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Volume :8 Issue : 31 1982      Add To Cart                                                                    Download

SOCIAL ISSUES IN KUWAITI POPULAR POETRY:A TEXTUAL STUDY

Auther : By: Dr. Abdullah Al-Utaiby

This paper deals with one of the forms of Kuwaiti poetical creativity, namely, the popular poetry. This is a new form of poetry be gotten by the new social conditions in Kuwait: the new cultural milieu, the new social problems, the new aspirations and behavioral practices, and the moral values which stem from, and harmonize with, the new social realities.

The popular poetry movement in Kuwait has gone through two intertwined artistic stages which developed in response to the emerging needs in various fields, social, cultural, political and artistic.

These two stages are:

First: The stage of Bedouin Popular Poetry:

This poetry bears the stamp of the desert on its language, imagination, imagery and subject matters. This stage is now receding due to the community’s transition towards social conditions more urban in nature.

Second: The Stage of Popular Poetry:

This, in fact, stems out of the Bedouin stage. Nevertheless, it has its own peculiarities, which justify the judgment that it has an individuality of its own, and is parallel to the essentially and originally Bedouin poetry.

If the success of any original creativity depends on certain conditions which would inspire its activity, directs its movements and guarantee its efficacy, it could be said that the conditions for popular poetry – which is the subject of this study – have been realized. The most important of such conditions are the following:

  1. Agreement and harmony between creativity and the cultural milieu of the community. The parameter termines the area of activity and movement of original creativity. If this parameter indicates intellectual activity, creativity would inevitably express itself in the classical Arabic form; if on the other hand, it indicated little intellectual activity, creativity would then take a simple form.
  2. Conscious knowledge of all the implications of the historical and cultural heritage of popular life.
  3. Genuine and conscious response to the needs of the community. This would make the poetical output a documental source for the linguistic, historical, psychological and cultural studies of the community, which produces it.

Due to the absence of references, studies and researches on this important field of original creativity, I have had to depend wholly on the poetical texts themselves. These have been objectively examined and analyzed with an eye to point out the social issues and problems contained in them, and to determine the ways and methods the popular poets used in conceiving, raising and dealing with those issues and problems.

It has been found that the call for reform conveyed by popular poetry may ascertained in two important areas which have, in reality, affected and shaped the whole poetic experience in conceiving, raising, and dealing with the social issues. These two areas are:

 

  1. The Behavioral and moral area:

The features of this area may be determined by the following:

    1. Open opposition to all negative aspects of the social environment on the level of values and beliefs and on the level of the daily activities of individuals or of the community at large.
    2. Putting forward a realistic substitute vision of the desired new Kuwaiti community in terms of values and behaviour. This has been done on the basis of similar experiences in other nations and communities inspired by their ancient and modern history, and on the assumption that individuals as well as societies tend to imitate and follow the example of glorious historical figures whose heroic careers represent the totality of human values.

  1. The Area of Internal Political Concerns:

The main features of this area are:

    1. Crystallising an up-to-date concept of the State and its governmental institutions.
    2. Determining the total social issues which are most urgent in this period of transition toward the modern state. These issues deal with such topics as the ideal ruler; the role of intellectuals and of culture; striking a balance among the various social classes in the community; developing the law; designing an ideal plan for parliamentary representation; protecting democracy and safeguarding it against abuse or misuse.
    3. Problems of social development and evolution such as the dialectical relation between tribalism and urbanism. This dialectical relation involves such issues as the issue of the education of women; controlling conservation and reactionism; development of education, and sending missions abroad for learning and training; problems of supplying water and electricity, and affording medical care and hospitals; and finally the problems of exploiting oil revenues constructively.
    4. The reflection of international affairs on local economic and social conditions.

These are, in brief, the social issues as reflected in, and conveyed by this important experience of poetic creativity.

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