Vol. 5, Issue 4 (2019)
The hermeneutics of the symbolic imagery of eye in Shadab Hashmi’s anglophone ghazals: a study of “ghazal for the girl in photo”
Author(s): Amatul Hafeez Alvi
Abstract: This study attempts to fathom the depth of the optic symbolic imagery in the Ghazals by the Pakistani poetess Shadab Hashmi in the light of modern theories of hermeneutics, vision, imagery and symbolism. It aims to provide hermeneutics of the symbolic imagery of eye highlighting the artistic and aesthetic values her Ghazal teem with, and showing her exquisite craft in verbalizing mental images and expressing intangible ideas in a concrete form which enhances the readers’ engagement with the text through wonderful portrayal of reality. The study focuses on “Ghazal for the Girl in Photo”, a poem written in response to the photo of “Sharbat Gula”, the famous Afghani refugee girl whose photo was published in the “National Geographic” iconic of war and the suffering of refugees around the world. The poem is written in form of an archetypical autonomous Ghazal and is packed with prolific imagery. The most compelling and recurring is the imagery of the most sensory and symbolic human organ; the eye. The study examines the eye-related symbolic images in the poem and delves deeper in the text and beyond to show how the eye, each time mentioned gives mental representation of the unseen subjects of consideration lying behind the text. The study categorizes the eye images into four specific categories: imagery of eye motions, imagery of eye functions, imagery of eye colors and imagery of eye physiology. It concludes the importance of this optic depiction in portraying the sociocultural and psychological scenario of the poem, binding and creating meaning by making the author, the situation and the reader parts of the text.