The Ghat of The Only World

This lesson“The Ghat of the only world” is a friend’s tribute to a friend. In The Ghat of The Only World, Amitav Ghosh recalls all memories of his beloved friend in order to fulfil his promise. This is a profoundly emotional response to respect a friend’s desire to write something about him after his death.
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The Ghat Of The Only World

The Ghat Of The Only World

A short summary of The Ghat of The Only World

The writer had a friend named Agha Shahid who knew he wouldn’t live long, so he asked the writer to write about him when he wouldn’t be there anymore. The author kept his promise. The author and Shahid were both studying at the University of Delhi. However, their time at the university had overlapped briefly. They never had met. Shahid belonged to Kashmir and moved to America in 1975 where his brother had already been settled. The two sisters of Shahid also joined them later. Shahid used to write poems and published a collection of his poems. The author had read some poems and was very impressed. But so far he had never met Shahid. The two had friends together. One of them contacted the author, Shahid. From 1998 to 1999, the two had several phone conversations and even met a couple of times.

The Ghat of The Only World

The Ghat of The Only World

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Shahid had a sudden blackout in February 2000. The tests showed that he had cerebral cancer. On 7 May 2000, the author went to Shahid, where he worked as a teacher. With his students, Shahid was very popular. Shahid now moved to Brooklyn in order to be close to his youngest sister. The writer lived a few blocks away, too, and the two met very often. On 25 April 2000, the writer phoned Shahid and reminded him of their friend’s invitation to lunch.
Shahid spoke to the author about his approaching death for the first time and asked him to write something about him after his death. The author kept a record of all his talks and meetings with Shahid. He noted that Shahid shared the music of Roshanara Begum, Kishore Kumar and his fondness for Rogan Josh, and his interest in old Bombay films. And both shared a cricket indifference. On 21 May 2001, Shahid was admitted to hospital.

He was very weak now, and could hardly stand. However, he was as happy as ever. On 27 October, the writer met him last. He died on 8 December 2001 at two o’clock. Without Shahid, the writer says he feels a great void. He feels surprised that such a brief friendship has led to such an enormous void. She often remembers Shahid’s presence there when he walks into his living room.

The Ghat of The Only World

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Detailed Summary Of “The Ghat of the Only World”

The Ghat of the Only world is a friend’s homage to a friend almost in the manner of the Romantic Essayists. In this essay, the writer Amitav Ghosh recalls all the memories of his beloved friend Aga Shahid Ali. At the beginning of the story, Shahid suffered from a malignant brain tumour. When he couldn’t see anything, his words seemed a touching epitaph, ” I hope this doesn’t mean I’m dying… ”

And a few words later, his wish also moved his friend, “When it happens, I hope you’ll write something about me.” Agha Shahid Ali, a Kashmir expatriate, asks Amitav Gosh to write something about him and his poetry when he dies. Amitav is dumbfounded by this unusual request of Shahid. He could think for a while of nothing to say. He looks for words in which one promises a friend that after his death one will write about him. Finally, he agrees and says that he will definitely write about him.

An indomitable emptiness fills the mind of the author.”So brief a friendship ” results in ” so vast a void. ” Both Shahid and Shaheed—”witness and martyr “— mixed and melted eternally. Now, to fulfil his promise, Amitav Gosh responds with this beautifully warm piece of writing in which he not only talks about the world of Agha Shahid Ali’s verse but also about his personal experience of moments shared with him.

It is, therefore, a tribute to Aga Shahid; a poignant obituary that gives us a very poignant vision of this is a profoundly emotional response to a friend’s desire to write something about him after his death.

He feels that his beloved ones call him from the other world. Ghat is an Urdu word also used in Hindi which means a place at a river bank from where the boats depart with passengers to the other side. Ghat is used as a metaphor for death and the only world symbolizes the man’s life on this earth and Ghat is the bank ( point of death) which takes the man to the other world.

Shahid as a Great Poet and Music Lover

Agha Shahid Ali was a profound lover of good poetry and music. He was a great poet and always enjoyed the company of poets and writers. He was strongly influenced by James Merril, who changed the direction of his poetry radically.

Shahid loved music, too. He enjoyed doing tasks against the background of songs and voices. Even the doorbell ring had a musical sound. His mother was also a famous singer from Gazal whom he remembered a lot. Through his poems, his melodious words and his amazing sentences, he gave him the freedom to live and gladly shook his hands with death.

Knowing that he would die at any time, Shahid Ali opened his treasure trove of the enormous strength of life and tied Ghosh to the ropes of nostalgia. He was also very strong in repartee. This sheer dynamism was his way of life until ” the last saffron of the Shahid world ” was gone.

The Ghat of The Only World

The Ghat of The Only World

Shahid’s Love For His Homeland

The love of Shahid for Kashmir is shown in most of his works such as ” The Country without a Post Office, ” ” Eleven Stars in Andalusia, ” etc. He sees Kashmir as a possible ” flashpoint of a nuclear war ” and warns in ” Ghalib ‘s Ghazal ” that ” terraced cities ” and ” marble palaces ” can be reduced to a ” wild ” if peace in Kashmir is not achieved. Ali talks about exiles in ” Eleven Stars in Andalusia ” not only in Kashmir but also in Spain and Palestine.

Shahid loved his homeland even in the last stage of his life. He wanted Kashmir to come back and die here. To quote his own words, he said, ” I want to return to Kashmir to die. ” His words revealed the warmth of the political lava during his stay in Kashmir. During this short period of their friendship, Shahid left an unambiguously different Kashmir with some fabulous brush strokes.

Shahid Was a Secular Person

Even being a firm believer in the separation of politics and religious practice, he set apart the separatism, atrocities, and violence that had already led the paradise to a paradise lost. At the point when his childhood loitered about in the room of Srinagar, he intensely set a craving of wants to his parents. It was but to build up a little Hindu sanctuary inside his room.

He was mainstream and comprehensive even at the season of his remaining on the consuming map book of Kashmir. His mother conveyed icons and different trappings to her home and the deepest piece of their home turned into the holiest place a temple. Along these lines, his home turned into a delightful religious blend of Hinduism and Islam. He vision tended always the comprehensive and ecumenical.

Shahid’s Love For Food and Festivity

Shahid was food and celebration maniac. His ability in the kitchen was unbelievable. He would spend days planning and arranging a supper party. He thought I wouldn’t give him any chance to be discouraged. He loved the Kashmiri was on a lot, especially the rogan josh.

Despite his last phase of illness with all affirming his death, Shahid could appreciate food and talk about food. He went to it without disappointment at whenever there was a meeting. Whether it was to satisfy his aspiration or to satisfy his friends, we have no foggy idea. All things considered, he always appeared an as-as insane person of food and festivity appeared.

Shahid And His Terrible Disease

Shahid Ali was a valiant and powerful person. Even the terrible illness such as cancer could not break his mind. He was a fighter and in the face of misfortune, he never lost courage. While at the hospital, he refused to take help from a wheelchair and preferred to walk his feet. Cancer was like a joke to him. He admitted but never admitted his cancer defeat.

“Almost to the very end, even though his life was consumed by his illness, he was the centre of a perpetual carnival, an endless meal of talk, laughter, food and, of course, poetry.” He celebrated the life that everyone thought he was defeated every day. But death does not create a paradox. Shahid suffered from cancer at the beginning of the account for 14 months. When he couldn’t see anything, his words seemed a touching epitaph, he said, “I hope it doesn’t mean I’m dying”. He was truly a multifaceted figure.

Shahid And Ghosh as Friends

When Shahid came close to his death, he asked Amitav Ghosh to write something on him. Ghosh tried to console him that he was going to be okay soon, but Shahid Ali seemed to accept his destiny. Amitav kept his promise and opened painful and tender memories with a hidden ability that even hid his pain from him. Agha Shahid Ali was all Amitav Ghosh lost and therefore the Ghat of the Only World was written to reincarnate him in order to breathe life into his uninterrupted friendship.

Shahid and Hospital Scene

Shahid’s remarks to a man in the hospital about reading Spanish especially about
Lorca is as moving as possible. When a blue-uniformed hospital guard arrived with a wheelchair to carry Shahid when the time came to leave the hospital. Shahid waved him away and walked alone. But his feet buckled after a few steps. The escort of the hospital returned. Shahid smiled and asked his address for him. The hospital escort said he came from Spain. Shahid clapped his hands and shouted loudly, ” I always wanted to learn Spanish, only to read Lorca. ” García Lorca was a famous poet and playwright, as you know.

The uncertainty of the last sleep lingers dramatically. Critically speaking, it is a very interesting analysis of Shahid’s poetry, his experience as a diasporic poet who, through his verse, kept building an imaginary homeland, his dual relationship with Kashmir and its problematic topology, and above all his desire to die in his homeland.

Shahid Was an Extraordinary Teacher

Shahid was a brilliant teacher as well. Amitav writes he had heard a lot about his teaching ‘s brilliance. In 2000, he was also taught at Baruch College and this was his last class. He discovered that day how much his students loved him. The students had a magazine printed and dedicated it to him. When an Indian student arrived late, Shahid greeted her with a loud voice, ” Ah, my little subcontinental is here!” It was always the feeling of patriotism that moved him when he saw or behold another South Asia.

He remembered Penn State ‘s time with complete pleasure. Once he told a vibrant group of students that he grew up as a reader, a poet and a lover. Shahid used to say he was the happiest time of his life in Penn State. He then went to Arizona to graduate in creative writing. He then carried out a number of jobs at colleges and universities. He taught at Hamilton College, Massachusetts University and finally at Utah University, wherein 1999 he was appointed professor. When he got his first blackout in February 2000, he left the University of Utah at the time.

The Ghat Of The Only World

The Ghat Of The Only World

Tag: The Ghat of The Only World

Shahid was a Wonderful Repartee

Repartee means the person who is quick and amusing in a conversation with answers and remarks. Once at the airport in Barcelona, a woman security guard stopped Shahid for a security check. She asked what he did for Shahid. Shahid said he was a poet. And the woman asked him what he did in Spain. Shahid said he was doing poetry. The woman was very irritated. She asked Shahid in anger if he carried anything that could be dangerous for the passengers. Shahid clapped his hand uniquely at his chest and shouted: “Only my heart.”

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Textbook Questions

Q.No.1 What were the common things between Ghosh and Shahid?

Ans The common things between Ghosh and Shahid were that they both loved the music especially the music of Kishore Kumar, Roshanara, and Begum Akhter. Both shared the love of Rogan Josh. They both had a natural indifference to cricket and equal attachment to old Bombay films. Above all, they had a common roster of friends in India and abroad.

Q.No.2 What are things that Shahid loved?

Ans Shahid was the profound lover of good poetry, good music, and good food. He loved the music of Kishore Kumar, Roshanara, and Begum Akhter. He also loved the old Bollywood films. He had a passion for Kashmiri food. He always loved rogan gosh. He had a friendly nature and, therefore, loved the company of others. There was never an evening when there wasn’t a party in his living room.

Q.No.3 How does Shahid face death? Describe the hospital scene?

Ans Shahid faced his death with extraordinary courage The dreadful disease of cancer could not break the spirit and never lost courage in the face of misfortune. He thought he was to meet with his mother after-life.

Once before his death, he was in hospital and escort came to him with a wheelchair. He refused to take help of a wheelchair and preferred to walk on his own. However, when he walked a few steps he could not proceed forward. The attendant was called again.A.kind of joy came upon him, when the hospital orderly returned with the wheelchair, he gave him a smile and asked where he was from. The man said that he was from Equador. He clapped his hands and said at the top of his voice that he always wanted to learn Spanish in order to read Lorca.

Q.No.4 Who is James Merill?

Ans. He is a poet who radically altered Shahid’s style of writing poetry and often started experimenting with strict metrical patterns and verse forms.

Q.No.5 Pick out the elements of humour from the lesson?
Ans. Shahid was a humorous person. He loved to be happy wished to see others be happy too. Once at Barcelona Airport, a lady security guard asked him what he was doing in Spain.S had replied that he was writing poetry. When the lady asked him if he had anything that could be dangerous for the passengers, he sharply clasped his hand to his chest and cried, ”only my heart”.
Also, once in hospital escort orderly brought a wheelchair for him as he was too weak to stand but with a big smile, he waved him away.
Q.NO.6 What facilitated Ghosh to fulfil his pledge? How did it help him?
Ans Ghosh had promised Shahid that he would write about him after his death. To fulfil his pledge Ghosh started recollecting a record of every moment that he spent with Shahid. He also gathered all the information that he could about Shahid’s life. All this helped him to fulfil his pledge.
Q.No.7 How was shahid’s reputation as a teacher among his students?
Shahid was a successful teacher. He performed a series of jobs in colleges and universities. Due to his brilliant intelligence and art of teaching, he gained a great reputation among the students. They held him in deep love and respect. For some time, he taught at Manhattan’s Baruch College. When he was to leave this college, the students published a magazine and dedicated the issue to him.
Q.NO.8 What does “ the ghat of the only world” mean?
Ans ‘Ghat’ is an Urdu word also used in Hindi which means the place at a river bank from where boats sail off with passengers to the other side. Here ‘the only world’ is a symbol of the man’s life on this earth and the ‘Ghat’ is the bank ( point of death) from where a man departs for another world. Thus it is the only death which takes a man to the other side. Ghat is simply used as a metaphor for death.
Shahid dreamt he was at the ghat of the only world – the world of the gone. He was to bid adieu to the world of the living. Having gone past pangs of life he was cradling “in supreme consolation”, that is, “I love to think that I’ll meet my mother in the afterlife if there is an afterlife.”

Q.No.9 Write down the personality profile of Aga Shahid Ali.

Shahid Ali was a multi-faceted and glamorous personality. He was born in Srinagar and had studied in Delhi. Later, he migrated to America and served in various colleges and universities. He has authored many books which include The Country Without Post Office, A Walk Through The Yellow Pages, Rooms Are Never Finished and many other books. Shahid was a fine scholar and brilliant teacher. His students loved and respected him. Shahid was a profound lover of good poetry, music, clothes, and food. He always thought of Kashmir and was hurt by the mounting violence in the valley. Though he was not a political poet his finest work relates to writing about Kashmir. Shahid outlook was ecumenical. He did not believe in the mixing of politics and religion. He never lost the courage in the face of misfortune. Even dreadful disease of cancer could not break his spirit. He refused to take the help of the wheelchair in the hospital. He was a fighter throughout his life.
Shahid was a good dreamer. He knew that he was s going to die at any time. So, he seriously requested Ghosh to write something about him when he dies. Shahid also used to say that he will meet his mother in the after-life.

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Q.NO.1 How do Shahid and the writer react to the knowledge that Shahid is going to die?

Ans.: When Shahid approached Gosh out of the blue that he would die and asked for him to compose something about him, Ghosh was shocked and astounded. He couldn’t discover words, the most effective method to react. He attempted to reassure him. “Oh dear! I can’t see a thing… I hope this doesn’t mean that I am dying,” The dread of death was plainly obvious in Shahid’s manner of speaking and use of words. He got terrified when he felt out of the blue that he was passing on. At the point when his infrequent memory slips turned out to be more genuine with the progression of time, the acknowledgement of death moving closer ends up more grounded. When he was in a discussion with Amitav Ghosh, he said in a reasonable ringing voice-“When it happens, I hope you will write something for me.” The author could consider nothing to state on such a subject. He reassured him that he would get well soon. But, finally, he had to guarantee, “I’ll do the best I can”. From that very day, the essayist began tracking all of the conversations and meetings he had with Shahid. This record helped him to satisfy his promise.

Q.NO.2 Look up the dictionary for the meaning of the word ‘diaspora’. What do you understand of the Indian diaspora from this piece?

Ans.: The term diaspora originates from an ancient Greek word signifying “to scatter about.” And that is actually what the general population of a diaspora do. They dissipate from their country to places over the globe, spreading their way of life as they go. The Bible refers to the Diaspora of Jews banished from Israel by the Babylonians. But, the word is currently additionally utilized all the more for the most part to depict any extensive scattering of displaced people, dialect, or culture. With reference to the specific situation, the Indian diaspora turns out to be more conspicuous in Ghosh’s compositions.

From this content, we come to realize that various Indians have settled in various nations of the West, particularly in England and America. Agha Shahid, his brothers and two sisters, Suketu Mehta and the author shape some portion of the Indian diaspora in America. Shahid had a place with Kashmir and relocated to America in 1975. his senior sibling was at that point settled there. His two sisters are additionally gone along with them later. These individuals, however living in another land, always remembered about their underlying foundations. These Indians feel a feeling of solidarity and continue meeting each other on different. Narendra Modi as of late turned out to be extremely celebrated for giving talks to India’s diaspora over the globe.

Q.No.3 What did Amitav feel like when he was asked to write about Shahid?

Ans.: Amitav was puzzled for some time. He could consider nothing to the state. He didn’t get the words in which one guarantees a companion that one will expound on him after his passing. He endeavoured to console him.

Q.No.4 What do you know about Shahid as a poet?

Ans.: Shahid’s most commended work is The Country Without a Post Office, published in 1997. The Country Without a Post Office had established a great connection on his readers
His voice was unique – at once lyrical and fiercely disciplined, connected and yet profoundly inward. Not for him the taunt easygoing nearly composition of so much contemporary verse. His was a voice that was not afraid to talk in a bardic enrol.

Q.No.5 What makes you think that Shahid Ali and Amitav Ghosh were chance acquaintances?

Ans.: We suspect as much in light of the fact that their late friendship was a piece of fate. Everything started in 1998 when Amitav Ghosh cited a line from “The Country Without a Post Office” in an article that touched briefly on Kashmir. At the time all the author’s knowledge about Shahid was that he was from Srinagar and had studied in Delhi. Himself having hailed from Delhi University, Amitav’s time and Shahid’s briefly overlapped. The two shared companions, however, and one of them place Amitav in contact with Shahid. In 1998 and 1999 they had a few discussions on the telephone and even met two or three times however they were close to colleagues only when Shahid moved to Brooklyn the following year.

Q.No.6 What fed and strengthened their friendship?

Ans.: Once remaining in Brooklin, in Shahid’s neighbourhood, Amitav soon found that both of them shared a great deal in common. At this point, obviously, Shahid’s condition was already serious, yet his disease did not hinder the advancement of their companionship. They had a colossal roster of common companions, in India, America, and somewhere else. They found a common love of rogan josh, Roshanara Begum, and Kishore Kumar; a shared lack of concern to cricket and an equivalent connection to old Bombay films.

Q.No.7 Do you think that Shahid’s cancer played an important role in the making of two friends?

Ans.: Yes, due to Shahid’s condition even the most unimportant trades had an exceptional charge and criticalness. The unpreventable agony of discussing food and half-forgotten figures from the past with a man who knew himself to be dead was multiplied, in this instance, by the information that this man was also a writer who had achieved significance. Shahid had an alchemist’s capacity to transmute/change the unremarkable/common into the mysterious.

Q.No.8 What incident does the author quote to explain this?
Ans.: Once Amitav Ghosh happened to go with Iqbal, Shahid’s brother, and Hena, his sister, on a trek to get him home from the doctor’s facility. At that point, Shahid had just experienced a few unsuccessful tasks. Presently he was back in doctor’s facility to experience a surgery that was proposed to ease the weight on his mind. His head was shaved and the state of a tumour was obvious upon his exposed scalp, its edges laid out by metal sutures/fasten. When the time had come to leave the ward a blue-formally dressed healing facility escort touched base with a wheelchair. Shahid waved him away, proclaiming that he was solid enough to leave the healing centre without anyone’s support.

Question.No.9 What impressions of Shahid do you gather from the piece?

Answer: Shahid Ali was dynamic and handsome personality and seems, by all accounts, to be a noble soul. He was born in Srinagar and had received education in Delhi. Later, he relocated to America and served in different schools and colleges. Shahid was a fine researcher and splendid educator. His students adored and regarded him. Shahid was a significant admirer of good verse, music, garments, food and festivity. Being himself a good poet he always enjoyed the company of poets and writers. His wit, sharpness of tongue and sense of humour were also unique. He was a sharp repartee. He usually thought of Kashmir and was pained on the mounting viciousness in the valley. Despite the fact that he was a secular and was not a political writer, his best work identifies with expounding on Kashmir. Kashmir became more or less the central theme of his writing. He never lost the mettle in the encounter of misfortunes. He was a warrior and never lost courage. Even dreadful disease of a malignant tumour couldn’t break his spirit. He declined to take the assistance of wheelchair in the hospital and preferred to walk on foot by himself. Above all, he always liked to remain happy and wanted to see others also happy. Surely he was a gifted person.

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Thankyou for this amazing chapter.Each and every thing has been explained greatly.


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Khurshid Wani
Khurshid Wani

very helpful notes.Thank you


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