Times have changed
Even though they
Sky is red
Now hearts black,
Even though they
Times have changed.
(One of the poems from the book titled ‘Change’)
This beautiful poem is penned by the youngest English poet from Kashmir, Abdullah Bin Zubair. The 12-year-old poet from Delhi Public School, Srinagar, wrote his first book – a collection of poems – ‘No Place for Good’, which was published by a renowned publishing house from the valley, Jay Kay Books.
Highlighting his likes and dislikes and what inspires him, Abdullah said, “I have always admired the works of Kashmiri-American poet Agha Shahid Ali; he is one of my favorites.” In his maiden effort, Abdullah has penned poems that have birthed from his thoughts and observations of everything around him. A collection of 52 poems, he has covered topics ranging from politics to female infanticide. His words are an expression of his anguish, sorrow and raise questions on these varied topics.
Abdullah stays with his parents and a younger brother who is also equally accomplished. “My brother writes columns for newspapers and is an artist as well,” he explained. Syeda Afshana, his mother, who is also his inspiration, is a professor at the University of Kashmir, while his father Zubair Saleem is a doctor. Talking about his mother, Abdullah adds that she bought him books at an age when he couldn’t even read. “You could say I grew up with books. My mom would get me books in English, Hindi, and Urdu when I was just seven years old,” explained Abdullah.
A student of grade 8, Abdullah also has a penchant for filmmaking. Interestingly, he has already released a short film called ‘Lockdown Fir Se’ on his YouTube channel. The film focuses on the current pandemic situation of the valley.
The title of the book ‘No Place for Good’ is also the title of one of the poems from the book. Explaining his reasons behind the choice of title, Abdullah explained his despair over people’s unkind behaviour today. “Evil dominates good,” he said, recalling an incident when his relatives in Jammu were robbed when they were not in town. This incident
inspired him to express the distress he felt about the incident, through poems.
Though he has published a book of poems, Abdullah prefers to read stories and books, by authors such as Paulo Coelho and Ruskin Bond. The 2003 novel by Mitch Albom – ‘The five people you meet in Heaven’ – tops his list of favourite books.
Now that the book is released, Abdullah is coming to terms with the attention he has been receiving. “I listen to my friends talking and promoting my book with their friends and family members. Well, simply put, I feel proud,” said Abdullah