ISLAMABAD: The Second death anniversary of progressive Urdu poet, Ahmed Faraz was observed on Wednesday.
Ahmed Faraz, who is considered to be one of the greatest modern Urdu poets of the last century, died in Islamabad on August 25, 2008.
Ethnically a Hindko speaking Pashtoon, Ahmed Faraz studied Persian and Urdu at Peshawar University, where he later became a lecturer.
Ahmed Faraz wrote his first couplet, when his father bought clothes for him and his brother on Eid. In an interview with Rediff, Faraz said that he didn’t like the clothes his father bought for him, but he wanted the ones his brother had gotten. He wrote:
Layen hain sab ke liye kapre sale se (He brought clothes for everybody from the sale)
Layen hain hamare liye kambal jail se (For me he brought a blanket from jail)
Ahmed Faraz considered Faiz Ahmed Faiz and Ali Sardar Jafri as his role models. Outspoken about politics, he went into self-imposed exile during Zia-ul-Haq’s era after he was arrested for reciting certain poems at a mushaira criticizing the military rule. Spending his exile in Britain, Canada and Europe he returned to Pakistan after six years, where he was initially appointed Chairman Academy of Letters and later, Chairperson of the Islamabad based National Book Foundation for several years.
He has been awarded with numerous national and international awards. He was awarded Hilal-e-Imtiaz in 2004 in recognition of his literary achievements, which he returned in 2006 as a sign of protest against the then government and its policies.
“My conscience will not forgive me if I remained a silent spectator of the sad happenings around us. The least I can do is to let the dictatorship know where it stands in the eyes of the concerned citizens whose fundamental rights have been usurped. I am doing this by returning the Hilal-e-Imtiaz(civil) forthwith and refuse to associate myself in any way with the regime,” said a statement issued by the poet.
Despite his deteriorating health, he was quite active during the Judicial Crisis in 2007 and joined the lawyers to protest against the government, and also encouraged his colleagues to do the same.