Thursday, August 25, 2022

Remembering Ahmad Faraz

By Sumit Paul, New Age Islam 25 August 2022 “Ab Toh Ye Aalam Hai Ke Log Maut Ka Din Bhi Yaad Nahin Rakhte...." Ahmad Faraz (Such is the state of indifference that people don't even remember the day of one's death) Today, Aug 25, is famous Urdu poet Ahmad Faraz's 14th death anniversary. Though Faraz Sahab ruefully said this long ago, the connoisseurs of Urdu poetry still remember him. Ahmad Faraz will always be remembered as one of the three great Fs of Urdu poetry in the 20th century: Firaq, Faiz and Faraz. Particularly popular among the lovelorn youths of the sub-continent, Faraz's poetry gives voice to those with broken hearts: Ik Tu Hi Nahin Toota Ho Dil Jiska Har Shakhs Yahan Naakaam-e-Ishq Hai (You’re not alone with a broken heart/ every person has failed in love) Writing the above-mentioned couplet at the tender age of seventeen, Faraz signalled his arrival on the horizon of Urdu poetry with the Mozartian precociousness. An MA in Urdu and Persian from the Peshawar University, Faraz hailed from Kohat in NWFP. It's indeed an interesting coincidence that all three Fs were basically professors. Faiz taught English and edited an English daily, Firaq taught English at Allahabad University and Faraz also taught Urdu and Persian at Pakistani Universities. The academic erudition of all three greats lent a kind of intellectual element to their poetry and that's the reason, despite union and separation appearing as leitmotifs, esp. in the oeuvre of Firaq and Faraz, the truths of life also didn't escape their pens and poetic firmaments. This couplet of Faraz shows the reality of life so poignantly: Kaun Aakhir Tak Saath Deta Hai ' Faraz' Log To Janaze Mein Bhi Kaandhe Badalte Rahte Hain (Who stays with you till the end? / People keep changing their shoulders even while carrying the bier/coffin). And this one as well, “Mumkin Hai Ke Ye Dastoor Ho Hayaat Ka/ Milti Hai Ruswai Usi Ko Hota Jo Nek Hai” (Probably, this could be the rule of life/One who's good is often defamed). This instantaneously reminds one of Sahir's famous Misra from the song ' Chhoo Lene De Naazuk Honthon Ko’ from the movie, ‘Kajal’: Acchhon Ko Bura Saabit Karna Duniya Ki Purani Aadat Hai... Being a student of Persian and having taught the language, Faraz was familiar with the trends and nuances of Persian poetry and was particularly influenced by Khaqani and Nizami's mystic verses. To the general readers and not so serious followers of Urdu poetry, Faraz may be a prophet and proponent of unrequited love and a messiah of sighing love, his poetry has a kind of profundity that's innate and cannot be acquired. That's why, I tell those who love Faraz's poetry to go beyond his ' Ranjish Hi Sahi Dil Hi Dukhane Ke Liye Aa ' and 'Ab Ke Hum Bicchde Toh Shayad Kabhi Khwabon Mein Milein ' type cliches and dive into his more serious Urdu verses instead. By the way, the place, Kohat, Faraz hailed from is famous for the orchards of guavas and the guavas of Kohat are considered to be the next to those of Allahabad in India. Faraz was very fond of guavas and adored Firaq as the latter taught at Allahabad University. A chain smoker, he dipped the fag-ends in a glass of water before smoking, a habit he copied from the Hollywood actor of yore, Burt Lancaster. He'd also use the mellifluous Persian word Kohrakashi for smoking. Faraz indeed did full justice to his nom de guerre (Takhllus) which means ' elevation.' Read and enjoy his Elevated, Exquisite and Euphonic poetry. ----- A regular columnist for New Age Islam, Sumit Paul is a researcher in comparative religions, with special reference to Islam. He has contributed articles to world's premier publications in several languages including Persian. URL: New Age Islam, Islam Online, Islamic Website, African Muslim News, Arab World News, South Asia News, Indian Muslim News, World Muslim News, Women in Islam, Islamic Feminism, Arab Women, Women In Arab, Islamophobia in America, Muslim Women in West, Islam Women and Feminism

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