Sabah – Essentially a Poet

Daulat Rahman

He starts his day by spreading the light of knowledge. He spends half of the day by inspiring students to dream big and help them to realize the same. Besides teaching, he also takes care of the crucial deal of doing public relations for his school.  He rushes home soon after school gets over to take care of his close and dear ones. He is a responsible son, husband, loving father and a great friend. But despite his hectic professional & personal life, he sometimes becomes a recluse when a poet and dreamer arises in his inner self and makes him restless to pen verses. Though a multitasker, poetry essentially nourishes his body, mind, soul and justifies his living a life as a humanist.

The young man for whom I have used a long narrative is Saikh Md. Sabah Al-Ahmed. The sole reason for using such narrative about Sabah is my fascination for him for keeping poetry an inseparable part of his life despite his long list of precious and unavoidable preoccupations in professional as well personal life.

On how he fell in love with the subtle art of verse-making, which is basically an inborn and innate trait privy only to a few, he opens his heart out: “Since 1989, when I was a 15-year old Class 9 student of Don Bosco School, Panbazar. On a (random) day that year, I somehow felt a deep urge within me to pen down something on paper. I realized I could compose verse then and there. Since then, my journey with verse-making has continued for the last three decades. Whenever I feel an urge to pen down a few lines, most likely of a sudden thought or an idea, an emotion, an incident that touched/touches me, etc, I jot it on paper in the form of verse.”

Presently serving as a faculty of English and Social Science as well as a Public Relations Officer (PRO) at Don Bosco School, Panbazar, Guwahati Sabah was born and brought up at Lakhtokia, one of the oldest and prime localities in Guwahati.

After completing his high schooling from Don Bosco School, Panbazar, Guwahati, Sabah graduated with Honours in Political Science from Cotton College, Guwahati and then completed a Masters in Political Science with specialisation in Public Administration from Gauhati University, Guwahati.

He served as lecturer at the Regional Institute of Journalism and Mass Communication (RIJAM), Ambari, Guwahati, for a couple of years, (2002-2003). He has had fleeting stints as a teacher: Aryan Academy Junior College, Ganeshguri as lecturer in Political Science (June-August, 2004) and Paramount City High School, Bhagadattapur, Kahilipara as Social Science teacher (March-July, 2007). In between these, he joined North East Television (NE TV), the first satellite news channel of Northeast, on September 1, 2005 as News Coordinator and Anchor in the English News Desk. He later joined The Sentinel on August 1, 2007 as Sub-Editor on the Editorial Page, where he was a member of the Edit Page team. He finally resigned from The Sentinel to pursue his freelancing career and has hitherto around 500 published articles to his credit, including book reviews. He was one of the founder members of the now defunct ‘Poets Guild’, which came into existence on January 1, 1998 at Maligaon, Guwahati, with eminent poet Nilamani Phukan as its Founder Adviser. He has been publishing his poems in North East Sun, The Assam Tribune, The Sentinel, The Telegraph and Eclectic Northeast since May 1997, besides contributing for other news magazines such as Eastern Panorama as well as poems in annual Souvenirs like Reminiscences, Preetir Enajori and others. His Assamese poems have been published in dailies like Dainik Agradoot, Asomiya Pratidin, Janasadharan, to name a few.

He has so far authored three books including his debut anthology of poems Tranquil Musings – collected poems (Wordsmith, 2010), which was reviewed by eminent litterateur and Jnanpith awardee Dr. Mamoni Raisom Goswami and released by legendary (former) BBC South-Asia Correspondent Sir Mark Tully at the Asia International Literary Festival on December 3, 2010. Dr. Mamoni Raisom Goswami in her review had said: ‘After going through his poems, I felt that an outstanding poet has arrived on the banks of the Brahmaputra.’ His two other books are Contemporary Chronicles – Polity, Society & Culture (DVS Publishers, 2012) and Past of the Present – A Historical Quest (DVS Publishers, 2012). His forthcoming novel titled The Crimson Enchantress is the biography of Dr. Mamoni Raisom Goswami.

His books have been widely reviewed in both national as well as regional English dailies like The Telegraph, The Assam Tribune and The Sentinel by prominent literary personalities like Mitra Phukan, eminent author, columnist and Hindustani classical vocalist, Srutimala Duara, Associate Professor, Department of English, Handique Girls College, Guwahati, and Prof. Mini Gill, Department of English, Sri Aurobindo College, Delhi University, New Delhi.

His creativity is now all set to reach a global platform. A collection of 10 of his English poems has been selected for translation into Italian. Naples-based Italian writer and poet Giorgio Moio would be translating the poems, which will be published in the January 2019 issue of Frequenze Poetiche, a popular publication that gives space to young and established poets across Italy and beyond. Accepting the development with all humility, he says “It has given me inner peace and satisfaction as a poet which is priceless.” The news of his poems being selected for translation into an Italian anthology has found wide coverage in the media, both regional and national including The Hindu, The Times of India and The Telegraph.

I am quite optimistic that Sabah’s creativity will win many more accolades in days to come. His father (late) Alhaj Malik Hafizur Rahman was a prolific writer and story-teller in Assamese literature. Creativity is in Sabah’s gene and gene is always expressed. So will be Sabah’s creativity.

        Aroma and stink of peace and chaos

I walk along the gravel road and
solace follows me;
I assume.

I could hear the silence
within me;
the aroma of peace and
of tranquility.

The road then abruptly ends:
A dead end.
The horizon too stoops low and
I couldn’t bend myself though.

I get the stink of chaos
in my nostrils;
The road ends and
the aroma vanishes;
The stink was still there as I took a new diversion.

  Saikh Md. Sabah Al-Ahmed

Daulat Rahman, a former journalist with The Times of India and The Telegraph, is presently an independent journalist and a freelancer. He also writes for The Sentinel, and can be reached at daulat.rahman@gmail.com