IT was Rudyard Kipling who said, `Oh, East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall meet.` Now Khurram Ali Shafique has discovered similarities in the literary works of Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai and William Shakespeare (`Something rich and strange`, April 25).
It is strange indeed as one finds no such similarities even after a thorough study of the works mentioned. The main character in The Tempest was Prospero, not Miranda, and William Shakespeare (1564-1616) wrote his poetry and drama in the tradition of Greek and western literature `All the world`s a stage.`
No doubt, the poetical works of Shakespeare attained versatility and prominence which no other writer could attain in the western tradition. Moreover, his writings are indeed a rich source of entertainment as well as enlightenment even in this age of print and electronic media.
On the other hand, the poetry in Shah Jo Risalo by Abdul Latif Bhittai (1689-1752) was musically composed in the Sufi tradition; subsequently it became a source of empowerment and solace for the feeble and the
Not only this, but Shah Jo Risalo also contains prayers for the prosperity of Sindh and the well-being of the whole world. There is a different kind of vastness in this poetry, the kind that is not found in Shakespearean lines.
Thus finding similarities between such different and unique literary works is not only strange but amazing.
The only similarities present in the sublime literature of any period are common human values and virtues, irrespective of language or clime, because noble human values and virtues are the same in all parts of the world.