Reading with insight
Question 1. What impressions of Shahid do you gather from the piece?
Answer : The author Amitav Ghosh’s write up on Shahid reveals that the poet was a multi-faceted personality. Even the dreadful disease of cancer could not break his spirit. He was a fighter and never lost courage in the face of misfortune. He refused to take the help of the wheelchair while in hospital and preferred to walk on his feet. He was an extremely gifted teacher as well.
Shahid was a profound lover of good poetry, good music and good food. He, himself, was a good poet and always enjoyed the company of poets and writers. His wit and sense of humour were also unique. Basically, he was a secular man. The political situation and violence hurt him so much that his poem’s central theme became ‘Kashmir’. He was a gifted person, indeed.
Question 2. How do Shahid and the writer react to the knowledge that Shahid is going to die?
Answer : Shahid spoke to the narrator about his approaching death for the first time on 25th April, 2001. After a long conversation, Shahid wished that the narrator should write something on him. The narrator tried to console him that he would be fine soon, but the poet seemed to have accepted his fate with dignified grace. The narrator, at last, agreed to the poet’s request.
Shahid never lost courage when the tests revealed that he had malignant tumor. He bore all the discomfort with fortitude even when he was about to undergo the surgery. He remained a fighter and preferred to walk rather than sitting on a wheel chair. In his last moments, he was at peace with himself and talked about meeting his mother in the life after death.
Question 3. Look up the dictionary for the meaning of the word ‘diaspora’. What do you understand of the Indian diaspora from this piece?
Answer : The dictionary meaning of ‘diaspora’ is ‘‘the movement of people from any nation or group away from their own country’’. The narration,‘The Ghat of the Only World’ describes many Indians living in the United States, away from their motherland. Shahid lived in Manhattan and later shifted to Brooklyn. His sister taught at the Pratt Institute. Amitav Ghosh lived a few block away.
Though the narrator and Shahid lived in United States they loved Rogan Josh, Begum Akhtar and Kishore Kumar. Shahid had a passionate love for Kashmir, so that he wanted to go back to Kashmir to die.