I Saw Myself: Journeys with Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai by Shabnam Virmani, Vipul Rikhi

Category: Non Fiction
Publisher: Penguin Random House India
Rights: World rights available (excluding Indian subcontinent)

Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai was a great 18th century Sufi poet who can, without exaggeration, be called the voice of Sindh. He used the famous love legends of Sindh and Punjab, such as Soni-Mahiwal and Sasui-Punhoon, to weave a web of poetry which plays tantalisingly between the levels of ishq-e-majaazi (worldly love) and ishq-e-haqeeqi (spiritual love).

This book retells many of these stories, proposing often surprising interpretations of the legends. It offers deep and subtle insights into Latif’s poetic use of the stories, based on research on the ground with singers from the thriving oral traditions of Latif’s poetry. It also brings into English many of Shah Latif’s most visceral as well as moving poems, spanning a variety of themes from ‘taking the plunge’ to ‘cutting off the head’.

The authors: Shabnam Virmani, Vipul Rikhi