Lovers of Urdu poetry will be delighted to know there is a website that provides access to more than 8,000 ghazals and 1,000 e-books. Its promoter said:
“I am happy to say that the website has more than 8,000 ghazals, 700 nazms and 1,000 e-books from across 700 poets,” Sanjiv Saraf, an IIT-Kharagpur graduate and entrepreneur whose company is one of the world’s largest producers of PET film, said at a function here to commemorate the first anniversary of www.rekhta.org. The website is available in three languages – Urdu, Hindi and English, “thus majorly catering to all segments of users. The site has recently been made responsive, which would enable users across all platforms, including desktops and laptops, tablets and mobile phones”, Saraf said. He said what differentiates the website “is its enriching content that encompasses all genres of Urdu literature. The site boasts of not only a splendid collection of Urdu poetry, ghazals, nazms, marsiyas, rekhti and short stories, but also carries may rarely available books and magazines in the form of e-books”.
Having recently been introduced to Urdu poetry I eagerly visited the site and found a You Tube video of Faiz Ahmad Faiz reciting one of his poems. Here’s the video and a little background on the poet. I’d welcome any information readers would like to share about Urdu poetry and Faiz.
Faiz Ahmad Faiz was an influential intellectual, revolutionary poet, and one of the most famous poets of the Urdu and Punjabi language from Pakistan. A notable member of the Progressive Writers’ Movement (PWM), Faiz was an avowed Marxist. Listed four times for the Nobel Prize in poetry, he received the Lenin Peace Prize by the Soviet Union in 1962. Despite being repeatedly accused of atheism by the political and military establishment, Faiz’s poetry suggested a more nuanced relationship with religion in general and with Islam in particular. He was, in fact, greatly inspired by both secular poetry and South Asia’s Sufi traditions. His popular ghazal Hum Dekhenge is an example of how he fused these interests.
Faiz was controversially named and linked by Prime minister Liaquat Ali Khan’s government for hatching the conspiracy (see Rawalpindi conspiracy case) against Liaquat Ali Khan’s government, along with a left-wing military sponsor Major-General Akbar Khan. Having been arrested by Military police, Faiz among others received a maximum sentence by JAG branch, although his sentence was commuted after the assassination of Liaquat Ali Khan in 1951.
He remained extremely influential in Pakistan and his work continues to influence the country’s literature and arts. Faiz was honored by the Pakistan Government after his literary work was publicly endorsed and posthumously honored him with nation’s highest civil award, Nishan-e-Imtiaz, in 1990.
Faiz was an avowed supporter of Sufism. He had close relations with several Sufi saints of his time. He was a favourite of Baba Malang Sahib, a Sufi of Lahore, Wasif Ali Wasif, Ashfaq Ahmad, Syed Fakhruddin Balley and other renowned Sufis. Once when he was asked how he could compare Sufis with socialist comrades, he replied, “They [Sufis] are the real comrades”.