26 August, 2011

Remembering Ahmed Faraz: Poet of Romance and Resistance

Road named after Faraz in Islamabad
Published in Pakistan Observer (26 Aug 2011)
Sana Jamal

Islamabad – Ahmed Faraz, the poet of love and defiance, was remembered by his friends and admirers on his third death anniversary, observed on Thursday.
Ahmad Faraz, who has often been compared with Faiz Ahmed Faiz, holds a distinctive position as one of the greatest romantic Urdu poet of our times, with an excellent yet plain style of writing which a common man can easily understand and relate to. Recalling Ahmed Faraz, a prominent journalist, Khalid Hasan remarked that “Ahmed Faraz was a classicist like Faiz Ahmed Faiz who, like him, produced poetry of great lyrical beauty and who, like his mentor, never hesitated to stand up against oppression and never was afraid of suffering for his beliefs.”

Syed Ahmad Shah, generally known as Faraz, which was his nom de plume, was born in Kohat in 1931. He wrote 13 books and all put together came as Shehr-e Sukhan aarasta hai (A City of Poetry is Adorned). Faraz suffered imprisonment and persecution under Zia-ul-Haq era and was so heartbroken that he left the country like Faiz and lived in exile for six years. After returning to Pakistan, he was initially appointed Chairman Academy of Letters and later chairperson of the Islamabad-based National Book Foundation for several years. He has been awarded with numerous national and international awards. He was awarded the Hilal-i-Imtiaz in 2004, in recognition of his literary achievements, but he returned the award in 2006 after becoming embittered with the government and its policies. Faraz studied Persian and Urdu and later became lecturer at the Peshawar University. He died in Islamabad on August 25, 2008.

Ahmed Faraz is a national treasure, but “it is a pity that instead of praising the work of great poet like Faraz, some people have started to defame the work of the poet through humorous text messages. I don’t understand why we cannot give him the honour which he deserved!” remarked Ali Qureshi, a young admirer of Faraz. This upsetting trend of our young generation imply that worst fears of Khalid Hasan may come true, as he once wrote: “Are we going to lose Faraz, the supreme poet of romance, whose poetry we have loved and lived with all these years? It is a horrible thought.”

Meanwhile, the Chairman of Capital Development Authority (CDA), Imtiaz Inayat Elahi announced naming of Service Road (West), Sector F-10 after the name of the great poet, Ahmad Faraz on Thursday. Prominent scholars Professor Fateh Muhammad Malik, Iftikhar Arif, Agha Nasir, Kishwar Naheed, Shabnam Shakil, Mansha Yaad and a large number of poets, and scholars from twin cities witnessed the ceremony.