Tribune News Service
Amritsar, August 28
The Majha House hosted Saif Mahmood and Mohsin Sayeed, two-eminent Urdu writers and poets, to talk about Urdu poetry and its relevance in these troubled times.
The duo talked about Urdu poetry and its role and presence in the times of hate, with reference to political and social divisions.
One persistent fallacy that we must do away with is that Urdu poetry is just about love, wine and romance. If we cast a deep look at the variety of poetry that we have in the language we will discover that Urdu poetry addresses almost all malaise of life in every phase of time. Whether it was standing against the establishment or lodging any protest, Urdu poetry has always been the voice of dissent. — Saif Mahmood, a writer & author of 'Beloved Delhi: A Mughal city and her greatest poets'
Preeti Gill, founder, Majha House, said, “Urdu has always been regarded as the language of love and Urdu poetry provides succour and solace from hate. We all need a cohesive force to bring us together irrespective of our differences.”
Mahmood, considered an astonishing repository of Urdu poetry, is a writer and author of ‘Beloved Delhi: A Mughal city and her greatest poets’. Sayeed, is a writer and commentator of the series, ‘The Pink tree in Karachi and Lahore’.
Calling Urdu poetry the medium of protest and dissent against divisive forces, Mahmood said, “One persistent fallacy that we must do away with is that Urdu poetry is just about love, wine and romance. If we cast a deep look at the variety of poetry that we have in the language we will discover that Urdu poetry addresses almost all malaise of life in every phase of time. Whether it was standing against the establishment or lodging any protest, Urdu poetry has always been the voice of dissent.”
He cited Ahmad Faraz’s poem, ‘Mohaasra’, written in rebellion against the political order warning the poets of protest. “The poem is a harsh indictment of the tyrannical rule of Zia Ul Haq and his military regime. He did not bow down to the dictator and went on fearlessly to recite this very nazm at a mushaira after which he was arrested. Like him, Faiz Ahmad Faiz also fearlessly wrote against the powers. And in spite of the thundering tones and the violent imagery of their poems, there is always a ray of hope therein which inspire people to dream of a better future,” he said.
Mahmood stressed that this protest is not something new and modern as many are led to believe; it has been going on since the times of Mir, Ghalib and Sauda. He further added that the protest we were talking about isn’t only against religion or the state; it’s also against parochial views about sexuality.
“Mir has written many ghazals, which may be termed obscene today, but they have distinct undertones of homosexuality. Even poets like Khusro, Hasrat and Haali, wrote extensively about infanticide and sexual abuse. Thus, these poets, regarded primarily as love poets, can also be regarded rightly as feminist poets. Even latter-day poets, including Zehra Nigaah, composed many hard hitting poems in protest against violence against women. Poems like ‘Gul badshah’ and ‘Main bach gayi maan’ were written years ago, yet they remain relevant even today,” said Mahmood.
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