Josh eulogised for his revolutionary poetry
By Jonaid Iqbal
ISLAMABAD: The towering stature of Josh Malihabadi will keep him on the top of the list of revolutionary poets in Urdu, Pakistan Academy of Letters (PAL) Chairman Fakhar Zaman said on Monday.
A biographical study, Josh — Mere Baba Shahks Aur Shair, written by the poet’s grandson, Farrukh Jamal Malihabadi, was also launched at the literary gathering held at the academy to mark the 28th death anniversary of Josh. The programme was arranged by the Josh Memorial Committee.
Mr Zaman promised to recommend to the government that Josh should be given the highest Pakistani award, besides instituting an academic chair in a university.
He spoke of the government’s lethargy in giving state recognition to the great poet. According to him, the only reason behind this delay was that Josh had received Padma Bhusan, the lustrous Indian award. He said this should not be a problem since Pakistanis given awards abroad also bring honour to their country.
Mr Zaman said the next issue of PAL’s publication Adabiyat would be dedicated to Josh.
However, Prof Fateh Mohammad Malik gave another reason.
Josh had criticised dictators and imperialists, and this would be the sole reason for the continued neglect of Josh by the establishment, Prof Malik said, adding that “the lesson is that the country should not remain under autocratic rules at any time.”
He said things used to be different during democratic governments, adding that former prime minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto visited the residence of Josh many time, often after dusk, and remained with him for long hours.
At Monday’s memorial function, scholar and writer Aalia Imam, who enjoyed the distinction of being addressed by Josh as a nightingale in community of writers’ community, brought up the subject of the continuing neglect of Josh at the official level.
Mr Imam demanded that the Pakistan government should establish Josh’s chair in universities, as well as translate his works in English and Persian languages.
Ghazanfar Mehdi again repeated his demand to name a street in the federal capital after Josh, besides establishing a chair in the Urdu department of the International Islamic University.
The motion was seconded by Raja Mohammad Iqbal, a former legislator of Gilgit-Baltistan, who sat in the audience.
He walked to the dais to declare his love for Josh Malihabadi and said the people of his area had already decided to name a street after Josh, preferable the main highway outside the airport.
A number of discussants such as Firdous Alam and Umar Riaz Abbasi thought of Farrukh Jamal’s book as a great contribution.
It was the first book written from a member of Josh’s household who had the opportunity to closely observe his everyday life and also had knowledge of his daily schedule.
They also highlighted the poetÂ’s love for humanity, irrespective of religion and creed. A person cannot be great unless he loves all other creations of Almighty God, they said.