Faiz Ghar

 

The Faiz Ghar is a project of the Faiz Foundation Trust set up for the promotion of the progressive and humanistic ideas of Faiz Ahmad Faiz (1911-1984), one of the leading, if not the foremost, poets of Pakistan. The first Asian to receive the Lenin Prize and a Nobel Prize nominee, Faiz had a multifaceted personality, being amongst other things, an activist for human rights and liberties, a famous journalist and editor of literary magazines, a trade unionist, a film song writer, a founder of public cultural institutions, and, of course, a poet par excellence (see write-up on Faiz).

Despite this, there is no space either within or outside Pakistan where his fans or researchers can see the memorabilia and original works of Faiz. In order to address this gap the Faiz Foundation Trust has decided to set up the Faiz Ghar. Spacious premises have been acquired for this purpose in Model Town, Lahore, the place where Faiz lived his last years and which is his last resting place, to be converted into the proposed Faiz Ghar.

Broadly speaking, the Faiz Ghar will carry out two types of activities:

  • Display of memorabilia related to Faiz
  • Activities to promote the progressive ideas of humanism, peace, tolerance, and love of the arts and literature

 

Display of Memorabilia

The following memorabilia and other materials related to Faiz will be on display at the Faiz Ghar:

    • Archives of letters, manuscripts, etc. in digitalized form
    • Photographs of Faiz of different periods, occasions, groups, etc
    • Articles of daily use of Faiz and his wife Alys Faiz
    • Books, magazines, and other printed materials available in the library.

The displays will be rotated and special displays will be conducted on special days, such as the birth anniversary of Faiz. Access to the original archives for scholars and other interested persons will be possible through special permission.

 

Faiz Ghar Activities

Faiz Ghar will conduct various activities to promote the progressive ideas of humanism, peace, tolerance, and love of the arts and literature by exposing the masses, including children and adults, to the life, work, and thought of Faiz Ahmad Faiz. The activities will include, but not be limited to, the following:

  • Research on the life and work of Faiz
  • Seminars, workshops, exhibitions, performing arts performances, film shows, literary gatherings, commemoration of special days, training classes (performing arts, self-development, etc.)
  • Specific activities for children, such as art competitions, essay competitions, guided tours, music classes, etc.
  • Launch of web-site and e-newsletter of Faiz Ghar

A cafeteria will be available to cater to the needs of visitors and staff.

 

It was planned to formally launch Faiz Ghar on 13 th February, 2009, the 98 th birthday of Faiz. However, some activities were to be initiated before the formal launch.

 

Physical Facilities, Staff and Budget

The re-designed and re-furbished Faiz Ghar will have the following physical facilities:

  • A main hall for seminars, performances, literary and other functions
  • Smaller rooms for offices, training classes, etc.
  • A library equipped with both digital and printed materials
  • A reception area
  • Various display areas
  • A cafeteria and kitchen
  • A small residence (bed and lounge) for a resident researcher or artist
  • Washrooms
  • Servant quarters

 

Necessary staff will be hired for this purpose, including a curator-cum-librarian, an event/publicity manager, an IT manager, and support staff (cafeteria incharge, security guard, peon, cleaner).

 

Governance of Faiz Ghar

Faiz Ghar is being run by the Board of Trustees of the Faiz Foundation Trust. The Board includes the immediate family of Faiz and eminent persons within Pakistan who have been associated with Faiz in different ways, namely:

 

  • Salima Hashmi
  • Muneeza Hashmi
  • Ali Hashmi
  • Yasir Hashmi
  • Adeel Hashmi
  • Mira Hashmi
  • I.A. Rehman
  • Tahira Mazhar Ali
  • Agha Nasir
  • Zaheer A. Kidvai
  • Arshad Mahmud

The Patrons of the Trust include eminent persons within and outside Pakistan in the field of film, art, literature, architecture, and education who have been closely associated with Faiz or his progressive and humanist ideas. They include the following:

  • Shabana Azmi , India
  • Bapsi Sidhwa , USA
  • Ludmila Vasilieva , Russia
  • Naomi Lazard, USA
  • Shama Zaidi , India
  • Ashfaq Hussain , Canada
  • Ali and Amna Naqvi, Hong Kong
  • Seema Aziz, Pakistan
  • Naeem Pasha, Pakistan
  • Fouzia Saeed, Pakistan

The affairs of Faiz Ghar are being overseen by a voluntary Management Committee.

Anybody can become a Friend of Faiz by filling in the membership form and depositing the annual membership fees. Members are entitled to priority invitation and/or discounted tickets to FFT-related events in their city, and the opportunity to utilise Faiz Ghar for organising or conducting their own cultural events.

Faiz Ahmed Faiz (1911-1984) was one of the leading poets of Pakistan. Listed four times for the Nobel Prize of Poetry, he was often compared to his friend Pablo Neruda, revolutionary poet and Nobel Prize winner, of Chile. Of Faiz’s multifaceted personality, which led him to become, amongst other things, an activist for human rights and liberties, a famous journalist and editor of literary magazines, trade unionist, and film song writer, it is his poetry which will, no doubt, best survive the test of time.

Apart from inventing the modern Urdu love poem, Faiz revolutionized the classical form of Urdu poetry, the Ghazal, giving it a powerful socio-political resonance. He used ancient forms of poetry, such as the Qawwali and the Geet, to convey his message of humanism without reference to caste, colour or creed.

Faiz, a Marxist, was born in Sialkot in India in 1911, the son of a barrister adventurer, and a former Afghan ambassador to the court of St. James.  He joined the newly formed Progressive Writers’ Movement in the 1930s, served in the Indian Army during the Second World War, becoming a Lieutenant Colonel, and after Partition- moved to Pakistan, where he became editor of the Pakistan Times, an English-language daily.  He also worked as managing editor of the Urdu daily Imroz, brought out a highly popular news magazine Lail-o-Nahar, and was actively involved in the trade union movement.

In the Lenin Peace Prize speech Faiz said: I believe that humanity which has never been defeated by its enemies will, after all, be successful; even now and at long last, instead of wars, hatred and cruelty, the foundation will rest on the message of Hafiz, an old Persian poet:: "Every foundation you see is defective, except the foundation of love, which is faultless..”

 

 


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Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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