Toba Tek Singh: Noor Alam Hoshiarpuri is a cobbler by profession but a poet by passion. He belongs to Chak 382-JB, Jalalpur, 10km from here but commutes daily from his home to his setup outside the TMA Complex on the Allama Iqbal Road under a tree.
Town folks call his place “Sajnaan Da Dera” as it got popular among them due to his poetry that poetry enthusiasts frequent to listen to him reciting his verses.
Noor Alam has got his pseudonym, Hoshiarpuri, from his birthplace that is the city of Hoshiarpur, India, where he was born in 1938.
Giving details of his early life to the reporters who visited him on Monday, he said he had migrated to Toba Tek Singh with his family after the Partition. He worked for two decades with his late father, making new handmade shoes but when his father died he was restricted to repairing and polishing shoes.
While mending shoes, he also writes poetry and has written hundreds of pages of poetry but he could not earn enough money to get his book published. He says he has got published 10 small booklets of his poetry from the local printers that included Naats and Bolian from his own earning but he never earned enough to publish a book.
Hoshiarpuri says his son, Tahir, passed matriculation examination some 20 years ago but failed to find a government job as he had no reference of any influential person. Now Tahir also accompanies him at this roadside set-up, mending shoes like his father.
The Punjabi poet says when Nasim Sadiq (now Punjab livestock secretary) was assistant commissioner in Toba Tek Singh he was pleased to listen to his poetry and pledged to allot him a shop but unfortunately he was transferred the very next day.
Now whenever elections are around the corner, candidates of political parties visit him, requesting him to write poems for their electioneering but they forget him after winning the election.
From his booklet, Noor Alam Hoshiarpuri read out his following lines: “ Nah Bolan Da Wal/ Nah Aundi Koi Gal/ Allah Nabi Nai Karam Kama Chhadia/ Unparh Nu Shaa’er Bana Chhadia” (I don’t know how to speak/ I don’t know of anything worldly/ this is only the blessing of the Divine/ that a nescient is writing poetry).