Saturday, August 6, 2011

A letter of Faiz

The Friday Times

In the early 1950s, poet Faiz Ahmed Faiz, along with several left-leaning civilians and military officers, was jailed for allegedly plotting to overthrow the government. The trial became known as the Rawalpindi Conspiracy Case. A new book showcases for the first time some of the letters he wrote from Hyderabad Jail to his wife Alys, who was working then at The Pakistan Times.

Passed by the censor 7/3/52

Excerpt reproduced here might indicate the creeping Islamization of Pakistan even in 1952.
Life has its surprises, however, even here. The other evening I switched on the Radio to listen to some Indian music from Delhi (what our own Radio calls music is no more than a collection of amateur screechings because real talent like Rafiq, Pukhraj, and Anwar etc: seems to be banned) and do you know what I got? You can never guess. Yehudi Menuhin, perhaps the greatest violinist of all times, playing Bach and Pagannini in the auditorium of the Indian Film Festival. It made me angry and jealous and sad when I thought about it later. This country is now nearly five years old and in five years we have not given the people one real exhibition of anything of beauty, of culture, of ennobling pleasure. And yet there has been no dearth of 'tamashas'. But all that we can think of is to collect some silly old grey-beards from all over the world, make them talk a lot of bilge that no one cares a damn farthing about, give a few people an opportunity for lots of eating and lots of shouting and then forget all about it. India may be a bigger country but culture is not a matter of size but of the ways of living and thinking, and why should the people of this country not be given a chance at least to look at culture even if they can't live in it. Anyway it will all come some day perhaps and perhaps I shouldn't be talking about it.

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