Faiz Remembered….

Akrita Reyar Jashn Ka Din Hai Junnon Ki Yaad Manao It is only for greats that such sentiments can be sung even to mark their death. For they are immortal because of the legacy that they leave behind, which continues to breathe, and inspire.

And which artistic heritage can be more valuable than the gifted pen of Faiz Ahmed Faiz. His mesmerising verses, as well as our love for Urdu poetry, are now just the few strands left that still tie India and Pakistan together. Delhi commemorated the 25th death anniversary of Faiz, the great Pakistani shayyar, in an event organised jointly by Sahmat and Nehru Memorial on Thursday. His timeless cantos were brought alive by the melodious, yet powerful, voice of well-known classical singer Shubha Mudgal. At the onset of the programme, the ever so modest Shubha made an open confession that she had neither learnt Urdu, nor she knew the nuances of its pronunciation, so there would be ample mistakes. But because she was a devotee of Faiz, she was doing the dus sahas (impertinence) of singing his poetry. She added, “Phir maine socha, ki agar dus sahas kar hi rahey hai to zara jum key karen" (I then thought, if I am taking the liberty, I may as well do it with aplomb) After getting all shutterbugs to switch off their cameras, Shubha went on to present a medley of ghazals…from the lovelorn stanzas, to the feeling of emptiness that any human being experiences in some phase of his life. “Is waqt tu yun lagta hai kah kuch bhi nahin hai Mahtab na sooraj, na andhera na sawera Ankhon kai dareechai pai kisi khuwab kee chilman Aur dil kee panahon mein kisi dard ka derra” Among the other songs that she presented was ‘Sukhi Rahe Teri Raat’ and also ‘Jinki Rah Takte Jug Beet Gaye….’ Befitting to Faiz’s stature of a revolutionary, who unceasingly called for change in his land, Shubha recalled the bravado in his writings… “Tujh Ko kitno ka lahoo Chhahiye Aey Arze wattan Jo Tere Aarize Berang ko Gulnaar Karein Kitni Aahon se Kaleja tera Thanda hoga Kitney Aansoo tere Sehraon ko Gulzaar Karein Hum To Mehmaan hain Ghadi Bhar ke Hamaara kya Hai" After loud cheers and prodding, Shuba, who had finished her presentation, agreed to continue singing, but warned that she was tempted to recite a long piece, which may get a bit boring. On this, an enthusiast from the audience responded that Delhiwalas were used to long traffic jams. On the whole, the entire evening was vibrant, warm and had a cosy feeling of a mushaira, even though the venue was Teen Murti Auditorium. Shubha’s musical tribute to this giant of Urdu poetry spoke volumes of her love for his creations, something which she had confessed to at the onset, calling herself his “murid and bhakt”. The event had begun with small lecture on the life and times of Faiz by the eminent academician Prof Sadiq ur Rahman Kidwai. Recalling Faiz’s vitality in his writings, as well as gentility in his demeanour, he sought to bestow praise on the poet calling him a landmark in his genre. Going by the response of audience and the calls for encore for the ghazals, it was clear that Faiz is one of those rare, once in a century artists, who Delhi shall never forget.

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