‘Faiz’s poetry was meant to keep people on their toes’

Revolutionary named poet of the 21st century.

Express November 23, 2011

KARACHI: The auditorium of the Arts Council was packed with people who came to attend the inaugural ceremony of the four-day International Urdu Conference on Tuesday.

The topic was “Changing international scenario and the poetry of Faiz.” But contrary to other sittings held in the poet’s memory, the speakers did not utter blind praises for him. Faiz’s work was reviewed and commented upon objectively. According to them, the revolutionary verses were meant to keep people on their toes.

Prof. Sahar Ansari said that Faiz was a visionary. He had seen street agitation and protests against the globalisation that we see today. Like all the great poets, Faiz felt and then expressed the social and political changes taking place in his era. “But he was also a scholar and an intellectual who drew conclusions about the future,” Ansari. Even the last couplets of his poetry show no signs of any strain. Nevertheless, the weakening of the former Soviet Union and its internal problems were not missed by him.

By the late 1970s, Faiz was reawakening, Ansari continued. He was trying to realign his beliefs with a shifting reality. Out of everything that he wrote, one message stood out starkly…always keep pushing forward. According to Dr Shamim Hanfi, a literary critic from India, no one came close to challenging Allama Iqbal in the 20th century, yet Faiz holds his own unique place in history because he was progressive.

Even with his leftist political stance, Faiz Ahmed Faiz remained associated with revolutionary movements, said Prof. Dr Pirzada Qasim Raza Siddiqui. “He would have been a great poet even if he didn’t follow Karl Marx.” He said that Faiz’s poetry took the shape of a movement. “He was sure about what he wrote.”  Siddiqui said the most important thing was that Faiz gave hope. He channelled all the depression and turned it into positive energy.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 23rd, 2011.


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