The Ghat of The Only World

The essay “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 to fulfil his promise. This is a profoundly emotional response to respect a friend’s desire to write something about him after his death.

The Ghat Of The Only World

Short summary of The Ghat of The Only World

The writer had a friend named Agha Shahid who knew he wouldn’t live because he suffered a brain tumour, 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

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 the 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

Detailed Analysis 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 riverbank from where the boats depart with passengers to the other side. Ghat is used as a metaphor for death and the only world symbolises 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.

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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.

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. His vision tended always to the comprehensive and ecumenical.

Shahid’s Love For Food and Festivity

Shahid was a 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 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 a 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 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. ” Garcia 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.

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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 at Penn State. He then went to Arizona to graduate in creative writing. He then carried out several jobs at colleges and universities. He taught at Hamilton College, Massachusetts University and finally at Utah University, wherein in 1999 he was appointed professor. When he got his first blackout in February 2000, he left the University of Utah at the time.

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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Text Explication of The Ghat of The Only World

Amitav writes that on 25 April 2001, he had a routine discussion with Shahid. Amid the discussion, Aga Shahid Ali first time communicated before him about his approaching death. Although he had been under treatment for fourteen months, Shahid was still on his feet.

Aga Shahid let him know in the curious voice that he needs him to expound on him when he is gone. To cite genuine words, “When it happens I hope you’ll write something about me “.

On hearing these expressions of Shahid, he was stunned. At first, he can’t state anything besides after a couple of minutes, he managed to state to him that he would be okay and he must be strong.

Shahid was staying somewhere in the range of eight blocks from his Study. Prior he had been living in Manhattan. In any case, after tests uncovered that he had a dangerous brain tumour, he moved to Brooklyn to be near to his youngest sister Sameeta.

The author says when he consoled him that he would be fine, Shahid started to giggle. He understood that he was dead serious. He comprehended that Shahid was immovably entrusting him an explicit charge which he ought not to disregard. But, he was not able to pursue the words in which one guarantees a friend that he will write about him after he dies. At last, he let him know, “Shahid, I will. I’ll do the best can”.

All things considered, the creator grabbed his pen and noted everything about the discussion. He proceeded with this procedure for the following couple of months. It is this record that made him able to fulfil the pledge that he had made with Shahid that day.

The writer writes that he knew about Shahid’s work much time before he really met him. Shahid’s acclaimed collection, “The Country Without a Post Office” published in 1997 strongly affected him. The author likewise refers that Shahid was an incredible poet and interesting from numerous points of view.

The writer includes that in 1998, he quoted a line from The Country Without a Post Office in an article that touched briefly on Kashmir. That time he just realized that Shahid was from Srinagar and had studied in Delhi. He also had learned at Delhi University that time, however, had never met.

The author further said that they had numerous common friends and one of them place him in connection with Shahid. From that point forward, they had a few discussions and even they met each other number of times.

When they come to realize each other they found that they shared numerous things for all intents and purposes. Both had a big rooster of common friends in India, America and else. Both cherished the music of Roshanara Baigum and Kishore Kumar. Both likewise had an equivalent enthusiasm for rogan josh and different foods. Both despised cricket and both had a passion for Bollywood films.

Shahid was a devotee of suppers and party. He cherished social events. It gave him genuine delight. He frequently welcomed individuals for lunch generally for well-disposed discussion. Indeed, even his deadly illness did not block him from doing and getting a charge out of things. He was amazingly striking. Indeed, even his life was devoured by his perilous sickness, Shahid was always a focal point of the fair and boundless mela of talk, chuckling, food and poetry. One day a team arrived on a TV screen. Shahid spilt out, ‘I’m so shameless; I simply love the camera’.

Shahid transformed basic things into amazing ones. One day when Shahid was taken for a medical procedure. He had already experienced some unsuccessful operations. At the point when the time came to leave the hospital, a blue-uniformed hospital escort reached with a wheelchair to carry Shahid. Shahid waved him away and walked without anyone’s help.

But, after a couple of steps, his feet clasped. The hospital escort returned. Shahid smiled at him and asked him his location. The escort said that he was from Spain. Shahid applauded and cried in the most intense voice, “I always wanted to learn Spanish, just to read Lorca”. Garcia Lorca as you know was a popular poet and writer of Spain.

Shahid was strikingly capable in the kitchen. He would spend days over the preparation of dinner parties. He would welcome individuals to the gatherings. In one of such gatherings he gave in Arizona, he met James Merrill. James Merrill radically changed the style of his poetry. After he met James Merrill he started to compose the verse with strict metrical patterns and verse forms.

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Shahid has a great enthusiasm for the food of his valley. He adored the diverse variants of Kashmiri food especially Kashmiri food in the Pandit style. The writer writes that one day he asked Shahid for what reason he gave so much significance to it. Shahid clarified because he frequently imagined about the Pandits. He every now and again thought about how the Pandits have vanished from Kashmir and their food becomes extinct. This was what again and again haunted him.

Shahid was also an extraordinary repartee. Repartee implies the individual who is brisk and entertaining at answers and comments in a discussion. Once at Barcelona air airport, Shahid was halted by a lady security guard for a security checkup. She asked Shahid what he was doing. Shahid answered that he was a writer. The lady asked him what he was doing in Spain. Shahid answered that he was writing.

The woman got extremely irate. In indignation, she enquired Shahid if he was conveying whatever could be hazardous to the travellers. At this Shahid interestingly clapped his hand to his chest and yelled: ‘Just my heart.”

Shahid was additionally a splendid teacher. Amitav writes that he had heard a lot about the brilliance of his teaching. He once observed him instructing at Baruch College in 2000 and this was to be his last class. On that day he found how much his students cherished him. The students had printed a magazine and devoted the issue to him. At the point when a student from India arrived late, Shahid welcomed her and articulate in a noisy voice, “Ah my little subcontinental has arrived! ” It was the sentiment of patriotism that stirred him every time they would see another South Asian.

He recalled the time at Penn State with outright joy. He once said to a dynamic gathering of students who were mostly from India that he grew as a reader, he developed as a writer and he grew as a lover. Shahid used to state that his time at Penn State was the most joyful time. After, he went to Arizona to take a degree in creative writing. From that point onward, he played out a progression of jobs in schools and colleges. He was educated at Hamilton College, the University of Massachusetts and lastly at the University of Utah where he was selected as a professor in 1999.

When he had his first blackout in February 2000, around then he was on leave from Utah University.

Shahid was initially a resident of Kashmir. From 1975 onwards, when he moved to Pennsylvania, he lived primarily in America. His brother and two sisters also lived there, however, his parents kept on living in Srinagar. Shahid would spend the summer with his parents at Srinagar consistently. Shahid was a direct observer of the mounting violence that enmeshed the valley from the 1980s onwards.

Shahid was comprehensive and ecumenical in his outlook. Ecumenical means the individual who treats the people of various religions and groups parallel and one who joins the people of various religions and sects. In his childhood, he made a Hindu sanctuary in his room in Srinagar and his parents also supported him.

One day when the author revealed to Shahid that he was the nearest to the national poet of Kashmir. Shahid answered: ‘ “A national poet, But not a nationalist poet; please not that”.

Shahid was significantly connected with Kashmir. In “The Country Without a Post Office” he comes back to Kashmir to find its fallen minaret:

I will die, in autumn, in Kashmir,

And, the shadowed routine of each vein

Will almost be news, the blood censored,

For the Saffron Sun and the Times of Rain

The author says that one day he had a noted phonic conversation with Shahid. Shahid had gone to the hospital for a scan to check whether the chemotherapy he was experiencing had any constructive outcome. He called him a few times but there was no reaction. Then he called him the following morning, this time he replied. He calls attention to and said that specialists had halted all his medicines and they gave him less than a year.

On this, he told him what he would do. Shahid serenely answered that he would come back to Kashmir to die there. He added that he would not like to leave a wreck for his kin. He would come back to Kashmir where he would get a lot of help and his father was also there. However, later because of some logistical and different reasons, he changed his concept of coming back to Kashmir. He was contented to be laid for rest in Northampton close to one of his beloved’s Emily Dickinson.

In the last paragraph of the essay, the author wrote that the last time he saw Shahid was on 27 October at his brother’s home. They had a standard discussion with each other. There was no hint of stress or anguish on his face. He had made peace on the moving toward the end. He was quiet and surrounded by the love of his family and friends. The creator author says that Shahid knows, I imagine that I’ll meet my mother in the hereafter if there is hereafter” Finally, he passed on peacefully in his sleep at 2.0 a.m on 8 December.

The author concludes that in Shahid’s absence, he is amazingly flabbergasted because their so short friendship has brought about so tremendous void. The writer also says that he recalls him often whenever he strolls into his living room particularly on the night when he read them his farewell to the world: “I Dream I Am at the Ghat of the Only World…

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  1. […] There are two characters in this chapter. These two characters are Amitava Ghosh and Aga Shahid Ali. Amitava Ghosh is the author of the essay and he wrote the essay about Aga Shahid Ali, his friend. Agha Shahid Ali, a young and dynamic person, suffers from an incurable disease of a malignant brain tumour and knows that death will anytime knock his door. Being aware that he is dying very soon, Again Shahid asks the author to write something about him when he dies. At first, Amitav Ghosh can’t think of the words he can answer, but at last, he promises him that he will do his best to write about him. From that very day on, the author begins to recollect all the memories of his beloved friend’s in order to fulfil his promise. When Shahid Ali dies at the age of 52, Amitabh Gosh writes this wonderful essay about him which he names “The Ghat of The Only World.” […]

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