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|A “Lahori” poet with anti-war poems
Nirupama Dutt, Chandigahr Tribune, India
In fact the lineage of this cricketer turned poet, who works as vice-president of Habib Bank in Lahore, is from Rajouri in Jammu and Kashmir. Disclosing this in an interview in the city today, Sadiqullah says: “It is coming home in ways more than one. Our ancestor Raja Rahimullah was the ruler of Rajouri. We were Rajputs of Kangra origin and my forefathers were allies of the Sikhs. When the British handed over Jammu and Kashmir to the Dogras we were given the option of surrendering to them or moving out of their territory.” This is how they were relocated in Samman Burj, a fort built by Maharaja Ranjit Singh in Wazirabad in West Punjab. The large clan of the Raja still lives there.
However, Sadiqullah shows none of the snobbery of an aristocratic background. From his college days in Lahore he was attracted to the progressive groups and the suffering of the common people are the theme of his poems. “In 1971 when I was a fresher in Government College, Lahore, I was deeply affected by the 1971 Indo-Pak war and I wrote a poem called ‘Jangi Qaidi.’ It was chosen for ‘Ravi’, the college magazine, and wasn’t I proud.” Proud because he reveals that this was the magazine that had nurtured poets like Allama Iqbal and Faiz Ahmed Faiz.
Sadiqullah writes less but his one collection ‘Pehala Poor’ is considered one of the milestones in new Punjabi poetry written across the border. His poems on Siachen and Kargil are widely appreciated as they speak of the misery of war on both sides.
“Although I belong to a martial race my poetry has always cried out against conflict. Perhaps the one who has been in the thick of it knows its sorrows well.”
When asked how does he combine his interest in cricket, his career in banking and his passion for poetry, the handsome poet says with a smile, “I do not let cricket and banking interfere with the poet in me and I don’t let poetry meddle with sport and my livelihood.”
From Lahore Chitrkar Web Data: http://www.lahorechitrkar.com