The Cool Breeze From Hind
A Spiritual Travelogue.
The third book of Jaihoon breaks the mould: It transcends accepted norms in narrative techniques to become the first crossover literary work that binds the ethos of expatriation with the marvel of mysticism.
‘The Cool Breeze from Hind’ is a spiritual travelogue. It cuts through the passage of time, the spread of geography and the demarcations of demography to describe humanity in a vein seldom explored before: Through sketches of the impressionists of yore and the present. They are randomly picked from history and modernity to convey a contemporary interpretation of history.
The book adopts the language of the heart. The first-person narration in English – the language of expatriation – is gleamed further by Arabic, the author’s language of spirituality, and Malayalam, his language of own heritage. In many ways, it marks the coming of age of a new sense of identity – that of the expatriate mind shaped by total devotion to one’s homeland and an equal loyalty towards his adapted soil – that is yet to be recognized at large.
It also heralds the arrival of a new generation of Indian writers in English, who do not write for the West’s applause but sets out to define an uncharted territory that is culturally, socially and economically still binding on India in ways more than one.
Jaihoon has impressed a whole spectrum of Internet-users through his philosophy-driven portal. With the third book, following Egoptics and Henna for the Heart – two milestones in modern Indo-Arab writing – he turns to brilliant visual metaphors and powerful imagery to describe contrasting worlds that become one in a spiritual quest.
Ultimately, Jaihoon’s literary journey, which even cuts into a bye lane of ruthless self-appraisal, is about self-discovery – and understanding humanity in a different light..
Neo-Imperialism has appeared not only on the political scene, but also on the cultural domain of human civilization. Never before in history has ‘Might’ been so ‘Right’. The culture and ethics of the Dominant Nation is forced upon the Weaker Ones using all possible means, fair and square. The latter are denied their right to defend their eroding heritage and any such efforts are labeled with negative terms, sometimes even by inventing new terms in the language.
As the world continues to expand in knowledge, breaking the man-made idols of political boundaries, the modern mind is getting narrower day by day. He fails to accommodate others’ views and beliefs, let alone give them respect. The dilemma situation is that when one is in love with his own culture, he develops prejudice against others’. Or he neglects his own heritage and his eye glitters with others’. Very few can dare to remain firm in one’s own convictions, and simultaneously appreciate the diversity in human societies.
“The Cool Breeze from Hind” is based on the experiences during the travels I undertook in my homeland to bring back the past with its true color and to pay my respects to the ceaseless struggle against Colonialism and Imperialism- a major part of which has remained hidden…. It is my Personal Philosophy of Patriotism. An Indian’s aspiration for his homeland, without ignoring his resident land where he has been brought up.
The name Cool Breeze has its roots in a poem of Allama Iqbal, the great visionary Poet-Philosopher of Indian subcontinent. The poem entitled, Hindustani Bachon Ka Qaumi Geet, contains a couplet,
‘Meer-e-Arab Ko Aaayi Tandi Hawan Jahan Se,
Mera Watan wahi hai, Mera Watan wahi hai’.
The ‘Cool Breeze’ is apparently referring to a saying of Holy Prophet, ‘I feel a cool breeze coming from the direction of Hind’. According to the Islamic belief, the Holy Prophet is the best among all the creations. For such a creation to address the Indian nation in such great words, I felt there was a mystery behind it. It was that greatness of my homeland that I wished to uphold in front of the world.
My first impression about the book was that it was the product of a burning heart endowed with mystic vision and wisdom. I was only taken aback when asked to write a Foreword for such a work of literature, as I believe it is beyond my capacity to do so. Perhaps the only motivation was my association with Iqbal Academy Hyderabad and its activities with the object of disseminating the dynamic and universal message of Iqbal.
The warmth of the author’s sincere words melted me and I could not say ‘No’ to his request. As a result, here are my “Stray Reflections” on the book at hand.
Firstly, the title of the book, ‘The Cool Breeze From Hind’ has fascinated me as it refers to a saying of the Holy Prophet (Peace be upon him). It is a symbolic expression with delicate shade of meaning. This symbolism is given a spiritual twist by attributing to it a mystical dimension. Nevertheless, its historical value remains unquestioned.
The second striking point is ‘Jaihoon ’- the pen name of the author, derived from a couplet of Iqbal. Allow me to quote its translation:
“In the heat of the fire of Rum is your remedy,
On your intellect the Franks have cast their spell;
My eye is illumined by his grace,
By his munificence Jaihoon is contained in my ewer”
In his masterpiece, ‘Javid Namah’, Iqbal identifies himself with “Zinda Rud”, meaning a vibrant river full of life. Javid Namah is a journey to the heavens. But ‘The Cool Breeze’ is a spiritual travelogue across the author’s homeland. Yet, many similarities may be traced in the style and technique of the presentation.
The metaphor of ‘river’ is very dear to Iqbal. A single reference will elucidate this point.
“O Spring rain! The shell and the pearl are worthless
If they do not throw the heart of the river into ferment”
The reader will surely agree with me that the vibrant waves of Jaihoon have thrown many precious pearls on the shore.
In this travelogue, the historical consciousness of the author is reflected sincerely. We come across with many personalities and places in very relevant perspective. Though the author feels proud as a son of Hind, he has a deep-rooted passion for his homeland. Yet, he does not remain a captive of the narrow barriers of ethnicity. It is not earth-rootedness, rather serves as a point in space to diffuse a universal message, which is neither bound by time nor space. The author is equipped with a creative future-oriented insight.
The tale of Nightingale (Jaihoon) and Rose (Tasbih) advances covering a variety of topics. The approach is philosophical, rather mystical. The author aggressively takes on the prevailing conventions, both modern and traditional, and is ruthless in this criticism of his own community’s lethargy and hypocrisy. He draws startling conclusions while analyzing the past and observing the present, which is sure to raise eyebrows among the conservative circles. In between there are ‘pauses’ enriched with beautiful and powerful imagery which refreshes the reader’s mind. The fascinating style of the beautiful language of the heart captivates one’s imagination and transforms the reader to become a co-traveler along with the author.
In the Epilogue, we come across with the creative passion of ‘Firaq’ (Separation) which inflicts pain, grief, restlessness and longing for the ‘Beloved’. It is a very forceful impulse which invigorates the ‘lover’ to continue his journey kindled with the flame of love.
Ultimately the mystery of the ‘Cool Breeze’ unfolds. The wailing and heart-rending dua’ is responded. Jaihoon realizes that, “The Beloved is hidden in your heart”
‘The Cool Breeze’ symbolizes the intensity of love which transcends from the solitude of the ‘Cave of Hira’ and echoes from the ‘Mount of Faran’ and reaches to ‘Arafat’ reverberating with an eternal message of love and mercy for all the domains of existence.
Jaihoon has a long way to go. He has to grapple with the vibrant waves and bring forth precious pearls. May Allah keep the flame of ‘Love’ burning in his heart! I salute his bright future.
Iqbal Academy Hyderabad
Publisher: Adam Publishers & Distributors, Delhi
Year 2006 (Second Ed.)