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Published on: 05/2/24 5:54 AM

Book review: The Book of Bullah by Manjul Bajaj

THE BOOK OF BULLAH, A Selection of Verses by Manjul Bajaj. Amaryllis Books.
Sometimes it all comes together in a beautiful manner, as it has in this book: Bulleh Shah`s mellifluous verses rendered equally mellifluously in English by Manjul Bajaj, accompanied by some striking illustrations all sticking to the specific theme of footsteps, by Danette Gomes, set in a typeface that is most reader-friendly, and crowned with a gorgeous jacket the colour of a mellow sun.
Bajaj makes it clear that this is a work of love, a personal effort at conveying her understanding of the 17th century mystic/iconoclast Sufi poet and philosopher`s multi-layered and complex poems.
There is a preface that takes the reader into the life and times of Bulleh Shah, giving rich context to the verses that follow.
The poems touch on innocence, caste, community, village life, sorrow, ecstasy, longing but virtually all of this is subsumed in the poet`s obsessive love for his Master.
Bajaj describes the book as primarily a gift to herself. However, it’s a gift that gives to many others too, thanks be. Truly a lovely book.
This then, is my pick of the verses:
Judges are happy with bribes, death the mullah pleases
Lovers are happy with music, their faith never decreases
Amaryllis BooksBulleh ShahEnglish renditionManjul BajajSufi poetryThe Book of Bullah

Sheila Kumar • May 2, 2024

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