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Raja Ishaq Asad and I became colleagues in year 2000.The new millennium opened new vistas of associations, Raja sahib (as he is lovingly addressed by many) was one such memorable person.

A personality of myriad talents, he engages in poetry, music and art. A spectrum of abilities is concealed in his outwardly quite, humble and non-chalant self.

His first anthology (Khawab Hawa Ka Jungle Hai) "Dreams Afloat On Breezy Woods" was published in 1999.It was a lovers collection. Drenched with imagery of the beloved, soaked in sensuousness of consummated unions  and an occasional dirge on unrequited encounters  ---was the subject and focus of this collection.

Raja Sahib engaged himself in a series of calligraphic creations also in these years. In a span of 15 years he produced nearly 100 calligraphic images of the 99 names of Allah; and paintings on scenic beauties of nature. However the connection between his poetic work and his paintings is the very sedate tones and complexion in both creations: the painter's strokes are gentle, obscure and minimalist; the poet's whispers were quiet, tender and hopeful.

And then today. The poet, the painter and artist re emerged as a passionate force  fifteen years later. The passion of a cursed lover, the anguish of a disappointed human, the anger of  common man denied justice and life--- all fused as one and surfaced up in the form of his long poem in blank verse:  ( Baarish Mein Dhuli Dopahar) ''Rain Showers At High Noon''.

Raja Ishaq matured as an artist, wrenching himself from the quicksand abyss of Romance, while courageously facing the despicable truths and realities of life and living. I am sure the lover in him is still hopeful, but the poet is disillusioned.

Raja Ishaq is an accomplished singer and musician as well. His forte is Urdu ghazal and Punjabi folk geet; and his idol is presumably Late Jagjit Singh. The facility and gentility with which he paints and writes is reflected in his singing ventures also. He is credited with composing school anthems of two well-known educational projects of Pakistan as well.

One wonders, how many talents can one individual possess!

                                                     By:Ismaa Saqib Sultan


Raja Ishaq


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