Faiz: Life and Letters
Baidar Bakht
FAIZ AHMED FAIZ: SHAKHSIAT AUR FUNN by Ashfaq Hussain Pakistan Academy of Letters, 2011, 50 pp., price not stated
April 2011, volume 35, No 4

The five almost undisputed leaders of modern Urdu poetry, chronologically by year of their of birth, are N.M. Rashid (1910-1975), Faiz Ahmed Faiz (1911-1984), Meeraji (1912-1949), Majeed Amjad (1914-1974) and Akhtarul Iman (1915-1996). Of these poets, only Faiz belonged and remained loyal to the Progressive Writers Movement until his death. Faiz and Ahmed Nadeem Qasimi (1916-2006) were the last doyens of the Progressive Movement in Pakistan.

Using the model of Sahitya Akademy, the Pakistan Academy of Letters (PAL) also started a series of biographies in 1990, called Pakistani Adab ke Memar, literally builders of the literature of Pakistan. For its Urdu series, Sahitya Akademy uses the term Hindustani Adab ke Memar, and for its series in English the term makers of Indian literature.

The Pakistani series is different from its counterpart in India mainly in two respects. Firstly, all the biographies published by the PAL are in Urdu, whereas those by the Sahitya Akademy are in the various regional languages of India. The Indian biographies rarely exceed 120 pages. On the other hand, the Pakistani biographies are more extensive, spanning over 250 pages. The PAL has to date published 84 biographies of literary figures of Pakistan, both living and dead.

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