Zafarullah Poshni and Faiz Ahmed Faiz in Dallas

Dr. Qaisar Abbas (left) and Zafarullah Poshni in Dallas, Texas

As the last survivor of the Rawalpindi conspiracy case, Zaffarullah Poshni, still in good health at his age, represents an extraordinary group of individuals who cared about the miseries of people and struggled for their rights through a peaceful movement.

Faiz and his poetry were celebrated in a colorful event last Tuesday in Dallas, Texas. With the presence of Faiz’s fellow inmate during confinement Zafarullah Poshni as chief guest, a research paper presentation by Dr. Qaisar Abbas and a mushaira, the event became a triple delight.

Reading his research paper on, Faiz and the Youth Revolution in the Middle East, Dr. Qaisar Abbas of the University of North Texas, discussed the poet’s dream of a progressive, just and free society coming closer to reality within the backdrop of the youth movements in Tunisia and Egypt.  Analyzing Faiz’s poetry within the realms of youth, revolution, freedom, peace, nonviolence, and hope, Dr. Qaisar linked the Arab spring with the poet’s dream of a free and equal society.

The author highlighted the poet’s unrelenting faith in the Muslim youth in shaping future of their society. In one of his poems, for instance, Faiz paid tributes to hundreds of those young students in Iran who sacrificed their life while protesting against the ouster of their elected Prime Minister Mussaddaq in 1953. To the author, today’s youth movements in the Arab world carry the same revolutionary passion.

In his upfront and honest recollection of the days he spent in jail with Faiz, Zafarullah Poshni said as the youngest of all inmates who were arrested in the famous Rawalpindi conspiracy case, Faiz saheb was always kind and caring to him. While most of the people in jail could not control their rage as a result of psychological distress in confinement, Faiz was always cool, well mannered, and respectful to others, he recalled.

“At times when Faiz looked miserable, silently smoking segregate, walking back and forth, thinking and writing, we knew a poem was in the making and we started planning for a mushaira” he said, “and those were the most precious moments of our internment.

Commenting on the conspiracy case itself, he said, technically there was no viable legal justification for it. The group met at the residence of General Akbar to discuss the possibility of a coup but the plan was rejected as it was not realistic and practical. The government, on the other hand, tried to prove in the court that a conspiracy to stage a coup was hatched.

Comparing 2011 to the 1950s, he said, intolerance is creeping in our society to the extent that intolerance has replaced civility and violence has taken over the common sense in our society. As the last survivor of the Rawalpindi conspiracy case, Zaffarullah Poshni, still in good health at his age, represents an extraordinary group of individuals who cared about the miseries of people and struggled for their rights through a peaceful movement.

The evening concluded with a mushaira of local poets presided over by the senior poet Karamat Gardezi.  Urdu Ghar, a literary society in Dallas organized the event.

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