Posts Tagged ‘faiz ahmed faiz’

“Jashan-e-Faiz” Indo-Pak poetry flows under Faiz’s benevolent umbrella/ By Rashmi Talwar

Kashmir Times Front Page Magazine – ‘Jashan-E- Faiz’/ By Rashmi Talwar on Jan-1-st 2012

Indo-Pak poetry flows under Faiz’s benevolent umbrella / By Rashmi Talwar

Published on Front page Magazine in Kashmir Times on January 1st 2012

“Jashan-e-Faiz” Centenary Celebration of Faiz Ahmed Faiz

Day –I
Indo-Pak poetry flows under Faiz’s benevolent umbrella

By Rashmi Talwar

Were I to compare, the Urdu-Punjabi poetry of Faiz Ahmed Faiz, one of the greatest poets of the subcontinent –it would be to a ‘Blue-Blooded Horse’. The poetry of Faiz possesses the free spirit, the depth –a hallmark of the Graceful Stallion, thus …:
Its star speckled forehead –-satire,
Its pointed-ears– perfectly attuned to the murmurs of meadows,
Its gait –- majestic, regal, undeterred,
Its upright flashy tail– of words whipped and blazing their own path,
Its spirit– mystifying and unshackled,
Its power- -untamed, gazelle-like,
Its energy– boundless, astir with rebellion,
Its fodder-graze– an outpouring emerging from hunger of untold human sufferings,
Its water–nectar- the unmatched adulation of those he took up for…
Its hoof-marks –inscribed in Mighty Earth for ever….

Then when they tried to tame, bound or incarcerate this spirited soul, he galloped free, emerging more powerful, fearless and unbridled, his poetic insignia shaping popular public imagination and infusing fear in Aakas of ill-gotten empires, self-declared Lords, assuming the role of God Almighty.

To the oppressor, Faiz addressed thus: ‘Qafas hai bas mein tumhaare, tumhaare bas mein nahin/ Chaman mein aatish-e-gul ke nikhaar ka mausam’ (‘To his captors, a garden-bird booms: A cage is all that you have in your power. But, nothing and no one possesses the power to keep the garden from blooming when the time comes for lush flowerings.’)

In the backdrop of the cascading umbrella of this mellifluous, lilting poetic rhythm of Faiz Ahmed Faiz, poets, artists transcended boundaries of oppressive borders of India and Pakistan to confluence at Zorawar Singh Auditorium of Jammu University, for the two-day Festival organized by Jammu Civil Society for Art and Literature (JCSAL) in collaboration with Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR), for the ‘Jashan-e-Faiz’ –the 100th birth anniversary of one of the greatest poets of the sub-continent. This, in celebration of his free-soul, his haunting words, weaving the stark reality of upheavals, of pain, of human values combined with nature and its connotations, in its truest form.

The grand Fest opened by comperers of the evening essayed many couplets of Faiz, while the chief guest of the evening, Jammu and Kashmir, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, sat enraptured after lighting the traditional lamp inaugurating the extravaganza.

As Faiz’s enormous and potent emotions of poetry combined and mingled with contemporary, original artistic structures of ghazal, dance, drama, the poetic symposium rekindled the bonds of a cohabitation torn apart, as Salima Hashmi, Faiz’s daughter, the guest of honor, sat moist-eyed watching the galaxy of Indian and Pakistani artists , poets who stood tall in their respective countries, churn out the best of original poetry covering aspects as banal as corruption and as soft as hands folded in prayer.

The stage came alive with Ustad Hamid Ali Khan, Pakistan’s finest exponents of classical singing and ghazal.
His vibrating, variegated pitch adding magic to the famous couplet ‘Laagi re, Tau Say Laagi…, najar sayyian laagi ..’ . Jammu’s jam-packed audience too matched the tempo of the song, that they may have loved on television, internet or savored on radio channels, giving a resounding ovation to the maestro, unseen in these parts.

Their response turned feverish with ‘Mainu Tera Jiya Sohna Hor Labda Nahi….’ and ‘Honthon Pay Kabhi Unke Mera Naam Bhi Aaye’ as Hamid‘s son Nayab Ali Khan joined in a raga jugalbandi, courting a frenzy of incessant applause.

Earlier, Ch. Masood Ahmad, former Vice Chancellor of Baba Ghulam Shah Badshah University delivered welcome address while JCSAL President, Aslam Qureshi presented memento to the Chief Minister who stated that ‘building bridges between two warring nations, India and Pakistan, could fructify not with mere government efforts but with civil societies of both pitching in their might for forging friendship’,
Richa Jain of India took the stage, presenting one of the most graceful performances of Kathak on Faiz’s poetry “Aaye kuchh abr kuchh sharab aye/ Isske baad aaye jo azaab aaye…”(let the clouds come, let the wine flow, If then trouble comes, so be it ..) And followed closely with rendition of Faiz’s poetry, Jagir Singh Punjabi sang “Rabba Sachiya, tu tay Akhiya si, Jaa Oye Bandiya Jag Da Shah hain Tu, Sadian Naimtan terian Doltan Nain, Sada Naib tay Alijah hain Tu…” raising the hackles of the common man who implores the Almighty about His promise of bounties, but left him at the mercy of a corrupt and cruel setup with .. ‘Kithay Dhons Police Sarkar di, Kithay Dhandli Patwar Di …. Changa Shah Banaya ei Rab Sayiaan…’ or the soulful …Jadoon diyaan, tere nal lar gayiaan ankhiaan , Allah di saun odo-diyaan, Rab di saun odo-diyaan , sau vi na sakiyaan ..”

Thus, galloped the horse in wild abandon, unto the vast horizons….of poetry, melody, dance….to the resounding applause of kadardaans of his poetry.

Anwar Masood’s spice :

No one could have brought the curtains down on the grand mushiara as aptly as the best Urdu- Punjabi poet of Pakistan Anwar Masood, a humble soul with a maverick touch of comic poetry that could stir and lend guffaws to the most cynical of critics as also bring tears in turn with his sweeping emotive genre of poems, with equal aplomb. When asked about his matchless command in wit and sad poetry, he replied, “I have seen the worst spells of poverty and suffering from which emerged the sad poetry, but that I did not give up and held my faith with a smile is what produced the mirth in comic situations that I observed.”

Anwar who is not only a accomplished poet but also a star performer, brought the house down of the Jammu audience in the jam –packed Zorawar Singh auditorium of Jammu University with his well known witty poetry such as ‘Bunyan’(vest seller ) – Bunyan len jande ho/ Bunyan le ke aande ho /Paande ho toh pendi nahi /Pey jaye te lendi nahi /Le jaye te dooji vari paan jogi rehndi nahi / Bunyan mein diyanga !/ Pao gaye te peh jaye /Lao ge te leh jaye / Le jaye te dooji vari paan jogi reh jaye/ Bunyan meri vadiya bunyan meri top di !/ Vadeyaan nu pori ave niikyaan de naap di /Cheez hove asli te muhon pai boldi / Dhup nal gori lage, rassi ute doldi / Jine vare chaho tusi ais nu handa lao/ Pher bhavein bachcheyaan da jangia bana lao .

His other poems include Aj Ki Pakayiey, Anarkali diyan shaanan, Jehlum de pul te, Pit Sayaapa,
Hun Ke Keray, His most famous comic was a comparison –‘Lassi Te Chaa’
And those that highlighted the social, parochial scourges and brought teardrops ‘Meli Meli Dhoup’ and ‘Ambri’(about a mother beaten by her son).

His couplets too were poignant –‘Mera Lakhaan da vickda Takiyaa, Je Hanjooan da mul penda!’(My pillow would have sold for millions, if Tears had a price!) Or one –‘Tujhay Nahi Hay Abhi Fursat-E-Karam, Na Sahi…Thakay Nahi Hain Mere Hath Abhi Dua Kartey…!’
(If, You O Lord, have no time for blessings, never mind/ My hands are still not tired of offering prayers!).


New Beginning: Jammu’s Indo –Pak Mushiara undivides the line of divide
Poets turn ecstatic on response by Urdu connoisseurs
By Rashmi Talwar

Jashan-e-Faiz carry-fwd from front page of Kashmir Times /By Rashmi Talwar

Aaiye haath uthaayein hum bhi
Hum jinhen rasm-e-dua yaad nahin
Hum jinhen soz-e-mohabbat ke siwaa
Koyi but, koyi khudaa yaad nahin

Aaiye arz guzaren ki nigaar-e-hasti
Zaher-e-imroz mein shirini-e-fardaa bhar de
Wo jinhein tabe garaanbaarii-e-ayyaam nahin
Un-ki palakon pe shab-o-roz ko halkaa kar de

(Come, let us raise our hands, /We, who have forgotten the ritual of prayer/ We, who do not remember anything other than the searing of love/ Do not remember any idol, nor any God/Come, let us beseech that the Creator of existence may fill sweetness in the morrow, from the poison of today/Those who cannot bear the burden of the passing day/May their eyelids be unburdened of the night and day.)
Faiz’s poem ‘Dua’ recited by Ayub Khawar a prominent Pakistani poet, writer and director of Geo TV, was a befitting tribute to the inaugural Indo-Pak Mushiara on the second day of ‘Jashn-e-Faiz’.

Poets from India and Pakistan escorted their poetry onto the vibrant stage, rekindling the bonds of brotherhood in an amalgam of varied genres of original thought, facing the current situation in both countries, of love, hate, suffering and laughter. The programme coursed through compere Anwar Jalalpuri adding spice with a spoof on poets and their poetry in a light banter, making it more enjoyable.

The extraordinary event as an apt tribute to Faiz Ahmed Faiz, one of the greatest poets the South Asia has produced, brought Indo-Pak artistes and poets together in the winter capital of J&K. It was sheer delight to hear the first Indian poet an IPS officer from Ludhiana, Fayyaz Farooqi who made simple ideas so profound in his poetry – “Itna aasaan nahi hota kissi ka hona/Seekhna padta hai bande ko bhi banda hona/ Yoon bura hona to duniya mein bura hai, lekin/Itna achha bhi nahi hota hai, achha hona”.

Poets from both sides commanded rapt attention from the discerning Jammu audience on issues of corruption, gender bias and poverty that plague both countries. Ayub Khawar recited his own creation –Saat suron ka behta dariya, tere naam/ har sur mein hai rang dhanak (rainbow) ka , tere naam/ Tere bina jo umr bitai, beet gayi/ ab iss umr ka baaki hissa, tere naam’ that endeared him to the audience who took it as a bonding , Khawar added – “Instead of suspending the dialogue process or the confidence-building measures because the bigger issues are not being sorted out, both countries should start resolving smaller issues to develop mutual faith.”

Another couplet reinforced the brotherhood, post partition as Aizaz Azar a Pakistani poet recited -“Bichhadne waale ne waqt-e-rukhsat kuchh iss tarah se palat ke dekha/ Ki jaise woh bhi ye keh raha ho, tum apne ghar ka khayal rakhna” (At the time of separation, the parting one, turned to look back as if to say, you too, keep your home safe).

Noted Indian poet, Nida Fazli of–‘Kabhi kisi ko mukammal jahaan nahi milta, kaheen zameen to kaheen aasmaan nahi milta’ fame- regaled with his couplets (Doha) that hit the target of corruption through the eyes of a child –“ Naqsha le kar haath mein bachcha hai hairaan, Kaisay deemak kha gayi uss ka Hindustan.”
Or one upon disparities between the rich and poor as well as paucity of accommodation in Mumbai like city “Bachcha bola dekh kar, masjid aalishan/ Allah tere ek ko, itna bada makaan”. Taking a dig at politicians Nida recited, “Issa, Allah, Ishwar, Sare Mantar Seekh, Jane Kab Kis Naam Par, Miley Ziyada Bheekh..”

Ashok Sahil also took up the baton on corruption with “Chaman ke vaaste kuchh bhi nahi kiya jisne/Ussi ko sab se ziyada hawas bahaar ki hai”. Another stalwart, Nawaz Deobandi, who has written some unforgettable ghazals sung by Jagjit Singh mesmerized the audience.
Two feminist Pakistani lady poets Kishwar Naheed and Ishrat Afreen shook the edifice of society of its gender bias, with the poignant rendition of poetry. Ishrat recited – ‘Kheton Men Kaam Karati Hui Ladakiyan/ jeth ki champai dhup ne/jin ka sona badan surmai kar diya/jin ko raton men oas aur paale ka bistar miley/ din ko suraj sarron par jale/’

A wave of myriad emotions swept over the connoisseurs of poetry where 20 noted poets recited their poems amid shouts of ‘encore’ and ‘wah wah’.

Another poet from Punjab, Panchhi, regaled with his romantic poetry, with beautifully used allegories like wine, women and youthfulness. He recited, “Ghul rahi hai sharaab, pani mein, jal raha hai shabaab, paani mein. Khat ka meray to yoon jawaab aaya, Uss nay fainka gulaab, pani mein.”

But it was Anwar Masood, who brought the curtains down at the mushaira, and stole the show in his inimitable style and his satirical brilliant poetry, making people both laugh and cry. His witty classic: “Yehi To Dosto Le De Ke Mera Business Hai/ Tumhi Kaho Ki Main Kyon Iss Se Tod Loon Naata/ Agar ‘Corruption’ bhi Chhod Di Main Ne/ Mujhe To Aur Koi Kaam Bhi Nahi Aata.”


• The J&K CM Omar Abdullah tweeted a day before the start of the Fest : “Jashan-e-Faiz in Jammu to celebrate the centenary of Faiz Ahmed Faiz. 2 days of some of the best Urdu poets and performers from India & Pakistan”.

• Sound system fumbled during the Kathak recital of Richa Jain

• When Ustad Hamid Ali Khan announced the entry of his son Nayab Ali Khan, lady compere who otherwise was flawless, apologized for want of time to the ghazal maestro, not once but twice. The situation was saved both times by Ravinder Kaul a global critic of music and co-compere in the programme wherein the crowd that was intoxicated with the ghazals demanding encores, were on the verge of venting their ire, in ways unknown, on the lady compere.

• During a formal dinner by J&K Chief Minister Omar Abdullah for participants and organizers, Anwar Masood , one of the best known contemporary poets in Pakistan for his comic poetic style, left the CM in a state of ‘rip roaring laughter’ drawing a comment from a guest, that ‘never have we seen the CM laugh so in a long-long time’.

• Many felt the dress of Kathak dancer could have been more up-market and dainty in sync with her graceful rendition.

• During a private dinner hosted by Aslam Goni, former advocate general of the State, wherein ‘wazwan’ was served in traditional Kashmiri style, shared by four in one large container. The joke went that if Pakistanis were able to finish the last morsel served they could take Kashmir, but the Pakistanis raised the hands in surrender and said India can have Kashmir, as well as the rest of the Kashmiri delicacies inviting applause from the host side.

• Many who were laughing and clapping during the grand finale comic poetry of the matchless Pakistani poet Anwar Masood were reduced to tears with his recitation of poem “Ambari’ (mother!) and his couplet –‘Tujhe Nahi Hai Abhi Fursatey Karam, Na Sahi/ Thake Nahi Hain Mere Haath Abhi Dua Karte ..’

• The president of the ICCR, Dr Karan Singh, could not attend the function and his message was read out by his son and former minister Ajatshatru Singh.

• The poets enthralled the audience with their couplets on love-hate relationship between the two neighbours, prevailing political scene and romantic verses.They teased, laughed and recited their couplets amidst loud cheers and echoes of mukarrar, bahut khoob, irshad and wah-wahs.

• Cultural Attache from the Iranian Embassy specially came from New Delhi to attend the Indo-Pak mushaira.

In TOI: FAIZ’S REBELLION WAS A PASSION :Salima Hashmi Faiz ‘s Daughter /By Rashmi Talwar


‘This silence of the Majority is worrisome’ Salima Hashmi daughter of one of the greatest poets of the subcontinent Faiz Ahmed Faiz , says about the current situation plaguing Pakistan in terms of terrorism. In an exclusive interview to Rashmi Talwar on the way to Pakistan via the Wagah Attari Indo-Pak Joint Check Post after presiding as the Guest of Honor at “Jashan-e-Faiz organized by Jammu Civil Society for Art and Literature (JCSAL), in Jammu” in connection with centenary celebrations of poet Faiz Ahmed Faiz, being seen as the biggest-ever poetic congregation cum festival in the trouble-torn Jammu and Kashmir.
salima hashmi

Kishwar Naheed, Rashmi Talwar, Salima Hashmi

Salima Hashmi daughter of Faiz Ahmed Faiz Interview in Times of India BY Rashmi Talwar

Q1: What was it like to stay in the shadow of your father- Faiz Ahmed Faiz -one of the finest poets?

Salima: For me, he was more of a father and less of a poet people knew him to be. My father was a soft spoken and gentle human being with not a harsh word to anyone and I too had taken after him as a shy, quiet, soft person. When I used to come to him, about odious comparisons when people asked me of my poetic skills, my father used to brush it aside and say “Ek ghar mein ek he shaiyar kafi hai’. It is only when I started teaching that I went against my natural mettle and learned to express myself in public. My paintings are in a way like a luminous visual translation of my father’s poetry. A new book, ‘A Song for This Day’, by Shoaib Hashmi, that holds 51 translated poems of my father in its covers, carries my painting as a watermark on each page of poetry

Q2: Many believe that Faiz was against the Indo-Pak partition of 1947. His silence with merely one poem on the partition (“Ye dagh dagh ujaala, ye shab-guzeeda sehar/ Who intezaar tha jis ka, ye who sehar to nahi”) authenticated this perception. How did he really feel about it?

Salima: My father was shocked by the catastrophe wrought by the partition. He told me, “It is only the British who may be delighted with this partition”. I asked him why he had not written more poetry, other than only one poem ‘Subh-i-Aazadi’ the first written after independence on August 14, 1947 with these pained but ringing words: “yeh daagh daagh ujaala, ye shab-gazeeda saher/ woh intezaar tha jiska yeh woh saher to nahin”( This dim, stained light, this morning that still bears the imprint of a dark night’s blows: surely this is not the morn that we had waited for all these long years) -He replied, “The monumental loss of life, exodus and bloodshed numbed and overwhelmed me. We wanted independence from the British but what this Radcliff line would denote, look like, what shape it would take, all of us had only a vague idea”. However my father wrote several editorials and essays in those days filled with grief over the pointless massacres, the terrible killings of innocents and appealed for sympathy and aid for the victims and for an end to the mayhem. I still remember when I was a child how my father would talk about his Indian poet friends like Firaq Gaurakhpuri, Hasrat Mohani, Majaz, Ali Sardar Jafri and others.
He never wrote much specifically about Partition. He may have believed that to make statements about such issues was the job of politicians. In the years leading up to 1947, Faiz and most intellectuals considered freedom from colonial rule as the most important matter. He wrote in one: ‘We all knew that. It would be safe to say that no one (including politicians) expected the human catastrophe that Partition eventually brought’.

Q3: What was so compelling about Jammu, other than the fact that your father centurion was being celebrated here, that moved you to tears?

Salima:The whole year devoted to Faiz’s celebrations in both India and Pakistan has overwhelmed me, but coming to Jammu was ever so special. “Ever since my aunt (fuffi) told me about my father and mother’s little known rendezvous in Jammu, I was yearning to visit Jammu. While most know about their Srinagar connection with his ‘nikkah’ with my mother Alys –a British, sanctified by Sheikh Abdullah, few know about my father’s frequent visits to Jammu via the Jammu-Sialkot train when they were in love.
“It was in the year 1938, that on the way to Jammu from Sialkot via train during summers, my aunt spotted them together. My aunt told me, “She was coming with her relatives and noticed Faiz in the train, and Faiz hurriedly changed his wagon on noticing us. On arrival at Jammu railway station, Faiz hastily crossed the station and approached a tonga, in which a beautiful English lady was waiting. Without looking elsewhere, Faiz hopped into the carriage and disappeared. Jammu being a small city, Faiz was noticed with that same beautiful lady.” My aunt confided that she kept “their secret” and “Faiz knew it! That served to bond us siblings as best friends”.

Q4: Any memories about the time when Faiz was incarcerated in Pakistan jails?

Salima : My father used to make light of his prison term in Sahiwal jail, it was known as Montgomery jail, then. He used to gloss over that period with a simple ease. Despite his inner turmoil, he used to amuse us by saying that “it was the same cell where Moti Lal Nehru and Badshah Khan were imprisoned during the freedom movement.” He invited my sister Munissa and me to the prison cell once and showed us the flowers he had planted. The ward has now been named as ‘Faiz Ward’ and the cell as ‘Kamra-e-Faiz’. Even the place in prison where he turned a wilderness into a garden is still there, bountiful with flowers, as if time has stood still, I was so moved with the sight of flowers when I visited it, and thought ‘even the flowers had held fast and not left my father, even after he left’. However, he had long spells of silence when he just observed the life pass by, doing nothing. Looking at a squirrel, tree, clouds, the moonlight… for hours, weeks passed by and he would not write a single poem. His long letters written to my mother Alys are very revealing of this state.

Whenever criticism came his way which was ‘huge’ he was known to never respond to critics, he just took a puff of cigarette and smiled ! There was a time when he was in Hyderabad jail and I wrote him a letter before my birthday and asked him for a silk dress. And was thrilled to receive a shalwar, kameez, duppata in silk with exquisite embroidery on my B’Day.

During his spell in the jail he wrote Dast-e-Saba and we held a book release function where people cried while reading the book. I was overwhelmed with the feelings that indeed my father had magical powers to move people with his words. Whenever a new poem emerged from his cell in the jail, it became the hottest news and spread like wild fire.

Q 5. What is your personal assessment of his work and poetry?

Salima: The fact that many who were condemned to the gallows in Zia-Ul-Haq’s regime went reciting his poems is the true assessment of his work that millions kissed in prayer. His rebellion was a passion, an internal matter, it was never used for swinging speeches; it was internalized and reserved for poetry; which was potent and constant.
His poetry incorporated both the values of beauty and social responsibilities. His message was couched in beautiful words with an almost wistful quality. That is why his poetry was unlike the writings of his contemporaries, with a style more mellifluous, his tone soft, his poems smooth and flowing, while other poets had a stronger tone.


Poets and artists converged on Zorawar Singh Auditorium of Jammu University for ‘Jashan-e-Faiz’ Festival to mark the 100th Birth Anniversary of Faiz Ahmed Faiz. A galaxy of Indian and Pakistani artists and poets churned out the best of original poetry covering aspects as banal as corruption and as soft as hands folded in prayer.

Q 6. What do you think of the current situation in an environment of growing terrorism with specific reference to Pakistan and how can it be tackled?

Salima: The ‘silence’ of the majority who is against terrorism is worrisome. But they must remember that silence is not and will not be the solution. The scourge of terrorism is not confined to Pakistan alone; it is spreading its tentacles everywhere. It needs to be nipped by having all South Asian countries including Bangladesh to cooperate and coordinate with each other for a common cause to undermine and eradicate it. Remember those who stay silent today may not have a tomorrow for themselves or their near and dear ones… And recited Faiz’s poem –‘Lekin ab zulm ki miyaad ke din thode hain/ Ik zaraa sabr ki fariyaad ke din thode hain/ Arsaa-e-dahar ki jhulsi hui veeraani mein/ Hum ko rehana hai pa yoon hi to nahi rehana hai/ Ajnabi haathon ka benaam garaanbaar sitam/ Aaj sehana hai hamesha to nahi sehana hai..

Salima Hashmi, is Dean, School of Visual Arts, Beacon House National University, Lahore, has taught for 31-years at the National College of Arts (NCA), Lahore and remained its Principal for 4-years. Standing tall as an accomplished painter and an intense writer on arts, she curates exhibitions of contemporary art and traditional textiles, with her work exhibited in Pakistan and abroad. Her book ‘Unveiling the Visible-Lives and Works of Women Artists of Pakistan’ and publication ‘Memories, Myths, Mutations – Contemporary Art of India and Pakistan’ co-authored with Yashodhara Dalmia for Oxford University Press, India and her express devotion to art, mentoring and promoting young artists has won her Pakistan’s ‘Pride of Performance award’.
Salima is the co-founder of the Rohtas Gallery in Islamabad, established in 1981, and established Rohtas-2 in Lahore in 2001.


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