, which was given to me by his son Seerat Hazir and has only been published before in a college magazine many decades ago. The Aleph Review is proud to archive this wonderful essay, but to understand it in its entirety, please pick up a copy of The Aleph Review, Volume 1!
The landscape of the poets is a landscape we recognise and understand. Their joys and frustrations are those we can easily identify. They have not yet exploited their myths and legends, the rhythms of our dialects and our songs, but the seeds, I feel, are definitely there. A beginning has been made. From the old myths, new myths will be born, till every object around us is raised to the level of a myth. All the quotations I have given are from the works of very young poets, most of them
barely out of their teens. It is to them we must look for the creation of a Pakistani idiom, for they are unconscious of its previous stigma, and at the same time are deeply conscious of their responsibilities. The Dom Moraeses and Zulfikar Ghoses of this world will always remain native-aliens, who will never be able to come to terms with their conscience or their craft. Only that writing can survive which has deep and firm roots. For as the poet Kaleem Omar says:
What lives, too long divided from its origins?
Taufiq Rafat (1927-1998) was an author and poet. His work greatly influenced other Pakistani poets and he is credited with the introduction of the concept of the ‘Pakistani idiom’ in English literature. Rafat conducted poetry workshops and influenced many younger poets. His books include Arrival of the Monsoon, Qadir Yar Pooren Bhagat, Half-Moon, Taufiq Rafat: A Selection and the translation, Bulleh Shah: A Selection.