Welcome to this interview with Dr. Shadab Ahmed, a doctor, and author based in India, whose passion for writing has led him to explore the themes of love, mysticism, and devotion. A heartbroken lover and a mystic himself, Dr. Ahmed has recently published his translated and transliterated compilation of verses and sonnets in his book “Mashuq – E – Jaan: Love Longing and Desire for the Beloved”. In this interview, we will delve deeper into the inspiration and incitement behind Dr. Ahmed’s writing, the challenges he has faced as a writer and author, and the message he hopes to convey through his work. So, without further ado, let’s begin the interview.
1. Can you tell us more about the inspiration behind your book, and what readers can expect from it?
Ans: Mashuq-E-Jaan salutes and memorializes the immemorial “Lover and the Beloved”. This book is divided into two sections: Love and Longing erupting within the Indian ethnic heartlands and provinces, and the desire flaming and flaring throughout the kingdoms and empires of the Persian Frontiers. Within the verses and passages of this book, the readers will find translated and transliterated sagas of love, desire, and craving for the beloved, throughout different ages and socio-economic-political eras.
The inspiration to write this book is my own beloved, and for sanctitude and moral reasons, her name will remain unnamed.
2. What do you think makes your book unique compared to other works about love and mysticism?
Ans: The bards and sonnets of love in this book are presented in many forms, from effortless unornamented pure metric verses to elaborate complex composite wordplays. But history is proof that Love was always complicated, uncertain, and ruled over hearts and minds. Be it the mighty Ottoman Caliphs and Sultans, be it the symphonic Sanskrit, Urdu or Prakrit scholars or pundits – all fell victim to the mania and lunacy of Love. Empires were subscribed and donated, sanctified doctrines, creed and scriptures were memorialized and transcribed to keep the love for their beloveds enkindled.
Eroticism and Mysticism in love often appear confusingly entangled and inextricable. It often becomes hard to discern whether there is erotic love camouflaged under the illusion of mysticism, or there is mystical spiritual love tacitly masquerading as erotic proclivity.
3. How do you hope your book will impact readers, and what do you think they can gain from it?
Ans: The readers will discover that Love is selfless and pure, Love transcends religion, belief, caste, creed, and every associated dogmas and doubts. Love is eternal, indestructible, universal, and sempiternal. I will paraphrase a verse I have composed for one of my upcoming books, since it blends in with the theme. It goes like this:
“Those who love by heart don’t use their brains
Those who use their brains, where love remains
Confused to the core under the thoughtless sky
For Love is a constant struggle between these two”
(Dead Man’s Heart: Dr. Shadab Ahmed, Launching Summer 2023)
The readers should fondly recollect their loves and beloveds. For some, the love materialised into life, and for the others, not a single minute pass by when they don’t yearn for their beloveds.
4. Can you tell us about your background and how you became interested in writing about love and mysticism?
Ans: I am a doctor by profession, an Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeon by specialization, a real estateer by hobby, and a Ranking & Accreditation Officer by choice. What else were you expecting from me? Jest aside, I was born and brought up in the North-East India, and it shaped by perception, comprehension and insight over the ages. You don’t and I will emphasize again, you don’t write about love and mysticism without being a lover and mystic. Consciously or inadvertently, you allow yourself to let go of your identity. To see and understand the real world, you have to zoom out of the focus. You appreciate life, you celebrate living, you understand art and you emblazon the nature. You live a lunatic life with a lunatic enthusiasm. Nothing matters anymore, not people, not faith, nor dogmas or pragmas. As they say, someday, someone will break you so badly that you will become unbreakable. I know I am already there. I live for the moment, I do what I want. Carpe Diem!
5. How do you balance your work as a doctor with your passion for writing?
Ans: When am working, am not writing. When am writing, am not working. This is the most fundamental and elementary balance I maintain. I love both working and writing. When you love the things you do, they aren’t things anymore. They become your love affairs. You love dedicatedly and passionately. I do the same.
6. What challenges have you faced as a writer, and how have you overcome them?
Ans: The road up there was not so easy, a lot was sacrificed to retain so many. When I started writing – I was mocked, ridiculed, hated, despised and disliked from my near and dear ones, kith and kin. It was made abundantly clear to me that writing is a colossal mistake, and you would incur the wrath of Gods if you get published, and this is a greater sin than the proverbial apple of Adam and Eve fame. But at the end, it was just a poor simple man who followed his dreams. He fought and prevailed against all odds.
This month, I visited a bank to get a cheque cleared. The bank manager recognized me visually not as his client, but as the author. Apparently, he is a critical reader of my books and he has found his melody and harmony among the published verses. In that single moment, I overcame all the mock, ridicule, dislike and hatred. I truly did.
7. What message do you hope to convey through your writing?
Ans: One life is all you have, live it large and make it grand. Love fiercely, fight for your love, and stay honest for your love. Never ever joke in the name of Love. Don’t make promises you can’t sustain. Allow me the opportunity to versify this moment with another of my upcoming verse. Here it goes:
“In the tribe of forsaken lovelorn humans
The loveless shall never be named
Those who joked with Love those renegades
Of such scoundrels, Love herself was ashamed”
(Dead Man’s Heart: Dr. Shadab Ahmed, Launching Summer 2023)
8. One last question before we conclude the interview for today. What are your future plans for writing, and can we expect more books from you in the future?
Ans: I am working on several books at the moment. But the next in line is “Befarmaid: Perso-Arabic Minstrelsy and Parnassus in the Indian Subcontinent”. It is already under publishing and hopefully will be launching this month only. This book has translated and transliterated verses straight from the Kings, Emperors, Sages, Saints, Prisoners, and Vagabonds of the Indian Empires, Tribes, and Kingdoms. Preference and emphasis are given to the authors of the Shahmukhi and Nasta’liq scripts. After that, this summer “Dead Man’s Heart” will be launching.
This book is still under draft and contains disconsolate love rhymes for the broken-hearted ones. The verses are composed by myself and they are coming out more interesting than I presumed. Stay tuned and make sure to buy your copy. These little things are what we live for. Godspeed and God bless!