“The Harvest of Hope” – A Tribute to Sabeen

May 26, 2015
Desi Writers Lounge hosted a resistance poetry session at Alliance Francaise Karachi on Monday, 25th May. Organized in the conference hall, the session started with Farheen Zehra reciting Faiz's poem "Ye Fasl Umeeedon Ki Humdum" and introducing the purpose of this session to the audience.

The first performance was by Ali Azfar, with Ali Raza Soomro on guitar, who gave  the audience a history of Urdu resistance poetry. Sharing words from renowned poets starting from Bahadur Shah Zafar, he recounted the impact of the poetry on the people and how these words interacted as well as changed with time as the British were replaced by bureaucracy and military governments.

Adnan Jaffar and Tariq Raja came next to recite and perform poetry from Habib Jalib, Josh Malih Abadi and Sahir Ludhianvi. They mimicked a style appropriate to the verses, sitting in casual style for Jalib's work and straightening up for Josh Malih Abadi. Farheen came next to read Afzal Ahmed's poem "Hamein Bahut Sare Phool Chahiyen" (we need a whole lot of flowers), an azad nazm from one of his recent publications (the poet himself was attending the event). The poem highlighted different aspects and brutalities of life in our society that often require flowers for remembrance.

From Urdu poetry the team moved to regional resistance poetry where Imdad Hussaini's "Istaqbaal" was read by Tariq Raja and translation by Ali Azfar. It was followed by Pushto, Pubjabi and Balochi resistance poetry with couplets recited from works of Khushal Khan Khattak, Amrita Pritam and Gul Khan Nasir and the translations were read by Ali Azfar, Fahad Bhatti and Afia Aslam. A few interesting bits were shared about regional poetry including their history; for example the Balochi poet Gul Khan Nasir was friend of Faiz Ahmed Faiz and it was said if Gul Khan was born in Punjab, he would have been Faiz Ahmed Faiz and if Faiz Ahmed Faiz born in Balochistan, he would have been Gul Khan Nasir.

Next came perhaps the most dynamic segment of the event, a performance by Fawad Khan on Sayeed Naqvi's short fiction Khudkush Bambar. A story about a young writer, writing in the death of the night while trying to hide from being discovered and confronted by ghosts of great writers of the past when he decides to give up. A hilarious tale where Fawad not only clearly recited each word clearly but also accurately portrayed each character in the story.

Adnan Jaffar came next to read Habib Jalib's famous poem "Mein Nay Uss Say Yeh Kaha" (This is what I said to him) and was followed by French resistance poetry recited by Jean-Francois Chenin, translation read by Farheen Zehra.

The last, a group performance, was on Urdu translation of Pablo Neruda poem where Fahad Bhatti recited while playing the guitar and remaining participants surrounded the room and echoed the words.


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