Echoes of Iqbal and Faiz Enthrall Bay Area Audience
By Hazem Kira


Pictures above: Glimpses of the literary meeting “Urdu Adab Keh Fikri Mudd-or-jazr: Iqbal Seh Faiz Tuk” organized by the PADF Literary Forum

Newark , CA :  Although this event, billed as “Urdu Adab Keh Fikri Mudd-or-jazr: Iqbal Seh Faiz Tuk” was one of the dozens of literary events organized by the PADF Literary Forum, yet it was a very different one. And not surprisingly it has been receiving raving reviews from those in a position to judge.

“We may have crossed the Rubicon in building a community of cultural discourse in the Bay Area,” one of the organizers said.

The two-part program consisted of scholarly presentations and musical renditions of Faiz and Iqbal.  The five scholarly presentations will be published in the International Journal of Pakistan Studies.

From Iqbal to Faiz: Essence and Love in Urdu Poetry

Here is a brief summary of the first paper written by Prof. Nazeer Ahmed and read by Mamoona Ahmed:

Two great poets, one idolized by his people, the other imprisoned by the same people; two lovers, one whose love was tethered to the throne of God and the world of man, the other whose love was the floating unfettered; two great minds, one for whom the destination was known, the other who left it undefined; two reformers, one who stayed within the envelope of his tradition and sought to renew it, the other who broke away from it and looked for solutions outside the envelope;  two revolutionaries, one who sought to transform individuals and societies through a transformation of the self, the other who sought  such transformation on the basis of love alone; two philosophers, one who sought the principle of movement of a civilization in the discovery and application of divine commands, the other who sought it in material dialectic of the oppressor and the oppressed. The contrast between Iqbal and Faiz can be as illuminating as a contrast between Plato and Aristotle.

What is astonishing is that these two great minds had their origin in the same  social milieu of Sailkot and Lahore. At the beginning of the twentieth century Northern Punjab was a nursery for nationalist and patriotic fervor against the entrenched British.  Iqbal and Faiz received similar training in their childhood which included the Qur’an, the languages, namely Urdu, Farsi, and Arabic, Tasawawuf and Ethics of Akhlaq. They had the same teacher, Maulvi Syed Meer Hassan, known in the region for his learning and his discipline.

(To be continued)

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Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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