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In the year 1930, when he was hardly fifteen, Prabhu Wafa read his ghazal in a Mushaira in his native town Larkana (Sindh). In the gathering were present some very well known poets like Nawazali Niyaz, Mehmood Khadim, and Ali Mohammed Kadri. Prabhu Wafa astounded everyone with his beautiful ghazals. Since then, Wafa has never looked back and has since come to be recognized as a poet par excellence. He is loved and respected by the Sindhi community.

His geets have been sung by almost all the popular and great masters of Sindhi songs. Be it a gathering of scholars, or a religious meet in a mandir, his lyrics always occupy a position of honor and get spontaneous approbation from all sections of the public. His brother Ratan and sister Kamla were accomplished singers and they used to sing Wafas melodious geets wherever they sang. His sister Sheela still sings his songs. It is thus that his poems became popular and are sung and broadcast from almost all stations of All India Radio. He is known not only as a lyrical poet, but as a thinker too. Some of his books are prescribed as text books by several universities at Undergraduate, Graduate, and Post-Graduate levels. Some of his simpler poems are included in school text books also.

Prabhu Wafa was born on 19th September 1915 in Larkana, Sindh (now in Pakistan). In pre-partition days, Larkana was popularly known as a nest of singing birds because many prominent Sindhi poets were living in this town. Great poets like Kishinchand Bewas, Nawazali Niyaz, Hyderbux Jatoyi and Rashtra Kavi Hundraj Dukhayal belonged to this town. Prabhu Wafa was born in an affluent family. His father (Diwan) Jotumal Gyanchand Chhugani was a prominant lawyer who was fond of poetry and music. Prabhu’s father and his ancestors (like many other Hindu families) were followers of the great Sufi and Vedantic Saint and well-known poet Rohal Fakir, whose dargah was at Kandri Sharif in Sukkur district, Rohiri Taluka of Sindh. They used to visit the Dargah at least twice a year where the fragrance of Sufism and Vedanta enriched the soul of the visitors. It was here that Prabhu came under the influence of Sufism. The pure spiritual atmosphere awakened knowledge in him and gave him a deep understanding into the vicissitudes faced by mankind. He’s neither Hindu nor Muslim. He loves every human being from all corners of the world, at the same time he is a  Patriot and loves his country. His patriotic songs are broadcast on the days of National importance by All India Radio. The poet in him is an optimist and believes in raising gardens evens in dry deserts. He believes that India will be the richest and greatest country in the world despite its present weaknesses and short-comings.

Prabhu learnt the first lessons of prosody under the able guidance of the master poet Nawazali Niyaz. It goes to the credit of the teacher as well as the student that all intricate lessons were completed in just three days. Prabhu picked up all the nuances of poetry and came out as a mature poet. Today Wafa is considered as an Ustad and younger poets come to him for guidance. Prabhu studied at Government High School, Larkana, and later in D.J. Sindh College in Karachi. In 1938, he became a Graduate from University of Bombay. Wafa married Suddha Chhugani in 1942, and today at the age of 95 he is leading a happy family life.

As a person, Wafa is loving, kind, and forgiving. By nature, he is reserved and does not like to talk about his own poetry, but encourages novices and speaks to them with an open heart about his contemporaries and colleagues. Wherever necessary, he extols and applauds good compositions by other poets. Imbued with Sufi thoughts, he is a citizen of the world, with special love for Sindh and India. He does not consider anyone alien. His life is a placid river without any whirlpools or storms in it. He is neither a politician, nor a businessman. He is a poet and a humanist of a high order. He has lust for life and considers this world to be a place to live in. He goes on drinking that cup of life and is satiated. He will continue to cry “One more, still one more”; at the same time he does not fear death, which is a sure destiny of all beings. He has a simple religion, and does not believe in rituals. In one of his haikus, he says “Do good Karma. See yourself in others, and do unto others which you would like them to do for you”. He is an agnostic and is not very sure about rebirth or transmigration of the soul. He believes in good thoughts and good deeds.

Wafa has composed poems in all forms, like ghazal, geet, baet, vaaee, rubaaee, and haiku etc. He has given to Sindhi, the beautiful gift of a new form which he named Panjkada. It is a small poem of five lines. Some poets agree with him when he claims that a panjkada has a sweetness of ghazal, and the depth of rubaaee or doha or sortha. His book of panjkadas, ‘Surkh Gulab Ain Suraha Khwab’ won him the Sahitya Academy Award in 1981. He is a recipient of many other prizes including Gaurav Puraskar from Government of Maharashtra. Some of his poems have been translated into Russian, and different Indian languages.

Hari Daryani ‘Dilgir’, a major Sindhi poet has written that he cherishes the beautiful language, music, and the flight of imagination in Wafa’s poetry. He has applauded his poem ‘The Cuckoo’ which according to him is in no way inferior to  the compositions of poets like Shelly and Wordsworth on the same topic. Some Sindhis call him the “Shakespeare of Sindhis”  Other contemporary writers have also paid rich tributes to him. His love songs are made up of word pictures and can be set to muse.

Read more at: (Pyaar Kare Dis)

  1. We wish uncle a very Happy Birthday. Hope you will have a wonderful birthday surrounded by your loving family, friends and well wishers.

    Affectionately, Rita and Pavan

  2. Meera permalink

    A very happy birthday and have a wonderful day.
    Meera Bhanote

    • neetu niju permalink

      Resp bhaera uncle umra ki dahliz par ugti rahe sambhawnae ……………………………..chhu bhi na pae apko is jag ki yatnae ……………………………….sapne ho sakar apke puri ho sab kamanae ……………………………….janamdin par ham sab ki yahi shubhkamnae ……Wish you a very happy birtday may you live many more years iwas mesmerised by your biography and achievements made by you. ………………………………..Regards …………………………………………………..Neetu Niju

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