Lyricist Javed Akhtar finds IIT-Kanpur inquiry into Faiz’s poem absurd, explains why

Updated on Aug 16, 2020 02:10 AM IST

IIT Kanpur ordered an inquiry on a complaint filed by a faculty member.

File photo of lyricist Javed Akhtar.
File photo of lyricist Javed Akhtar.
Hindustan Times, New Delhi | ByHT Correspondent

Noted lyricist Javed Akhtar has said that the controversy around legendary poet Faiz Ahmed Faiz’s poem is “absurd” and “funny”. He made these remarks after Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur (IIT-K) said it will investigate whether the poem ‘Hum Dekhenge’ is offensive to Hindu sentiments.

“Calling Faiz’s poetry anti-Hindu is absurd. And so funny that it is difficult to seriously talk about it,” Akhtar said on Thursday.

“Faiz Ahmed Faiz was a star during progressive writers’ movement in undivided India. India got Independence but was also partitioned. Lakhs were left homeless, and lakhs died. Faiz wrote about the pain of Partition, he spent half his life outside Pakistan because he couldn’t live there. He wrote this poem against Zia-ul-Haq’s government which was a regressive and fundamentalist government,” he added.

ALSO WATCH | ‘Absurd’: Javed Akhtar on claims that Faiz’s ‘Hum Dekhenge’ is anti-Hindu 

Akhtar explained a phrase from the poem and said, “He has mentioned a phrase - ‘Goonjega an-al-haq ka naara’ which means ‘aham brahma’ - that the creator and creation is one. It is not an Islamic thought.”

The complaint filed by a faculty member is based on two lines of the poem, which read: “Sab takht giraye jayenge. Bas naam rahega Allah ka. Hum dekhenge. (When thrones will vanish, only Allah’s name will remain).”

The poem was written by Faiz in reference to military dictator Zia-ul-Haq in 1979 and was against the military rule in Pakistan. Faiz, an atheist, was known for his revolutionary writings that kept him in jail for years.

The faculty member has said in the complaint that the students, during a protest, sang this poem which was “anti-Hindu”.

The students of IIT-Kanpur took out a protest march against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act or CAA on December 17 which, according to the faculty member, was in solidarity with the students of Jamia Milia Islamia. The complainant further claimed that students made anti-India and communal statements during their demonstration.

The IIT-Kanpur panel will also probe whether the students violated prohibitory orders (under Section 144 of CrPC) clamped in the city by taking out a march against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act on December 17, and posted objectionable content on the social media.

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