- Writer Amitav Ghosh and poet Shahid Ali were friends for a little while.
- Shahid was dying with blood cancer and their friendship bloomed when one of them was dying.
- One day Shahid asked Amitav to write about him, his poetry and about his Kashmir after his death.
- It was an unusual request and quite confused pained, Amitav agreed.
- Shahid died, better say, his soul left his body at 2 A.M. on December 8.
- An unbridgeable emptiness filled the author’s mind.
- “So brief a friendship” resulted in “so vast a void”.
- Both Sháhid and Shahid – “witness and martyr” – mingled and melted into eternity.
- The author kept his promise. He wrote this article on Shahid Ali – “Ghat of the Only World.”
- Lapses of memory – Memory failure
- Lucid – Able to understand; having clear
- Jocularity – Joking or jesting; meant to be taken as a joke
- Innocuous – ih-nok-yoo-uhs – not harmful; harmless.
- Quizzical – Odd; queer; comical
Starting – Shahid As a Poet
- Shahid or Shahid Ali was a poet. Through his poems, through his melodious words and stunning sentences, he gave liberty to life to shake hands with death.
- Knowing the fact very well that time was limited, Ali opened his treasure-trove of enormous life force and tied Ghosh with the ropes of nostalgia.
Shahid’s Love for Kashmir
- His words revealed the heat of the political lava during his stay in Kashmir.
- During this short period of their friendship Shahid had left some fabulous brushstrokes of an unambiguously different Kashmir.
- Even being a firm believer in the separation of politics and religious practice, he set apart the separatism, atrocities and violence that had already led the paradise to a paradise lost.
- When his childhood loitered about in the room of Srinagar, he fervently placed a desire of desires to his parents. It was but to establish a small Hindu temple inside his room.
- He was no pharisaic at all, even at the time of his standing on the burning atlas of Kashmir.
- With the passage of time, idols and other trappings were bought by his mother, and the innermost part of their house became the holiest place a temple.
- In this way, his house became a religious confluence of Hinduism and Islam.
Shahid’s love for Food
- Even during his last stage of cancer with everything confirming his death, Shahid was able to enjoy food and talked about food.
- Whenever there was a party around, he attended it without failure.
- Was it to please his hunger or was it to please his companions, we do not know.
Shahid and Cancer
- For Shahid Ali cancer was like a joke. He admitted it but never admitted his defeat to cancer.
- “Almost to the very end, even as his life was being consumed by his disease, he was the centre of a perpetual carnival, an endless mela of talk, laughter, food and of course, poetry.”
- He celebrated life that anybody could think he was defeating death day by day. But death builds no paradox.
- Shahid was suffering from cancer, some fourteen months at the beginning of the account.
- When he could see nothing, his words appeared to be a moving epitaph, “I hope this doesn’t mean that I’m dying…”
Shahid and Amitav
- Amitav kept his promise, and opening into painful and tender memories with concealed skill, which hid his pain even from himself.
- Agha Shahid Ali was everything Amitav Ghosh lost and hence The Ghat of the Only World has been written to reincarnate him – to breathe life into their unbroken friendship.