Volume - 11 : Issue - 4

Published : Oct. - Dec. 2012

Group : Literature

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Tribute to
Shri Prabhu Jotumal Chugani “Wafa”

Who left for heavenly abode on 17th December 2012.

Prabhu Wafa was born on 19th September 1915 in Larkana, Sindh (now in Pakistan) into an affluent family. His father (Diwan) Jotumal Gyanchand Chhugani wa a prominent lawyer who was fond of poetry and music. Prabhu’s father and his ancestors (like many other Hindu families) were followers of the great Sufi and Vedantic Saint and well-known poet Rohal Fakir, whose dargah was at Kandri Sharif in Sukkur district, Rohiri Taluka of Sindh. They used to visit the Dargaah at least twice a year where the fragrance of Sufism and Vedanta enriched the soul of the visitors. It was here that Prabhu came under the influence of Sufism.

In the year 1930, when he was hardly fifteen, Prabhu Wafa read his ghazal in a Mushaira in his native town Larkana (Sindh). In the gathering were present some very well known poets like Nawazali Niyaz, Mehmood Khadim, and Ali Mohammed Kadri. Prabhu Wafa astounded everyone with his beautiful ghazals. Since then, Wafa has never looked back and has since come to be recognized as a poet par excellence. He is loved and respected by the entire Sindhi community.

He learnt the first lessons of prosody under the able guidance of the master poet Nawazali Niyaz and studied at Government High School, Larkana and later in D. J. Sindh College in Karachi. In 1938, he became a Graduate from University of Bombay and married Suddha in 1942.

Wafa is known not only as a lyrical poet, but also as a thinker. Imbued with Sufi thoughts, he was a citizen of the world. He has composed poems in all forms, like ghazal, geet, baet, vaaee, rubaaee, and haiku etc. He has given to Sindhi, the beautiful gift of a new form which he named ‘Panjkada’- it is a small poem of five lines. Some poets agree with him when he claims that a panjkada has the sweetness of ghazal, and the depth of rubaee or doha or sortha. His book of panjkadas, ‘Surkh Gulab Ain Suraha Khwab’ won him the Sahitya Academy Award in 1981. He was a recipient of many other prizes including Gaurav Puraskar from Government of Maharashtra. Some of his poems have been translated into Russian, and different Indian languages.

Hari Daryani ‘Dilgir’, a major Sindhi poet has written that he cherishes the beautiful language, music, and the flight of imagination in Wafa’s poetry. He has applauded his poem ‘The Cuckoo’ which according to him is in no way inferior to the compositions of poets like Shelly and Wordsworth on the same topic. Some Sindhis call him the “Shakespeare of Sindhis

Sindhishaan conveys heartfelt condolences to the bereaved family. May the great almighty give the fortitude and strength to his near and dear ones to bear the tragic and irreplaceable loss.