(A First Poem of 21st Century)

"Unyielding Echoes:
The Perpetual Cry for Justice in Urdu Resistance Poetry”
(A First Poem of 21st Century)

By Farhat Abbas Shah


Poetry, regarded as the language of the soul, transcends geographical and cultural boundaries, acting as a powerful medium to express human emotions, reflect societal norms, and challenge oppressive systems. In the fallowing discussion, we will delve into the role of poetry, how poets have masterfully articulated the sufferings and crises of mankind, providing a voice to the oppressed, and instigating resistance.
A distinguished poet and a great scholar, thinker, and critic of our times, Mr. Ameer Hussain Jafri has very truly pointed out that
: Poetry, as a universal language, continues to be a catalyst for change, fostering empathy, understanding, and a shared commitment to a better, more just world. :
Eastern Poetic Scholar Mei Ling Zhao once stated "In the brush strokes of Eastern poets, resistance poetry paints a vivid mural of endurance, where every verse is a stroke against the canvas of oppression, each line a declaration of the indomitable human spirit.”
Haizi (Chinese poet) also noted
"The poet is an antenna of the race, calling attention to the natural music of the earth that gets drowned out by the static of human noise.”
Poetry, in particular, has been a powerful vehicle for expressing the turmoil of crisis and conflict. The war poems of Wilfred Owen, an English soldier in World War I, encapsulate the horrors of war.
Poetry has been a potent tool for expressing the collective sufferings and crises of mankind.
One of the most quotable example is of Pablo Neruda, a Nobel laureate in literature from Chile, who wrote passionately about the struggles of the working class. His poem "The Heights of Macchu Picchu” serves as an ode to the indigenous people and their resistance against oppression.
Rumi: very truly observed that
"The wound is the place where the light enters you.”
Literature has in fact served as a mirror reflecting the human condition across diverse cultures. In the words of Russian novelist Fyodor Dostoevsky, "Pain and suffering are always inevitable for a large intelligence and a deep heart.” This sentiment reverberates through the works of authors globally, from the Latin American magical realism of Gabriel Garcia Marquez to the existentialist anguish of Albert Camus.
Charles Dickens, a prominent figure in English literature, used his novels to expose the social and economic injustices of Victorian England. In "A Tale of Two Cities,” Dickens wrote, "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times,” capturing the dualities of human existence during times of crisis.
Like all other major languages and all other great literatures of the world, Urdu literature, with its rich poetic tradition, has been a powerful medium for expressing societal issues. Pakistani poets have been using their poetry to advocate for social justice. Urdu poetry, with its rich historical roots has been a source of solace and resistance for generations.
After Pakistan gained independence in 1947, a wave of intellectual and cultural movements emerged, reflecting the socio-political changes in the newly formed nation. The post-independence period saw the rise of revolutionary poets who used their verses as a powerful tool for social critique, advocating for justice, equality, and addressing the challenges faced by the society. This era witnessed the emergence of poets associated with the Progressive Writers’ Movement, a literary and intellectual movement that aimed to address social issues through literature and promote a progressive and inclusive worldview.The contributions of these revolutionary poets include Faiz Ahmad Faiz, Ahmad Nadeem Qasmi, Akhtar
Hussain Jafri, Faraz, Habib Jalib and many others , were pivotal in shaping the cultural political and literary landscape of Pakistan. Their verses continue to resonate with readers, inspiring social consciousness and advocating for positive change. The Progressive Writers’ Movement, with its emphasis on addressing societal issues through literature, played a crucial role in fostering a sense of social responsibility among writers and intellectuals in post-independence Pakistan.
During the martial law era of General Ayub Khan in Pakistan, from 1958 to 1969, poets and writers played a pivotal role in challenging authoritarian rule through their powerful and evocative works. Prominent literary figures such as Faiz Ahmad Faiz, Ahmad Nadeem Qasmi, Habib Jalib, Akhtar Hussain Jafri and many other important writers faced imprisonment due to their outspoken criticism of the government’s policies. Despite the oppressive atmosphere, these writers courageously used their pens to voice dissent and advocate for democratic values. Faiz Ahmad Faiz’s poetry, the writings of Habib Jalib and the verses of great Ahmad Nadeem Qasmi and many other writers , thinkers, who were known for their revolutionary fervor, resonated deeply with the masses, inspiring a sense of unity and resistance. The incarceration of these literary giants only fueled their commitment to the cause of freedom, and their eventual release became a symbol of triumph against oppression. The writings of these poets and writers during the martial law not only contributed to the resistance movement but also had a lasting impact on shaping the socio-political consciousness of the Pakistani people.
The period from 1977 to 1988, marked by the martial law of General Zia-ul-Haq in Pakistan, was a challenging time for the country. During this era, all these above mentioned poets played a crucial role in expressing dissent, challenging oppressive regimes, and advocating for social justice. Among the prominent poets of this time, Akhtar Hussain Jafri stood out for his revolutionary contributions. Jafri’s poetry served as a voice for human rights. He condemned the suppression of freedom of expression and the persecution of political activists. His verses echoed the need for a society based on equality, justice, and individual liberties. Akhtar Hussain Jafri, along with other Urdu poets played a revolutionary role during the martial law of Gen Zia-ul-Haq. Through their powerful and socially conscious poetry, these poets became the voice of dissent, advocating for democratic values, social justice, and human rights during a challenging period in Pakistan’s history.
Akhtar Hussain Jafri’s poetry was a powerful tool of dissent against the Zia regime. He fearlessly critiqued the military rule, censorship, and curtailment of civil liberties. His verses resonated with the frustrations of a society under oppressive governance
Poetry, whether in Urdu or English, possesses a unique ability to bridge cultural divides and create a shared understanding of human suffering. The impact of poets is to that extent that their verses have inspired movements, sparked revolutions, and instilled a sense of resilience in the face of adversity.
The renowned literary critic Edward Said once remarked, "In great poetry, you feel a universalizing impulse,” highlighting how poetry has the power to transcend cultural and linguistic barriers, fostering a collective human experience that resonates across the globe.
In the sprawling tapestry of Urdu poetry, the thread of resistance continues to weave through the fabric of societal consciousness. Even in the 21st century, the echoes of oppression and suffering reverberate, leaving an indelible mark on the verses penned by contemporary poets. One such luminary in the realm of resistance poetry is Farhat Abbas Shah, While reading his poem :A First Poem Of 21st Century.
:اکیسویں صدی کی پہلی نظم
He stands out as a poet whose ink flows not merely as a lyrical tribute but as an unyielding voice for the marginalized and oppressed.
Shah’s poetry stands as a testament to the persistent socio-economic struggles faced by the disenfranchised, where the shackles of poverty make survival an arduous feat. In his inaugural poem of the 21st century, Shah masterfully encapsulates the myriad issues confronting the destitute, the needy, and the deserving denizens of his homeland. His poetic expression transcends the ordinary, painting a vivid tableau of the harsh realities faced by those tethered to the fringes of society.
What sets Farhat Abbas Shah apart is not just his unwavering commitment to the cause of the downtrodden but also his exceptional craftsmanship in wielding the poetic pen. In an era where compromise often taints artistic integrity, Shah remains a beacon of unyielding conviction. His verses are a confluence of intellectual honesty and poetic prowess, where each word bears the weight of a collective struggle, each line resonating with the cries of the oppressed.
The thematic resonance of Shah’s poetry lies in its attachment to the soil, an unbreakable bond that tethers him to the pulse of his people. His verses are not detached observations but an intimate exploration of the problems that plague his land. Through a lens that is both compassionate and critical, Shah dissects the complexities of societal issues, offering a poignant narrative that speaks to the heart and the conscience.
In a world where the exploitation of the vulnerable persists, where the gap between the privileged and the marginalized widens, Farhat Abbas Shah emerges as a poetic sentinel. His resistance poetry is not a mere literary exercise; it is a call to action, a plea for empathy, and a demand for justice. As long as the ink of poets like Shah continues to flow, the flame of resistance poetry in Urdu will endure, reminding us that the struggle for a just society is an unending saga, captured eloquently in the verses of those who refuse to be silent witnesses to injustice.
In the rich tapestry of Urdu poetry, the tradition of resistance continues to flourish, weaving poignant verses that echo the enduring struggles against oppression and suffering. In today’s world, where the challenges faced by the underprivileged persist and exploitation lingers, poets persistently wield their words as instruments of resistance. Among these voices, Farhat Abbas Shah stands out as luminary of the present era. Through his profound commitment to the people of his soil and an unwavering dedication to truth, Shah’s resistance poetry resonates deeply. In his seminal work, the first poem of the 21st century, he skillfully crafts verses that articulate the myriad issues confronting the poor, needy, and deserving in his homeland. Shah’s poetic expression is marked by a rare fusion of intellectual honesty and artistic prowess, a testament to his unyielding commitment to both the cause he champions and the craft he masters.
Despite his superior contributions to Urdu language and literature, particularly in the realm of resistance poetry, it remains an unexplored treasure.
Despite his immense volume of work and unwavering commitment to his craft
Farhat Abbas Shah is a victim of a deliberate neglect.
From an early age, Farhat Abbas Shah exhibited a flair for poetry, capturing the essence of societal struggles, political upheavals, and the human condition in his verses. His poetry, characterized by its resistance against oppression and injustice, offered a unique perspective that set him apart from his peers.
One of the reasons behind this realm of affair, where Farhat Abbas Shah’s literary contributions are being overlooked is the intentional oversight by his contemporaries. In the competitive world of Urdu literature, where personalities often overshadow the work itself, Shah’s unyielding commitment to the truth and resistance against societal injustices have made him a more appealing figure for those in power. The intentional downplaying of his literary stature serves as a testament to the threat his words pose to the status quo.
In Farhat Abbas Shah’s poignant poem, he skillfully transcends the boundaries of his own soil, delving into universal themes that resonate beyond geographical confines. With a heartfelt lament, he not only articulates the struggles faced by his fellow countrymen but extends his sorrow to encompass the global community. Shah’s verses mourn the wars instigated, shedding light on the responsible parties. Importantly, he articulates the deprivations experienced by people worldwide, irrespective of caste, creed, or color. Through his eloquent expression, Shah becomes a voice for the collective pain of humanity.
Farhat Abbas Shah’s resistance poetry reflects his unapologetic stance against tyranny, corruption, and social inequality. His verses are not merely a collection of words but a powerful tool for societal awakening and transformation. Through his poetry, Shah has consistently questioned authority and shed light on the plight of the marginalized, earning him a place among the vanguards of Urdu resistance literature.
His diversified work extends beyond poetry, encompassing essays, and critiques that offer a comprehensive view of his intellectual depth. However, it is his resistance poetry that has been unjustly overshadowed by other aspects of his persona. The intentional neglect of his literary contributions raises questions about the motivations behind this sidelining, pointing toward a systemic effort to undermine voices that challenge the existing power structures.
Farhat Abbas Shah’s nature, characterized by his refusal to back down in the face of opposition, has further contributed to the deliberate ignorance of his literary stature. His uncompromising commitment to truth has made him a thorn in the side of those who would rather keep dissenting voices silent. As a result, Shah’s literary achievements have often taken a backseat to the more palatable narratives that suit the interests of the powerful.
To truly appreciate and recognize Farhat Abbas Shah’s literary contributions, there needs to be a concerted effort to shed light on his resistance poetry. Critics and scholars must delve into the depths of his verses, dissecting the layers of meaning and understanding the socio-political context that inspired his work. By doing so, a more nuanced and accurate representation of Shah’s literary stature can emerge, bringing him the acclaim he rightfully deserves.
In conclusion, Farhat Abbas Shah remains an un explored writer of Urdu resistance poetry, his literary contributions overshadowed by intentional neglect and a focus on other aspects of his persona. To truly understand and appreciate his work, there is a need for a shift in the narrative, away from the intentional sidelining by his contemporaries. As the literary community delves into the richness of his verses, Farhat Abbas Shah may yet find his place among the luminaries of Urdu literature, where his resistance poetry can inspire generations to come.

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