Karachi Arts Council hosts joint program for Mirza Ghalib and Faiz Ahmed Faiz

MAMOSA Report — Pakistan’s prestigious center for art and literature, the Arts Council in its financial capital, hosted an evening dedicated jointly to legendary and iconic figures of Urdu literature, Mirza Ghalib and Faiz Ahmed Faiz.

The joint commemoration was held as February 13 was Faiz’s birthday and February 15 was Ghalib’s death anniversary.

Zia Mohyeddin

Veteran theater actor and director Zia Mohyeddin’s recitation of Ghalib’s poems in his powerful, inimitable style, virtually carried the listeners to the locale of the poems being recited.

Mohyeddin, the high profile thespian, first recited Ghalib’s verse, all dealing with life and its complexities of human relations and human situations. His style of recitation was unexcelled and it really brought home to the audiences so many profound truths. He recited these for over half-an-hour as well.

Next, after a five-minute interval, he recited Faiz’s verse, again at the most elevated philosophical plane. His style was simply impeccable with the same commanding, well modulated voice that makes his recitations all the more profound.

In the broader context, the subject matter of Faiz’s poems was akin to Ghalib’s but it was more focused on the attainment of social justice and against exploitation, a hallmark of the capitalist set up. It was highly inspirational and had the audience enraptured.

One of the verses was ‘Ashgabat Ki Sham’ describing the dying day in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, with the dying embers of the sun mingling with the blue horizon. It was as if one were transported to the very city — such was the power of the fairy tale description.

Dr Nomanul Haq,professor at the Institute of Business Administration, University of Karachi, spoke on the legendary poetry of Mirza Ghalib. 

Reciting Ghalib’s verse in a very profound manner, he said that Ghalib’s philosophy was one of pragmatism as he had very insightful and bold comments on life and on human situations. Haq said he was reciting the visual dimensions of Ghalib’s verse. His recitation continued for over half-an-hour and was well received by the audience.

The ability to draw similarity in Faiz and Ghalib’s poetry was a unique offering. Karachi literati loved it, specially after being treated with a packful of theater dramas during the month long Karachi Theater Festival held in December.

The Arts Council also staged Anwar Maqsood’s Siachen for two months and attracted a sizable theater-going population. Perhaps the war-theme of the play, the story of soldiers fighting on the border away from home, struck a chord with people given the war-fueled national narrative.

Aside from these, Sunil Shankar’s Qusoorwaar, an adaptation of a 1957 Hollywood film, 12 Angry Men, that tackles the themes of crime and punishment, was showcased at NAPA in December amid much acclaim.

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