ISLAMABAD: The launching ceremony of a book, Conversations with My Father, authored by Moneeza Hashmi, daughter of renowned poet Faiz Ahmed Faiz, was held at the Pakistan National Council of the Arts (PNCA) on Saturday.
The book focuses on letters written by Faiz to her daughter.
Speakers at the ceremony included Iftikhar Arif, Dr Arifa Syeda Zehra, Harris Khalique and Pakistan Academy of Letters (PAL) Chairman Dr Yousaf Khushk. Sitara Younus presented Faiz’s iconic Kalam.
It took 40 years to write this book, Ms Hashmi told the audience.
She said: “The letters were a private matter between my father and me. He wrote them to me and at the time none of us probably ever thought they would get published.”
For the author, it was a journey back through time which would cause pain and heartache as well as joy as she relived the past.
The PAL chairman told the audience how patriotic Faiz was, always concerned about fellow Pakistanis.
“The book is an important addition to work being done on Faiz,” Dr Khushk said.
Iftikhar Arif recollected his time spent with Faiz in Pakistan and also in London.
Arifa Syeda Zehra spoke about the human values in Faiz’s poetry which he furthered through his verse, elaborating on the softness and humanity he endowed.
Haris Khaliq believed that the book brought back memories of international solidarity among resistance movements whether in Latin America or Africa, Palestine and Kashmir.
He also said how ironic it was that Faiz was now considered a national icon while he was seen as a traitor by powers that be when he was alive.
A similar event was held at the Rawalpindi Arts Council (RAC), which was attended by members of the literary organisations of Rawalpindi and Islamabad.
Naheed Manzoor and Director RAC Waqar Ahmed also attended the event.
Speaking on the occasion, Moneeza Hashmi said Faiz is a universal poet and his poetry is still fresh today as it was decades ago.
She said in the book Faiz has been portrayed in a way that his children knew him.
She said Faiz was also an ideal father and spending time with him was an asset of her life.
She said Faiz spent less time with his family due to his busy schedule and struggle.
Ms Hashmi said there was an opportunity to write a book during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Moreover, the ‘Faiz Festival’ was also postponed for two years due to the pandemic which will be held in November this year.
Published in Dawn, May 15th, 2022