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Sunday, September 28, 2008

Sheer Abandon With Sarmad Sehbai By Harris Khalique

When I chanced upon a copy of Pal Bhar Ka Bahisht from a fresh stack of assorted newly published titles lying almost at the entrance of a bookstore, I called Sarmad to congratulate him. While instructing me to buy a copy at once, he used his characteristic expletives for the literary adversaries in the same vain and then asked me to meet him as soon as I finish the book.

Poet, playwright, film and theatre director, Sarmad Sehbai, is one of the most original and important artists Pakistan has ever produced in Urdu, Punjabi and English. His genius is multidimensional and atypical. Speaking to Sarmad at times reminds me of an incident from Agha Hashr Kaashmiri’s life. Agha Sahib, the pioneering dramatist of Urdu, left Benaras to visit all possible natak (drama) companies across India. He would meet the owners, directors, owner-directors, staffers, etc. and humbly tell them all about his skill and potential. He would read out passages and dialogues from his plays in a soft voice if allowed by them before getting dismissed.

People would not even give him a patient hearing, let alone a chance to write or perform for their companies. One day, he decided to change the style. He barged into the office of the owner of one of the biggest companies in the country. Thespians and business investors surrounded him. Agha Sahib, without any introduction, looked straight into the eyes of the owner and started reading from his work at the top of his voice.

After a while, he stopped and asked them all, who by that time were overwhelmed by his presentation, ‘Is there anybody in the whole of Hindustan who could write like this?’ Then Agha Sahib narrates how the meeting ended. ‘As I uttered these words, mouths of the envious were gagged forever.’ He got the job.


Anonymous said...

آج پہلی دفعہ اپنی زندگی میں کسی مشاعرہ سے آیا ہوں۔اوراس میں صف اول کے ۳،۴ شعراء میں سے ایک سرمد صہبائی صاحب تھے۔
بہت اچھا کلام انہوں ںے پیش کی۔

April 21, 2009 5:54 PM  
Blogger Talat Afroze said...

September 25th, 2009.
Dear Temporal:
I have been a fan of Sarmad Sehbai since 1980 (my university days). I am planning a web site featuring my selection of Pakistani Modern Urdu poets and this would include Sarmad Sehbai.
I would like to contact him regarding permission to post his poems (Ista-aaray Dhoondhtaa, Sooraj kay Naam, Ghazal having the couplet "Ankahi Baaton kee thakan").

Would it be possible for you to send me some contact info (email or official postal address) of Sarmad Sehbai ? My email address is "".

I would appreciate any help you can provide.

Warm regards

Talat Afroze, Ph.D.
Toronto General Hospital Research Institute, Toronto.

September 25, 2009 6:45 PM  

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