Book Review

For Those Who Feel the Pain of Women“The Shattered She” is Just the Right Tonic- Gazi Muzamil




Publisher: The Indian Wordsmith

“The Shattered She” is a poetry collection composed of more than seventy-five poems reflecting Women’s pain, agony, struggle, love, and her passion towards shaping and chasing her beautiful dreams in a patriarchal society.  The book is tremendously painful revolving around a grief-stricken and exhausted women’s struggle in a male-dominated society. The book deeply touches the diverse facets of women’s varied shades of grey, black, and bleak driven by enmity, aspiration, and anxiety in her lifetime.

File Photo: Atif Khursheed Wani

The poems inside the book reverberate the emotional and sentimental lyrics gyrated around the subtle theme of women’s ordeal in this big colossal world. As a poet, Atif has narrated the metamorphic ordeal of a girl child from her childhood to motherhood and everything in between. This book is a fascinating amalgamation of the obvious yet hidden candour that deeply touches the diverse facets of women’s life driven by unimaginable pain, suffering, enmity, aspiration, anxiety and joyful colours of the most beautiful creature of this world-She.

The uniqueness of the book lies in every poem that starts with a title followed by a sub title which is rarely seen in poetic collections. The crux and theme is filled in the subtitle of a poem which makes it more bewitching and engrossing  to read. We have not only heard but also witnessed ,sometimes endorsed, the women’s struggles, their stories of pain, depression, violence and what not and most of the stories are told or inked  by women themselves but Atif has not relied on the already patriarchal self-made stigma and moved beyond and painfully sketched the diverse aspects of women swirling around the best and worst phases from her childhood to girlhood to motherhood and beyond. Through his elegant style, the poet takes a reader to the girl child’s cherishing days to her heard and unheard miseries. As time passed her horror transformed into delight, anxiety into peace and scare into delirium .He further takes us through the unchanging and established truth in which the lines for women are drawn and re-drawn by men, fates decided by men and lives are given directions by men and questions the claim and control of man over a women’s womb. He further reminds us that in a male dominated society there are some invisible lines that ‘she’ is not supposed to cross and only ‘she’ is taught what not to do. The poet has gallantly questioned all such patriarchal stigmas through his emphatic awe-inspiring poetic style in his debut poetry book.  He has painstakingly penned down the harsh reality of an unmentionable tragedy “She” is going through right from the natal day in this poetic collection.

Prisoner wasn’t I

Confined and caged

I was that love bird

With petals in beak.

Set me free  

Amidst fuss and fear

With birds in air

Singing Adam and Eve.

Most of the contemporary poetry books on women let us surge into the world of feminism. However Atif’s poems explore the relevance of feminism. Women within the confines of patriarchy deserve to breathe freely. Through his unique pulsating poetic style, Atif ignites the spirit of self-identity among women which is only possible through self confidence and resilience. He believes that the true freedom and glory for women would come after countering the chauvinistic demands of the male dominated society, rather than surrendering to it unconditionally.

After reading Atifs “The Shattered She” the reader will be mesmerized. One can easily fell in love with the poetic lyrics after reading this beautiful collection of poems. Atif artistically writes in rhyming schemes of the classical style with contemporary interpretation. This could be first poetic collection in which the struggle and pain of women has been depicted in brutal yet beautiful way. Atif is a refreshingly honest poet by heart. I could see the fragrance of Aga Shahid Ali in his poems.  He is the next generation poet of whom Kashmir will be cherishing and celebrating in future. His work will definitely take him to be counted in the iconic poets of world. “The Shattered She” will win the interest of larger audience and greatly meet up the expectations of quality literature hungry readers and will surely compel the reader to resemble the poet’s work with many famous bards.For all those who feel the plight of women irrespective of the gender this poetry collection is just the right tonic for them.

We seek and woo

The love of heaven

In blazes of abyss

Where “He” is chief

And “She” is cheap.

Pertinently, The Indian Wordsmith has congruously taken a gifted poet from Kashmir on-board that would inevitably mark the rise of Atif Khurshid in the literary empyrean. My felicitations go to the publisher “The Indian Wordsmith” and the author for bringing light to a real yet uncomfortable epiphany through this sterling poetry collection……. lavishly painful and generously delicate.

The reviewer Gazi Muzammil is a student,activist, writer and storyteller.
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