‘Calling Faiz poem anti-Hindu absurd’

New Delhi:

Poet Javed Akhtar and renowned Urdu theorist Gopichand Narang have questioned and countered the view that a poem by the renowned sub–continent Urdu poet Faiz Ahmad Faiz is anti-Hindu in nature.

Narang said that Faiz used a lot of metaphors in his poetry which should not be taken literally. “Faiz was a communist poet. He was a poet for peace, love, freedom and social justice. This poem was written against Gen Zia-ul-Haq, the martial law administrator. There is nothing communal or anti-Hindu in it. The poem is metaphorical. Buut in the poem means anything that is lifeless,” said Narang, a Sahitya Akademi recipient.

Speaking to ANI about Faiz and the recent controversy, the writer told ANI, “Calling Faiz Ahmed Faiz ‘anti-Hindu’ is so absurd and funny that it’s difficult to seriously talk about it.”

The writer further said that Faiz wrote the poem ‘Hum Dekhenge‘ against the then Pakistan government run by the former President of the country Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq.

“He lived half his life outside Pakistan, he was called anti-Pakistan there. ‘Hum Dekhenge‘, he wrote against Zia ul Haq’s government, which was a communal regressive and fundamentalist government,” Mr Akhtar told ANI.

Further rejecting the claim of the poem being ”anti-Hindu”, Mr Akhtar explained a phrase from the poem and said, “He has mentioned a phrase – ‘Goonjega an-al-haq ka naara‘ which means ‘aham brahma‘, which means that the creator and creation is one, it is not an Islamic thought.”

The lines from the nazm, Hum Dekhenge, which have come under scrutiny are: “Jab arz-e-Khuda ke Ka’abe se, sab buut uthwaae jaayenge /Hum ahl-e-safa mardood-e-haram, masnad pe bithaaye jaayenge/ Sab taaj uchhale jaayenge, sab takht giraaye jaayenge/ Bas naam rahega Allah ka, hum dekhenge.”

In 1980s, a Zia-ul-Haq decree prohibited women from wearing saris. Pakistan’s singer Iqbal Bano, clad in a black sari, protested against the decree singing this nazm of Faiz in front of a crowd 50,000 strong in a Lahore stadium, according to rekhta.org.

Meanwhile, a PTI report says that IIT-Kanpur director Abhay Karandikar has criticised a section of the media for reporting since Wednesday that the institute has set up a committee to decide whether the poem is anti-Hindu or not, saying this is “very misleading”.

“The reality is that the institute has received complaints from multiple sections of the community that during a protest march taken out by students a certain poem was read and then subsequently certain social media posts were made, which were inflammatory,” Karandikar said.

“The institute has also received complaints from other sections of the community that during the march, a group tried to block the march, which was incorrect. So, the institute has set up a committee to look into all these complaints,” he added.