THE ‘MATING DANCE’: LOVE AND EXILE IN IFTI NASIM AND AGHA SHAHID ALI
Two un-accommodated sons of Islam: Agha Shahid Ali (1949- 2001) and Ifti Nasim (1946-2011). Both queer, both take exile as a permanent condition to life and art, settling in America owing to cultural and political turmoil in India and Pakistan respectively. Both are religious and cultural minorities. Shahid Ali is a Kashmiri Shia who wrote hybrid ghazals in English. Ifti Nasim is a Pakistani Sufi who gave up writing his celebrated Urdu ghazals and wrote in Panjabi and Black English. Shahid Ali projects India as an interloper in Kashmir, declares himself a Kashmiri-American poet, and celebrates Lahore’s beauty and architecture. Ifti Nasim projects Pakistan as a conservative sub-culture that fails to accommodate its minority populace, idealizes surrogacy calling himself a Chicago liberal, and deconstructs Indian mythology in his poems. This article compares their poetry on personal and political levels to argue that Shahid Ali and Ifti Nasim present the imposed cultural and religious boundaries as sexual boundaries and challenge the heterosexist architecture in exile.