Sufism in Poetry
Beginning with Ahsan Habib, Abul Hossain and the reformed Syed Ali Ahsan in the 40s, many elements of Bengali tradition and ideology permeated the nationalist sentiment in the poetry of the 50s and 60s. There may be a separate study on this. But it came sometimes as a literary reference, sometimes as a means of expressing emotions; it did not come with complete philosophy.
Chanchal Ashraf is talent; His prose is direct and fluent; but lately it is noticed that he sometimes expresses extreme views on things like art and literature: this is a sign of literary radicalism; this trend is not healthy. So distrust of what appears to be his superstition is an element of the modernist syndrome. Ranjit Das in his interview said about this, 'Moderns think there is no God. Apparently I agree, but as I ponder the mystery of creation, I realize that science does not say that there is no creator behind creation. It is a complete misconception of modern man.' What Chanchal Ashraf thinks is superstition requires the 'eyes of the heart' to perceive.
And it would be very incomplete without saying something about one. He is Al Mahmud. Al Mahmud, the poet of 'Sonali Kabin', was once anointed in the 'Islamic' genre. But he did not turn to Sufism. If he had gone, we would have received an extraordinary gift from him. "Al Mahmud is a shining example of the fall, which has no chance of salvation," says a fickle Ashraf about Al Mahmud. I am not that pessimistic. The door of mercy is never completely closed. Al Mahmud is an authentic poet. Surely he could feel the truth, beauty and potential of Sufism.
In such a situation, Sufism can be an open door to bring back the connection with the prevailing thought of Bengal (not advocating a backward walk, but talking about the possibility of rediscovery and synthesis) and for the excellence of contemporary poetry and the pursuit of the deepest humanity in individual and social life; It can be a fertile field for ideological development; And the various shoots of this possibility are already visible.
In West Bengal also, various things are going on. For example, Murari Singh's book Postmodern and Charyapad can be taken. Seeing these signs, Sufism may soon appear in Bengali poetry and Bengali psyche as an ideology and as a source of creativity and as a motivation point for human excellence. In this age of radical inaction, in this age of militant brutality, in this age of new socio-political crises, the romantic and emancipating philosophy of Sufism can reinvigorate the veins of civilization and literature. Bengali poetry can be immensely enriched by Sufism.
So the write up can be close with the remark of Ranjit Das. He said in an interview, "It is almost an inviolable fact that poetry itself cannot be written if it is not inspired in some way by Sufi thought. As a result, I think that even the most modern poets can find a Sufi touch in their poetry because the basic foundation of Sufi philosophy is the meditative imagination of the individual. This is also the basic basis of creating poetry. Moreover, there is a similarity in the relationship between Ashik and Masuk. That is why Sufi poets are the only exponents of Sufism. That is, I mean, poetic composition, like Sufi practice, is a mystical process, in the very technical sense of imagination. So these days I think poetry means Sufi poetry."
The writer is an Associate Professor, Department of English at Northern University Bangladesh