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Rambling on: Ahmed Faraz _ a life to cherish

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Ahmed Faraz _ a life to cherish

ahmed faraz’s passing away yesterday though expected on account of ill health, his well wishers were praying that he recovered from the complications following his return from the the US

the stature of the man can be guaged from the fact that his passing away made headlines

his poetry defines the terrain of urdu romantic poetry and more than this laid the framework of arts and aesthetics; I wondered, after i heard this sad news, when was it that I read Faraz the first time

surely must've been early 80s which was not particularly a good time to be a teenager in pakistan

teenage angst overloaded with peer pressure, enter Ahmed Faraz by way of elder siblings’ "trash" dumped in my room

God bless them for getting bored with books quickly & the "trash" found its way to my room and multiplied in a predicable fashion as older boys in the family turned into men; independent,cocky 80s frustrations personified

“Dard Ashoob” was the book whose sleeve big brother hand-marked "Nov'83" & his intials, for posterity & to deter book-thieves who were plenty, myself included.

Books I purchased from pocket money were Tanha Tanha and Jana Jana,

my room was a scene from a disaster movie on account of above “trash” (manna from heaven as far as I was concerned) that littered the room

mum dearest heaping scorn, known-flying-objects hurled with unusual accuracy at me; I had to listen to her constantly nagging that i cleaned up

once she coaxed dad to join in and one “stare” on his part was enough for anyone to lose bladder control & he put it to great use.

the big guy added a few words of advice, veiled threat of unfathomable consequences if condition in my roomdid not improve, I acquiesced

it was the last time my mum ever complained

for her it was enough that I made no effort to clean up, or to borrow from her choicest sindhi saying “those who did not look after themselves can hardly be trusted with any other responsibility”

but I digress

coming to Faraz, AM radio had taken firm place in the corner on top of a bookshelf that played urdu ghazal by a groggy radio pakistan

mehdi hasan singing “to khuda hai na maira ishq farishtoon jaisa; dono insaan hain to kyon itnay hijaboon say milain”

or amanat ali khan singing
“tairay hotay hoyay mehfil main jalatay hain charagh, log kya saada hain, sooraj do dikhaatay hain chiragh”

Simple serene the lower sur of amanat ali khan, there has not been a better ghazal singer than him ever

the tone & thunder of Faraz’s free/blank verse of an eye-opener

there was one nazm that was confrontation with the divine

started with “ay khudayay buzurg o barter” and went on to compare the manifestation of divine love with the one that is associated, generally, with the opposite sex;

being a teenager, I immaturely thought that the nazm alluded to confrontation with the divine & was tantamount to blasphemy (we were afterall under zia’s rule so commonsense was jaundiced by sheer stupidity) but as I read more of faraz, I was convinced that in this defiance was an acknowledgement of divine supremacy and admission of a larger human condition of abject helplessness especially in matters of the heart

on one thing, I agree with some of the people who have offered condolences to the bereaved family that his life needs to be celebrated and I treat myself fortunate that I was able to live in the age of Faraz


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