KARACHI: A three-day international conference on Faiz Ahmed Faiz began on Tuesday at the Karachi University Arts Auditorium. It was titled, “Dil e Purkhoon Ka Hunar (The skill of a bleeding heart).”
“The need to look at Faiz as a figure beyond a great poet cannot be emphasised enough,” said the director of the Pakistan Study Centre. “Faiz’s ideology and struggle went beyond traditional romanticism associated with poetry and literature.”
Dr Syed Jaffar Ahmed said that the title of the conference is a reflection of the struggles that Faiz undertook as a progressive poet and the beacon of the Taraqqi Pasand Tehreek (Progressive Movement).
Dr Anwar Ahmed of the Muqtadra Qaumi Zaban presented an analysis on the “Kalam-e-Faiz ki Maheboobiat” (The lovability of Faiz’s poetry). He said that Faiz’s thoughts and expressions struck the deepest chords of human imagination.
“There is a need to think over the reasons as to why he was popular with the people and unpopular with the establishment,” said Dr Ahmed. “These reasons have to be revisited as we need to reflect on our standing as a society today.”
Addressing the audience, IA Rehman, the general secretary of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP), said that the love Faiz referred to in his work was the love that had the power to change the world and bring peace. He emphasised that while his writings about changing the world have inspired many, there is need to take his thoughts even more seriously.
“We risk ending up as mere spectators if we continue to take Faiz’s “Hum daikhen gey” (We will see) as a romantic expression rather than a call to do something to change our regressive system,” said Rehman.
Dr Pirzada Qasim Raza Siddiqi, the vice chancellor of Karachi University (KU), said that universities have a role in stirring debates, raising questions and serving as intellectual platforms for serious dialogue on issues that matter to society. The international conference on Faiz is a similar initiative, aiming to raise debate on a few aspects of Faiz’s work and ideology. “It is rare that movements draw inspiration from personalities, but in the case of Faiz Ahmed Faiz, he breathed as much life and soul into the Progressive Movement as the movement nurtured Faiz,” added Dr Siddiqi.
The Pakistan Study Centre launched four books on the poet’s life and work. The books are titled, “Faiz: A Poet of Peace from Pakistan” by Khalid Sohail and Ashfaq Hussain; “Faiz Key Aas Paas” (Near Faiz) by Professor Seher Ansari; “Faiz Shanasi” (Knowing Faiz) by Abdul Rauf Malik and “Umeed-e-Seher Ki Baat Suno” (Listen about the hope of dawn) by Zahida Hina.
The Jinnah Medical and Dental College (JMDC) and the Arts Council will host the sessions for the next two days. Gauhar Raza, Sohail Hashmi, Mahmoodur Rehman Farooqi, Murtaza Danish Hussain, Dr Khalid Ashraf, and Professor Ali Ahmed Fatimi, are a part of the delegation of literary figures, poets and performers who have come from India to participate in the conference.
The event was organised by the Pakistan Study Centre of the University of Karachi in collaboration with the Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research, and the JMDC.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 7th, 2011.
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