By Ali Husain Mir, Raza Mir
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Additional resources for Anthems of Resistance: A Celebration of Progressive Urdu Poetry
No one seems to know, not even the lamp that lights up the path Offering a similar disillusioned take, but deploying a harsher tone, Sahir’s poem ‘Mufaahimat’ (Compromise) announced: Ye jashn jashn-e masarrat nahiñ, tamaasha hai Naye libaas meiñ nikla hai rahzani ka juloos 57 ANTHEMS OF RESISTANCE Hazaar shamm-e aquwwat bujha ke chamke haiñ Ye teeragi ke ubhaare hue naye faanoos This is not a celebration of joy, but a vulgar spectacle The same procession of robbers has emerged wearing new clothes After extinguishing a thousand lamps of relationships A new lampshade has been trotted out by the darkness In a poem that was probably written a few years later, Ahmad Faraz echoes the sentiments that were dominant among the Progressives in Pakistan: Ab kis ka jashn manaate ho Us desh ka jo taqseem hua Us desh ka geet sunaate ho Jo toot ke hi tasleem hua In mazloomoñ ka jin ke lahu se Tum ne firoza raateñ ki Ya un mazloomoñ ka jin se Khanjar ki zubaañ meiñ baateñ ki Now what do you celebrate?
There was little room in their work for the mystical, the esoteric, the recondite or the abstract. The Bengal famine, the antiimperialist struggles, the disaster of Partition, the injustices of war and the American intervention in Vietnam were all dealt with, not merely as lamentations in the manner of shahr-ashoob or marsiyas (dirges), but as events that deserved explicit attention and action. The Poetry of Incitement, the Poetry of Anger The new breed of revolutionary Urdu poets (Urdu ke jadeed inquilaabi shaayar, as Sajjad Zaheer called them) 38 URDU POETRY AND THE PROGRESSIVE AESTHETIC took their label seriously and sought to make their poems reverberate with a novel passion.
Notwithstanding the fact that the moment of Independence and the following period had not resulted in the fulfilment of their socialist dream, the Progressives continued 62 SAARE JAHAAN SE ACHCHA to write with great intensity about issues of social justice. But their aspirations were now different, their enthusiasm and hope for an egalitarian society now tempered. This period was marked by the decline of the movement and progressive Urdu poetry spoke chiefly through the remaining voices of those who had carried its banner so proudly in the past.
Anthems of Resistance: A Celebration of Progressive Urdu Poetry by Ali Husain Mir, Raza Mir