The Urdu Cultural Society, Chicago, dedicated its monthly seminar held on January 17 at the Schaumburg Library, Schaumburg, Illinois, to celebrate the genius of Faiz Ahmad Faiz. Hailed as one of the greatest Urdu poets of the last century, Faiz Ahmed Faiz (1911-1984) is seen by many as the true successor of the great Urdu poet, Ghalib. Faiz brought both subtlety and social commitment to this poetry.
The seminar started with a cyber Mushiarah which showcased poems read by Faiz. Following the cyber Mushriah, prominent speakers shared their insights about various aspects of the genius of Faiz Ahmad Faiz. Mazher Alam talked about the fusion of classical and modern traditions in Faiz’s poetry. Syed Najam ul Hasan shared his insights about the prose penned by Faiz. Dr. Ahmed Shahzad Khan presented his paper titled “Faiz Ahmed Faiz: Nazim-e-Parvarish-e-Loh-ho-Qalum.” He said that Faiz Sahib was a giant among the literary giants of the world. In the 20 th century his greatness was tried to be contained by “labels.” In a world of political correctness, his greatness became a victim of the cold war. Indeed, Faiz Sahib was not what he was made out to appear. In the 21 st century a new look at his poetry reveals the “un-labeled Faiz Sahib.” He is a poet of humanity, emotion, wisdom, love, passion and action. In today’s world of chaos, people around the world miss two great champions of humanity: Faiz Ahmed Faiz and Bertrand Russell. Today, in these testing times, it appears that Faiz Sahib’s message is reverberating and giving hope to millions; as if he is saying, Dostoo, friends, take courage:
At this moment it seems like nothing exists
No moon, no Sun, neither darkness nor radiance…
It is true, this lonesome moment is very cruel and testing
But, O my heart, this is only just a moment,
Take courage, there is all the time that remains to live on.
Muhammad Ghulam said that Faiz dedicated his entire life to promote social equity in society. Hashmat Sohail said that Faiz belongs to the elite league of Urdu poets: Ghalib, Mir and Iqbal. He recited various poems of Faiz and expounded on their background and context. Aslam Kabir presented the life history of Faiz. He said that Faiz spent several years in jail on political charges and gave up journalism in 1959, when the Pakistan Times was taken over by the military regime of Ayub Khan. In 1962 Faiz was awarded the Lenin Peace Prize. Faiz was a great champion of humanity. Faiz died on November 20, 1984.