‘Zinda Hai Zindagi’: Ahfazur Rahman’s poems hide messages of misfortunes in an optimistic title

The collection of poems by journalist and writer Ahfazur Rahman depicts Pakistan’s predicaments.

Our Correspondent November 29, 2013
The collection of poems by journalist and writer Ahfazur Rahman depicts Pakistan’s predicaments. PHOTO: FILE

KARACHI: Zinda Hai Zindagi, translated as ‘life goes on’, is a title that denotes hope but the poems inside pen only the misfortunes of life in Karachi and the country at large.

This collection of poems by journalist and writer Ahfazur Rahman was launched on Thursday during a special session at the sixth International Urdu Conference taking place over this weekend at the Karachi Arts Council.

For poetess Fahmida Riaz, Rahman’s collection of poems was a journey through time and a memory of a generation whose genesis coincided with Pakistan’s creation, a generation that gained maturity during the 1950s and 1960s and aimed to construct a fairer and more egalitarian society. “His poetry is an engaging account of our collective yearnings for what this nation has yet to achieve,” said Riaz. “I was going through his collection of poems and the experience was akin to recounting the past several decades of my life —our lives.”

What failed to gratify the poetess was, as she termed it, the prejudice in the minds of Urdu critics against progressive writers and their works. “The tendency that they encourage is of deliberate disregard to all such works and Rahman’s literary writings are no exception,” she added.

Leading Urdu literary critic and writer Shamim Hanfi, from India, was inspired with the strong coordination between Rahman’s literary observations and the ever-changing socio-political environment he experienced. “Ahfaz Sahab [Rahman] does not merely present his understanding of the milieu but also forces his readers to think of a solution to our current issues,” said Hanfi. “He raises pertinent questions through his poetry, capturing human agony and the troubled times he experienced.”

Afzal Ahmed Syed’s compilation of Mir Taqi Mir’s Persian poems translated into Urdu and Asif Farrukh’s compendium of 18 stories by fiction writer Ghulam Abbas were also launched at the session. Both books have been published by the Oxford University Press.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 30th, 2013.


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