Right from Alaam Kei Charagho (lamps of gloom) beginning couplet of its first ghazal, the readers can assess the trend the poet Saleem ur Rehman, is going for. It goes: ‘In Khushk Bayabanon Main Barsaat Karo Gei/Hum Par Bhi Kabhi Apni Anayaat Karo’ (Give rains to this desert as a part of Your blessing). This ghazal is hamdia (in praise of the Almighty) in its structure.While writing this ghazal, water shortage warnings caused by our neighbouring country constructing dams on our rivers in Kashmir, must have been at the back of the poet’s mind. In this frame of mind Rehman seems to pray to the Almighty for rain. This couplet is also a wakeup call for decision makers of the country to prioritise the water issue. One can only hope that the new government takes up this issue as its first main concern and constructs dams in light of the initiative taken by the chief justice. Through subtle use of metaphors, the poet emphasises the message without losing romantic element in his poetryTherefore, poetry with a purpose is the need of the present day. Rehman is known as a musicologist but he is basically a poet as evident from his second poetry collection. He plans to publish his Saraiki nazms (poems) and kafis in subsequent books. He is a critic as well. A couplet in his second ghazal attracted me; ‘Us Sei Kaho Keh Zoem Main Baar-e-Zameen Na Bun/Mitti Kahin Na Tere Liye Bud-Dua Kare’ (Tell him in his pride, not to be a burden on his land otherwise the soil of the land shall not spare him).Being music minded, Rehman has picked up a line ‘Maai Ri Kasse Kahun Main Apne Jiya Ki Peera’ (O mother how I can expose pains of my heart) – and built a nazm on this theme. It is a cry from the poet’s heart. I shall just quote one passage with its rough English translation, ‘Ghaao Ko Haldi Raas Na Aaye/Pal Pal Jeevan Khaata Jaye/Maas Ko Noche Sehaj Sehaj Kei/More Karam Ka Keera, Maai Ri’ (Turmeric does not heal the wound anymore/each moment life is being snatched and eaten/body is pinched slowly/by bug of destiny, O mother!).The best ghazal in this collection on (pages 27 to 29) is with Qafia Radeef, titled ‘Alaam Kei Charagho’. Last couplet with Radeef ‘Charagho’ is ‘Kutch Dair Tau Kum Ho Ik Jaan Ka Sulagna/So Jaao Do Ghari Ko Alaam Kei Charagho’ (In order to lessen the burning of this existence, let the lamps of mourning snooze for a while).According to Wikipedia, “the origin of “Qaafiyaa” is Arabic; it is the rhyming of the ends of the words. Ghazal is a form of romantic Arabic poetry. “Ghazal” is essentially “flirting” and quite often playful poetry. A ghazal which has no “Qaafiyaa” and Radeef is known as Ghair Muradaf Ghazal while which has any of these two then it is called a Muradaf Ghazal”. Migration is one of the biggest tragedies in one’s life; just ask your previous generation who left all their belongings and dear ones in India at the time of the partition. Rehman may have undergone one such migration experience; otherwise he would not have said a ghazal such as that appearing on page 128 of the book. The last couplet says ‘Yei Wast-e-Aab Ki Hijrat Bhali Nahi Hoti/Qareeb Aaei Ga Sahil Tau Tum Uter Jana’ (It is better to disembark on the seashore as the migration in the middle of the ocean shall not be a healthy experience). That is why before embarking upon a journey, Rehman says ‘Ik Sarwet-e-Yaqeen Dei Imaan Kutch Tau Dei/Mushkil Safar Kei Waste Samaan Kutch Tau Dei’ (Give me either trust or “Imaan” (belief) as luggage for a difficult journey) – page 123. Journey seems to be a favourite metaphor for the poet.Rehman’s poetry is not devoid of romance. He creates poetry in The Qafia-Radeef of Ghalib’s Ghazal ‘Saaqi Nei Kutch Mila Na Diya Ho Sharaab Main’ on page 77. By declaring his dreams as ‘Khana Kharab’ (house of evil), he says ‘Aa Tau Gaye Woh Mere Uss Roz Khwaab Main/Hairan Hun Kaise Thehre Woh “Khana Kharab” Main’ (My beloved did appear in my dreams that day but I keep on wondering how would he stay in my house of depraved). Saleem ur Rehman emphasises more on purpose through the use of metaphors in a soft manner in his poetry but romance is also seen among his ghazals and poems.Published in Daily Times, August 16th 2018.