The Ghat of the Only World

Chapter Summary

The Ghat of the Only World” presents the story of the author’s friend Shahid Ali. It was presented that he was a talented poet and he provides liberty to live by embracing death with the choice of words. The poet was aware enough that he has not much time on his hand and he gives the author of the story a nostalgic experience by expressing his treasure-trove of enormous life force.

The words of Shahid presents the problematic time during his presence in Kashmir as it was his birthplace. The author and Shahid had a friendship for a short time but within this short time, they became a good friend. This man was a firm believer in the separation of politics as well as religion. He had a small wish when he was in his childhood days and he made the wish to his parents. The desire of this person was to have a small Hindu temple in his room.

His mother brought idols as well as other trappings and his home became a religious confluence of both Islam and Hinduism. The man was a great food-lover and he tries to enjoy food even in the last stage of his cancer. He did not take the problem of cancer seriously and for him, it was only a joke. It is seen that even at the last stage of his cancer he enjoyed his life very livelily. His matter of interest was food, poetry, and laughter even in the last days of disease.

Shahid makes a request to his friend or the author of the essay to write his words after his death. The author kept his promises and threw light on the painful as well as sweet memories of his writings. The words of the author prove that Agha Shahid Ali was his good friend and the Ghat of the Only World is an attempt to reincarnate him.

What impressions of Shahid do you gather from the piece?

Shahid Ali here presented as a personality multi-faceted and he also appears as a sensitive soul. His birth was seen in Srinagar and he had completed his study in Delhi. After that, he migrated to America and then he served in different colleges as well as universities. He was considered to be a fine scholar as well as a brilliant teacher.

The students of Shahid respect as well as love him. He was seen as having a profound love of music, food, clothes, as well as good poetry. He loved Kashmir and he always thought of this place as well as the violence of the valley. He was not a political poet by nature but his works were related to the violence of Kashmir.

He had hatred against the mixing belief of religion as well as politics. He was full of courage and vigour and even the dreadful disease of cancer had not become able in breaking his living spirit. He even forbids taking the assistance of the wheelchair when he was in the hospital.

How do Shahid and the writer react to the knowledge that Shahid is going to die?

The tone of the voice Shahid as well as the use of the words “Oh dear! I can’t see a thing…I hope this doesn't mean that I am dying,” mainly expresses the fear of death very vividly. Those words proved that he gets scared of death and it happens when he felt for the first time that he was dying. It is seen that with time his lapse of memory that was occasional become more serious. He realises that death is coming near as time passes

Once he was engaged in a conversation with Amitav Ghosh and a ringing voice utter the words- When it happens, I hope you will write something for me. Firstly, the writer became astonished by hearing the words on such a topic but later he promises I’ll do the best I can. It is observed that the author tried to keep a record of all the conversations between them and the record helped him in fulfilling his promises.

What is the meaning of the word ‘diaspora’. What do you understand of the Indian diaspora from this piece?

Diaspora is mainly referred to as a dispersion of an originally homogeneous entity. It can be culture as well as language in the context of the essay.

This text provides the description that many of the Indians have settled down in various Western countries. The countries are especially America as well as England. Here Agha Shahid, his brother and two sisters, Suketu Mehta and the writer are considered to be the part of Indian diaspora in America. Here Shahid mainly belonged to Kashmir and he migrated to America in the year 1975.

The elder brother of this man had already been settled in this place and later two of the sisters also joined them. Those are the people who lived on the land of others but never forgot their roots. Those Indians mainly feel a sense of unity and they keep meeting each other on different occasions.


Q1. What does the word Ghat describes in the essay The Ghat of the Only World?

Ans. This essay presents the line Being At the Ghat and the phrase means that time is slipping. The passing of each day makes him close to death and therefore it can be presented that Ghat is the most important word in this essay.

Q2. What is the impression of Shahid?

Ans. Shahid in this essay was a brilliant teacher as well as a fine scholar. The respect as well s the love of the students proves the matter. He loves poetry very much and he loves food as well as clothes. He always thinking about Kashmir as well as getting hurt by the mounting violence in the valley.

Q3. Who is the author of the essay The Ghat of the Only World?

Ans. The Ghat of the Only World is an important essay written by Amitav Ghosh. The essay shows the commitment of a man to his friend.

Updated on: 04-Jan-2023


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