Mystic realisations from an Afghan poet

haidari wujodi afghan poet

From the eerie silence of ashes marking the territory of a region marred by its existence in strife for long now emerges a melody of soothing prominence. Harbouring in its rhythm a peculiar comfort that overrules even the cacophony of the turmoil characteristic of this part of the world since forever, flows a string of words in the resonating assertion of their power, capable of sweeping across even the gravest realms of the misfortune, wherein languishes an appalling understanding of what humanity has come to be, despite all its progression along the lofty ideals of growth. Touching down upon this global realm of exploration of the perils of terror, and most notably the souls marred by soiled specks of such conflict, is therefore this medium of resistance that has nothing to do with retaliation in terms of power nor any undertaking of diplomatic leanings but persists rather along the wisdom of an adage rendered universal in its poignant deliverance of the pen being mightier than the sword. Of culminations as inconclusive as its lack of definity in beginnings is this stemming of the metaphorical expanse of the poetic that ends up delivering crucialsome lessons in human existence to the very humankind from which it finds utmost flairful expression as.

While there hasn’t been any aspect of the spectrum on which the universe rests that has not lent itself sufficiently enough for the art of poetry to spin its own magic across all such diverse realms of what has been shaping up the world since forever, the power of its transcendence is the most striking when it takes to dwelling in the musings of the mind. Forever evocative a medium of expression, through its vivid use of imagery and that describes gloomy renditions as forlornly as it exalts the desirous virtues of beauty, it is the surreptitious endowing of such ventures that present themselves as surreal realisations of the poesy that makes it manifest equally remarkably along the other dimensions of what constitutes the whole of the universe that concerns us all. Emerging from such detour to poetry as a medium of expression over its other essence as a mode of celebrating the variegated hues of what shapes up life and existence is a land of unparalleled riches that has long managed to present itself as one of the most sublime renditions of this art of literary and also as essentially of spiritual nature.

For years altogether, Afghanistan has been a land grappling with issues of a grave human crisis, that threatens considerably among many other things its pursuit of the arts- whether that be as a sheer manifestation of the ultimate art that life is or in exploration of what concerns largely the creative faculties of life. As the nation wherefrom arose the unparalleled legacy of Rumi, widely considered the greatest mystical poet of all time, this ‘graveyard of empires’ has been rich forever in its rendition of many an expression of artistic assertion, of unfortunately which only an insignificant amount of detail has managed to permeate the annals of what has characterised its existence through the times. Even beyond Rumi, this play of the mystic and spiritual has managed to uphold its integrity within the Afghan identity with an impressive list of such prominence, among which Haidari Wujodi makes for a notable presence. In fact so exclusively characterising his poetry is the spiritual understandings stemming mostly from the essence of his Sufi leaning much like Rumi that has led Wujodi to be referred to as the ‘Rumi of his times’. But navigating along this world of the mystical had also accorded this celebrated 20th century master of letting emotions take centerstage through the play of words a rather distinctive social identity. As someone who has seen his life wean away through the play of the imbalance that too much exertion of the political and the diplomatic has the ability to bring the world to, Haidari Wujodi’s identity as a poet and a scholar transmeates even the universality that what his poignant evocation of the world along the length and line of his many a verse ascribes him to.

haidari wujodi
Source: Twitter

Born in a small village in the Panjshir province of Afghanistan as one among the five children of a cleric, Wujodi’s childhood provided a favourable ground for his passion of poetry to take root as the mystic expression of Islam practiced in the Afghanistan of that time dwelled notably in the traditions of Sufi poetry, across which Wujodi came to conjure up so much of expertise. Exemplary therefore it is that despite his formal educating having been restricted to the threshold of the fifth or sixth grade, the young Haidari still could nurture his innate desire for touching upon the wider realm of substance that the pursuit of the arts enables one to, as he took to religiously reading some 200 books of handwritten poetry that his father had as religiously acquired. But even beyond this assertion of what would shape up as destiny for this 20th century great in the times to come, rested another experience of equally mystic realisations that changed forever the awareness of the world for Haidari Wujodi. As the occurrence of a dream sent him “tumbling between sanity and insanity” for several years altogether, Wujodi ultimately came to rest in a state of his natural balance, albeit across a transformation that would shape the course of what his future held for him. His encounters with a 60 something old Sufi Ashqari, another of the most prominent mystic poets endowed upon the teenage Haidari a strata of wisdom that shaped up his life and pursuit, deep seated in the subtle and silent but significant strolls into the ways of the world afforded through inroads into the deep trenches of poetry.

Across his desk at the Kabul Library from where he came to work a job some years later that indulged his passion, Haidari Wujodi developed also a certain voice of his own musings, delivered through the striking imagery adopted into his penning of the rhymes of reason as a mode of conveyance of what the power of poetry entailed the world in. With the conflict continuing to build up over the years about the state of affairs that governed the way of life of Afghanistan, Wujodi found himself witness to a visage unfolding on the other side of the window that was as stark a departure as it could be from a world that he was harbouring inside the precincts of his office, where he spent his whole life away in polishing ‘the heart’s mirror’ through his multiple inking of poems and verses, guarding in a rather enriching way the soul of the capital city of Kabul even as it continued to be torn by the ravages of war and the elusive promise of peace. Holding biweekly session of readings of Rumi and other 13th century master’s poems while continuing himself to delve deep into the world of the mystics, Wujodi hoped to help the ideals of faith and spirituality stay relevant still in their essence while treading the confines of a world oppressed by a reign of terror. But instead what he had to settle for even in his penchant for such realisations that dwelt essentially in peace through the otherworldly range of exploration of stuff catering to the human soul and beyond, was a certain lament, of humanity far away from attaining the dignity which should have been innate to it.

In therefore his identity as an existential poet who continued in a forever search for poetry to become the order of the day, not so much in prevalence as in its ideals, Haidari Wujodi rendered further immortal a style of Afghan poetry that he himself proclaimed was both subtle and profound. Equally profound had been the premised on which Wujodi set about life to achieve his goal of emerging as a broadcast poet, relying on the hope and vibes emanating from fellow passionate poets, each dreaming to make this world of word and line, of length and rhyme their own, again each eking out their own distinctive way. And eke he did, not just a place of his own but building along with it also a legacy as he went on publishing his compendium of works in no less than 15 books. But beyond his fame as a great scribbler of poems and the dedication with which he devoted his whole life to making poetry more accessible to each and everyone who cared about it, especially buoyant in the spirituality of it all, what Wujodi advocated the most was the relevance that Sufism has forever held in emerging as a voice of resistance against the Taliban regime within the Afghanistan context. Appalling it might therefore be a development that roughly a year after his demise in June 2020 due to COVID 19, Afghanistan has fallen once again into the merciless hands of the Taliban, the country grappling for a breath of the freedom that Wujodi so effortlessly led one to through his flair for relaying the phenomenal spiritualism inherent in the Sufi poems of all times. It perhaps then is no lesser than any irony, and a grave one at that, that the conditions of the past have returned to haunt once again the beloved land of Haidari Wujodi who made it his mission in life to transcend these bounds of what seriously deters the mystic pursuit of humanist beckonings. A cultural reviver, a social reformer and a rather assertive persona when it came to outvoicing the political furore through silent but resilient means, Haidari Wujodi would live on through his legacy that goes beyond the making of his identity as a mystic Sufi poet, and one of the most exemplary ones at that.