Indians bonding with Pakistan at Faiz birthday gala

Thursday, February 24, 2011

NEW DELHI - Indians are bonding with Pakistan at the birth centenary gala of celebrated Urdu poet Faiz Ahmed Faiz taking place in Delhi with a number of programmes showcasing the progressive writer’s ghazal and nazms.

The Pakistan-based poet (1911-1984), who opened new vistas in contemporary Urdu literature with his pro-people’s outlook and progressive writing, was a friend of India through his poems and ghazals, which combined themes of love, beauty and political ideals into a vision of a better and a just world.

The birthday gala in collaboration with the Indian chapter of the Progressive Writers’ Alliance began in the capital Feb 21 at the Indian International Centre with soiree of recitals of his “nazms” and “ghazals” and renditions of his songs in dances, Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) director-general Suresh Goel said.

The founder of the Progressive Writers’ Movement in Punjab, Faiz was posted briefly in Delhi during World War II. He kept in touch with the Left-oriented political groups in India through his literature that was influenced by Soviet Marxism.

He also spent a number of years in India during his exile from his homeland.

“On Feb 25, the celebrations will begin with a seminar on Faiz at the Rashtrapati Bhavan that will be chaired by President Pratibha Patil and attended by dignitaries and members of the Progressive Writers’ Alliance. The participants will pay their tribute to the poet with a discussion about the relevance of his work in the contemporary socio-culture milieu of both India and Pakistan,” Goel told IANS.

It will be followed by an evening of Faiz’ ghazals rendered by Jagjit Singh and Pakistani singer Tina Sani at the Siri Fort theatre, he said.

The next day (Feb 26), a mushaira (poetry recital) will be inaugurated by Delhi Chief Minister Shiela Dikshit at the FICCI theatre, he said.

“As a poet Faiz was relevant to Indians because his ghazals appealed to people across all age-groups. Even the GenNext can relate to his poetry because they are progressive, Goel said.

Goel said the birthday celebrations featuring Pakistani performers was a another step forward in strengthening cultural ties between the two nations.

The director-general of ICCR said it was pursuing a vigorous policy cultural exchange and initiatives with its neighbours that included exchanges in education, performing arts and Sufi music.

“We are collaborating with Bangladesh to celebrate to the 150th birth anniversary of Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore this year and to carry forward the legacy of revolutionary poet Kazi Nazrul Islam. We have a vigorous education exchange with Afghanistan. At least 600 students come to study in India every year. A bulk of them pursues liberal arts as their major subjects of study,” he said.

The ICCR has initiated collaborative projects in Buddhist studies and religious arts with Myanmar and Nepal, Goel added.

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