Contemporary writers being denied freedom of expression
By: Zaib Azkaar Hussain
Karachi: It’s ironic that the poets of the classical Urdu literature era were never restrained from expressing their bold poetic views and no one ever questioned their honesty of purpose regarding their works, but the writers of present times are facing great hardships on the issue of freedom of expression.
These views were voiced in a session during which prominent poetess Zehra Nigah and renowned novelist Intizar Husain read out some bold pieces from classical Urdu literature and noted short-story writer Asif Farrukhi acted as moderator.
When the three writers compared the situations, they concluded that the poets of classical era, including Ustad Sauda, Ustad Nasikh and Momin Khan Momin, did not compromise on their creativity and bold poetic expressions because the society did not argue with their intellectuals and scholars, but in the present times, the situation has changed for the worse.
Nigah read a couplet each from Nasikh and Sauda’s poetry as well as referred to Momin’s verses, saying that they were neither questioned nor were any fatwas issued against them.
Husain presented some extracts from ‘Jaatak Kahaanian’ in which Buddha tells the stories of a number of his rebirths in different eras and regimes.
In such stories, he came into being either as a ruler, as a slave, as an animal or in other forms, and every time he pleaded the causes of love, freedom and peace.
In another session, prominent scholars Bari Mian, Wajid Jawad and Mahmood Jamal read out Urdu poetry of different poets and presented a study of different movements in Urdu literature. Renowned journalist and writer Ghazi Salahuddin acted as moderator.
The speakers talked about the poetry of Mirza Ghalib, Faiz Ahmed Faiz, Ahmed Faraz and Habib Jalib, and expressed mixed views on the trends in Urdu literature.
Mian said that though Jalib created very powerful protest poetry, it served an immediate cause and did not produce lasting impacts.
However, Jawad and Jamal stressed upon the importance of expression. They were of the view that protest poetry created with a commitment and zeal also enriched literature. The speakers said Faiz had respected all aesthetical values, due to which his poetry is lasting.
The three speakers read out couplets from a Qaseeda by Ghalib, and said he created unique verses and enriched Urdu poetry.
In yet another session, renowned poet Amjad Islam Amjad presented his poetry. Arts Council President Muhammad Ahmed Shah acted as moderator of the session.
Amjad was appreciated for his unique diction in his Ghazal, but his poems drew greater applause from the audience.