Faiz Foundation USA Inc. Launched in St. Louis

A section of the audience

The inaugural launch event of Faiz Foundation USA Inc. was held on June 19 at the Drury Plaza Hotel in St. Louis in memory of Faiz Ahmed Faiz, the 'people's poet' of South Asia and the world.

Faiz was the first Asian to receive the Lenin Peace Prize and was a Nobel Prize nominee. He was a poet with 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.

The event was attended by over 100 people belonging primarily to the South Asian community of St. Louis. It was organized by Faiz lovers in St. Louis and the surrounding areas and proved a great success.

Drs. Sultan and Ghazala Hayat were among the chief organizers of the event along with a number of other prominent Asian Americans in St. Louis. The featured speakers included Dr. Ali Hashmi from Arkansas, grandson of Faiz, his younger daughter, Moneeza Hashmi, who had come from Lahore,  and eminent scholar and historian Dr. Arfa Syeda who is also from Lahore. Besides, local speakers and poets presented papers on Faiz' life and work.

The event started with a recitation from the Holy Qur’an. Dr. Sultan Hayat then presented a brief paper on 'Faiz - Ek Jhalak'. This was followed by a paper on Faiz's poetical style by Dr. Shahid Ali. Dr. Ali Hashmi then presented a paper on the poetical relationship between Faiz and Iqbal followed by a musical rendition of Faiz's poem 'Umeed-e-seher' by Dr. Hamid Bashir.

Mrs. Moneeza Hashmi read a paper on the life of Faiz titled 'Do you know how to write poetry' followed by renditions of his poetry by local speakers.

The keynote talk was given by Dr. Arfa Syeda on 'Faiz: Kal, Aaj Aur Kal Ka Shaair'. Video clips about Faiz' life and work, including recitations of poetry by Faiz himself, were interspersed throughout the program eliciting much appreciation from the audience. The audience pledged their whole-hearted support for the work of Faiz Foundation and Faiz Ghar in pursuit of the ideals of Faiz.

Ms. Hashmi updated the audience about the events and celebrations planned in February 2011 in connection with the centennial of Faiz's birth all over the world, including the USA, Canada, England, Sweden, Russia, South Africa and South Asia including India and Pakistan.

Faiz' books 'Nuskha hai wafa', CDs of musical renditions of his works by notable singers including Nayyara Noor, Abida Parveen and Tina Sani as well as recitations of his work by Zia Muhyeddin were also available for the attendees. A new translation of a selection of his poems by Professor Shoaib Hashmi titled 'A Song for This Day' was also on display. It has been published by Sang-e-Meel, Pakistan.

The next event in the series was planned to take place in Boston on June 27.




Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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