Daily Archives: August 28, 2009

Revisiting Faiz

Coming Back Home: Selected Articles, Editorials and Interviews of Faiz Ahmed Faiz,
Compiled by Sheema Majeed, Introduction by Khalid Hasan, Oxford University Press, Karachi, 2008, pp 157, Rs 295.

‘Politics and history are interwoven, but not commensurate,’ said Lord Acton (1834-1902) in his inaugural lecture as Regius Professor at Cambridge in 1895. So also politics and prose, and, in the worst of times, politics and poetry. There can be no better example of this axiom in the twentieth century than the writings of the revolutionary Urdu poet, Faiz Ahmed Faiz. While most readers in South Asia are familiar with his poetry, few would have read his writings in English. Faiz wrote, prolifically and compellingly, on the events that shaped the destiny of the sub-continent.

Coming Back Home gives the English reader a sampling of the poet’s prose writings – a selection of newspaper editorials, articles and interviews compiled by Sheema Majeed. The title, however, is a bit of a mystery, for many contributions – arranged in no particular order – pre-date his exile and years away from Pakistan. The very first entry is an editorial from The Pakistan Times entitled ‘What Price Liberty?’ written in April 1948 long before his jail term and the spells away from home. No attempt is made to explain the title – neither in the publisher’s blurb on the jacket, nor in the introduction by Khalid Hasan. Hasan’s memoir, coming nearly at the end of the book, however, does talk of the years after 1982 when Faiz returned to live in Pakistan. Continue reading

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The Future Belongs To Jinnah

By Yasser Latif Hamdani

Jaswant Singh’s 670-page book on Pakistan’s founding father, Mohammad Ali Jinnah, has reignited the debate on Partition. From an academic point of view, however, he doesn’t seem to have said anything out of the ordinary. Much of this was first stated by Maulana Azad in his “India Wins Freedom”. In the intervening years between Azad and Jaswant Singh, several perceptive historians and authors, many from India, also presented a similar view of history, chief amongst them H M Seervai with his classic “Partition of India: Legend and Reality”. However, there is a new angle in Singh’s biography that is as much an indication of where things are moving in India as much as it is a historical context. Continue reading

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