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Faiz’s poems in illustrated English book by daughter

Kolkata: Have you ever tried to read a poem by looking at a piece of painting?

Legendary Pakistani poet Faiz Ahmed Faiz`s daughter Salima Hashmi has attempted to reflect the mood of her late father`s work through her paintings.

The illustrated book ‘A Song For This Day’ carries English translations of 51 Urdu poems by Faiz with images drawn by Hashmi against the backdrop of each verse.

Translations in the book, which marks the birth centenary celebrations of Pakistan`s most famous poet, have been done by playwright Shoaib Hashmi, who is married to Salima.

Describing her effort on canvas as "visual wanderings, textures and lines which seem to be appropriate with the poetry", she says she hasn`t tried to illustrate poems.

"I am not sure if I can aspire to reflect the essence of the poems. But it has got more to do with the mood. Paintings form a backdrop for the words and do not seek to interpret," Hashmi, a prominent writer-painter, told reporters from Pakistan.

The husband-wife played with the idea of translating and visually depicting the Urdu poems for over a decade.

"There was no conscious criterion on the selection of poems. It was just Shoaib`s predilections and passions. He would translate a poem and then put it away. This happened over many years," she says.

Hashmi will be in India next week to attend the Apeejay Kolkata Literary Festival (AKLF) where she will discuss about the book and the indelible impression which his iconic father has left in the minds of an entire generation in Pakistan.

Being orgainsed by the Apeejay Trusts, the third edition of AKLF will celebrate the birth centenary of Faiz.

The communist intellectual and poet was the first Asian to receive the Lenin Peace Prize and also awarded the Lotus Prize for Literature in 1976. He passed away in 1984.

"Faiz`s poetry reflects and marks major events in Pakistan’s history. So much of my life, work and aspiration are tied up with his poetry, because it says in words what I have felt and experienced," she says.

Describing her father as a friend, a comforter, a source of strength and courage even after three decades of his death, she said she finds solace in his memories and poetries in moments of sadness and stress.

Representing the first generation of modern artists in Pakistan, who carry an artistic identity different from indigenous artists, she is known for her strong condemnation of nuclear programs of both the countries.

On how the current political upheaval in Pakistan is affecting the lives and thoughts of artists there, she said the growth of art is never adversely affected as a result.

"The current situation is turbulent, but I have seldom known it to be otherwise. I claim that the worse it gets, the better is the art that comes out of Pakistan. Perhaps it is something to do with the resilience, innovative spirit and courage of our artists," says Hashmi.

PTI

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