AVTAR SINGH AZAD
AVTAR SINGH AZAD Avtar Singh \’Azad\’, (1906 – 1972) the minor Punjabi poet, is not deserving of notice. Before independence, he had published four collections of poems, Swant Bundan (Drops of Bliss), Savan Pinghan (The Swings of Savan), Vishva Vedna (Plight of the World) and Kansoan (Intimations), and published a translation of the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam under the title of Khayyam Khumari (Inebriations of Khayyam). His style is rhetorical in the way of most Urdu poetry.
The influence of Bhai Vir Singh is visible, too, in some of his poems like Jivan ki Hai? (What is Life?) and Atak (Hindrance) in which there is a pun on the name of the river Indus when it passes soughwards between the Frontier Province and West Punjab of Pakistan and has a refernces to the legend of Maharaja Ranjit Singh crossing it on horseback at the head of the Khalsa army.
Though modern nationalist and socialist ideas find expression in many of his poems, he is on the whole traditional in both form and content. For instance, on the one hand, he writes of the factory workers. And on the other hand, he can write of the Sutlej. He earned more renown as a poet after 1947 with collections such as Ji van Nad (the Music of Life) and Son Sikhran (Golden Summits), 1958. He describes his dream of the new age.
He also reels, however, that his dream of freedom is very imperfect: The land is free today, but unequal scales Yet continue the old unjust division. During this period he published a translation of Guru Gobind Singh\’ Persianpoem, Zafar Nama (The Epistle of Victory) and also the Meghaduta of the great Sanskrit poet Kalidas. His greatest poetic achievement can be seen in his three epic poems Mard Agammara (The Unparalleled Man) about Guru Gobind Singh, Vishva Nur (Light of the World) about Guru Nanak and Mahabali (Man of Great Prowess), Maharaja Ranjit Singh. However, in his patriotic admiration for his heroes, he perhaps outsteps the limits of historical reality.
1. Kohli, S.S., Punjabi Sahit da Itihas, Ludhiana, 1955.
2. Mohan Singh, A History of Punjabi Literature, Amritsar, 1956.
3. Sekhon, S.S. and K.S. Duggal, A History of Punjabi Literature. Delhi, 1992.