She is happy that scores of Indians share the passion for the poetry of her father, the legendary Urdu poet Faiz Ahmed Faiz.
At the same time, Moneeza Hashmi is pained at the fact that youth from both countries are weaning towards all things ‘pop’ and going away from the classical literature.
The widely travelled daughter of Faiz (1911-1984), Hashmi is worried about the very little interest that Urdu poetry generates in youngsters.
“Youth all over the world think in the same manner, listen to similar music … For all practical purposes, Pakistani youth have an attitude similar to their India counterparts,” Hashmi, 65, said.
It is up to the government, specially the universities, to ensure space for classical literature.
“There has to be concentrated efforts by the powers that be. The classical literature should not be allowed to wither away.”
The media person that she has been and continues to be, Hashmi, also the president of the Commonwealth Broadcas-ters Association, believes media that can help make this happen.
Faiz known for his progressive writings was as popular in undivided India as he was appreciated across the world for his ghazals and shers. But her own memories of her father are very different, Hashmi says.
Recalling the years he was in jail for a conspiracy to usurp the Pakistan government that was never proven, Hashmi says, “It was a very difficult time for the family.” Close friends shunned the two daughters and their mother — a British — who worked for running the house and only their daadi (grandmother) visited them.
Things changed when Faiz was released after four years under amnesty. He then went on to become the chief editor of Pak Times.
The versatile creative mind that he was, Faiz is credited with countless couplets (shers), radio plays, children’s stories, letters to his wife and children from jail apart from the travelogues. “(But) Faiz as a poet is the best I feel as being a poet transcends the world.”
However, her initiation — if it can be called so — into Faiz’s poetry, happened only a couple of years ago when she started a ‘Faiz Ka Ghar’ museum at Lahore.
“Faiz’s poetry is not easy to understand. I had read it earlier but started appreciating it only now,” the proud daughter said.
Feeling “very honoured and very privileged” to be amongst the connoisseurs of the poetry of her father, Hashmi is happy about the fact that “both the countries are owning him.”