Jonesboro Bazm-e-Adab Celebrates Faiz’s 98 th Birthday
The Jonesboro Bazm-e-Adab held its inaugural meeting on February 15 to celebrate the 98 th Birthday of Pakistan’s eminent poet Faiz Ahmad Faiz at the Holiday Inn in Jonesboro, Arkansas.
The event was organized in concert with the activities planned in Lahore for the inauguration of ‘Faiz Ghar’. It was the first of its kind in this area and brought together poets, writers and intellectuals from all walks of life to celebrate the legacy of Faiz.
Dr. Urooj Akhtar Zaidi from Windsor, Ontario wasthe chief guest.
The meeting opened with a recitation from the Holy Qur’an. Following the recitation, one of Faiz’s grandchildren, Dr.Ali Hashmi of Jonesboro, presented a paper on ‘Faiz aur taraqqi pasand shaairee’(Faiz and Progressive Poetry) and highlighted the elements of humanism and patriotism in Faiz’s poetry and the marked influence of the all-India Progressive Writer’s Association on Faiz’s life and ideas.
Faiz was a progressive poet committed to the never ending struggle against oppression, injustice and poverty, remarked Dr.Hashmi, and went on to say that this was the main reason that the eminent poet’s ideas have endured.
Dr. Zaidi followed him with a scholarly paper entitled ‘Faiz: Shaksiyat aur Fun’(Faiz: Personality and Craft) in which he traced the contours of Faiz’s poetry in light of the two greatest poetic influences on his life, acknowledged several times by Faiz himself: Mirza Asadullah Khan Ghalib and Allama Muhammad Iqbal. Dr. Zaidi compared and contrasted Faiz’s poetic style with many of his contemporaries and predecessors, including Sauda, Meer and Momin as well as with giants of English poetry such as Keats, Shelly and Shakespeare. He also singled out Faiz’s humanism, his love of the downtrodden and his unshakeable belief in human progress as the core of his work and legacy.
This was followed by recitations and reflections by local poets. These included Dr.Ahmad Nadeem Rafi of Little Rock, Arkansas who read selections from his published works including two poems he had written in tribute to Faiz while still a medical student in Lahore when Faiz was admitted to Mayo Hospital in 1983.
Other poets also presented their work. The evening concluded with Dr.Zaidi sharing some of his own poetry and personal reminiscences of Faiz’s visit to Canada in 1981. The assembled guests were provided information and handouts about the work of Faiz Foundation Trust in promoting the Arts, Literature and Poetry in Lahore and North America and about ‘Faiz Ghar’, a museum housing Faiz memorabilia, papers, videos, photos and other documents.