Praise showered on Sheikh Ayaz
By Mohammad Hussain Khan
HYDERABAD: Intellectuals, scholars and writers paid rich tributes to Sheikh Ayaz, the greatest Sindhi poet of 20th century popular for his revolutionary verses, at a literary conference held at Sindh Museum here on Tuesday to mark the poet’s 87th birth anniversary.
The conference organised by the Sindh Culture Department was part of Sheikh Ayaz festival which also featured exhibition of the poet’s photographs. The department held festival in in collaboration with a Sindhi media organisation.
The festival was in progress when this report was filed at 8:30pm. The audience were waiting for Sheikh Ayaz’s opera ‘Dodo Soomro jo Moat’ (Death of Dodo Soomro), which depicts valiant fight by the 13th century ruler of Sindh against Alauddin Khilji and his army. Dodo died fighting.
Ibrahim Joyo, a contemporary of Sheikh Ayaz, said that there would hardly be any poet who matched Sheikh Ayaz’s poetry. He preached love for oneÂ’s people and homeland and always backed people whenever it came to resistance, he said.
He said that Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai and Sheikh Ayaz would be remembered as long as Sindhi language is alive. Ayaz is a harbinger of a new dawn and an invaluable asset of Sindhi literature, he said.
Novelist Agha Saleem, who has translated selected verses of Ayaz into English, said that he had tried to pay back the debt he owed to the great poet.
Sindhi Language Authority’s secretary and writer Taj Joyo said that Ayaz had devoured enough western and eastern poetry and philosophy before launching his career as a poet.
“Sheikh Ayaz embellished his philosophy with melody and poetry,” he said, and added that he was a poet of nature. Today the culture department had proved right the great poet’s words who had predicted that his grave would become a source of festival, he said.
Moonis Ayaz, son of Sheikh Ayaz, read a biographical note on his father, reflecting the various positions he held in his life and his special love for Tharparkar.
He had written so much about Thar that even a Thari poet could not have done so, he said.
Sindh Minister for Culture Sassui Palijo described Ayaz as a poet of oppressed nations and classes. The government would establish an educational institution named after the great poet and would publish his 67 books, he said.
Fatima Hassan and Hameed Sindhi also spoke on the occasion. Four books, two in Sindhi and two in Urdu, were launched on the occasion.
The Sindhi books were titled “Akan Neer Phulya” and “Raj Ghat Tay Chand.
One of the Urdu books “Halqa Meri Zanjeer Ka” is a translation by Fehmida Riaz and the second contains “Boo-i-Gul Nala-i-Dil” and “Neel Kanth Or Neem Kay Pattay”, two Urdu anthologies by Sheikh Ayaz who used to write poetry in Urdu before partition of India.
These books are part of an ambitious project launched by the culture department to bring out collected works of Shaikh Ayaz in 22 volumes.
The conference began with Mazhar Hussain accompanied by Sobia and Bakhtawar singing Sheikh Ayaz’s most popular Wayee (a soulful song): “Tiri Pavanda.”
Earlier in the morning, a delegation of writers and intellectuals laid floral wreaths on the grave of Sheikh Ayaz in Bhit Shah near the shrine of the greatest ever poet of Sindhi language Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai.