Remembering Ata Shad
“I AM never hopeless but always optimistic about the future of the language that is Ata Shad’s medium of poetic expression”, commented Faiz Ahmed Faiz about Ata Shad, a famous poet of Urdu and Balochi language. Feb 13 was observed as the 16th anniversary of the death of Ata Shad. Born in February 1939 in Singani Sar, Turbat, south of Balochistan, Ata Shad received his schooling in his native place. He enjoys an unparallel status in the pantheon of Balochi and Urdu poets.
Initially, he used Urdu as his poetic expression, but soon, after joining a literary gathering at college, he also began to write poems in his mother-tongue Balochi. His remarkable contribution to literature, be it for Balochi or Urdu, is unforgettable.
Besides, he introduced Urdu with a new diction, coupled with fresh expressions. His unique style and vast imagination was acknowledged by legends like Ahmed Faraz, Dr Wazir Agha, Munir Niazi and Mujtaba Hussain. He had a great command over modern world literature too.
In Balochi literature he enjoys the same position as do his contemporaries in Urdu. Since his poetry is considered the best ever in the language, his rich vocabulary and highly sensitive style are the foundation of modern Baloch literature. He pioneered free verse and blank verse in the Balochi language.
Breaking fresh ground in the field of poetry was not enough of a contribution for Ata Shad who always dreamed of a society where hunger, injustice and cruelty have no room. He is also widely acclaimed for his contribution as a prose writer, translator, researcher and playwright. Unsatisfied with the tribal system, his poetic expression some time becomes a loud protest against cruel tribalism of his time. His repertoire includes two collections of verse in Urdu and two collections of verse in Balochi, besides translation, research-related work and Urdu-Balochi dictionary. Ata Shad died on Feb 13, 1997 in Quetta.