LAHORE - Only Sufi poets can guarantee the national unity because their teachings of tolerance, brotherhood and love can overcome the present day social and political degeneration in the country.

Addressing Khawaja Farid conference, jointly organised by Pakistan Academy of Letters, International Writer’s Council (IWC) and World Punjabi Congress (WPC), Fakhar Zaman Chairman WPC said that Khawaja Farid lived in a time of strife when Punjab had been annexed by the British and they were rapidly expanding their colonial rule.

He said that the famous line of the poet ‘Patt angrezi thaaney’ bears eloquent testimony to his resistance to the colonial rulers. He further said that Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto in his last speech to the Supreme Court started with a famous line of Khawaja Farid ‘Dardan maari jindari aleel hai’.

The profundity of pain, separation and ishq was the predominant theme of this great poet, Zaman said.

Talking at length about his poetry, he said that it drew sustenance from the desert, oasis, river, the vastness of Rohi, and its singular species of bird. He uses them as metaphor in his poetry to elaborate his concept of love and separation, oneness of God and the unity of sublime humanity. Fakhar Zaman reiterated the demands that Sufism should be taught at colleges and universities as a compulsory subject, Punjabi University should be established in Lahore and Punjabi language declared as the medium of instruction at the primary level. He concluded his presidential address saying that the series of conferences on Sufi poets of Pakistan’s first stage is complete because conferences on 7 Sufi poets from Punjab have already been organized. In the next phase, starting in September, such functions will be organized on Sufi poets from Sindh, namely Shah Latif Bhittai, Sachal Sarmast and Shah Inayat to be followed by Mast Tawaqali from Balochistan and Khushhaal Khan Khattak and Rahman Baga from KPK.

Dr Imrana Mushtaq, President of IWC shed light on Khawaja Farid’s biography and dwelt upon different dimensions of his poetry. She said that her organization will continue to cooperate in the holding of conferences on Sufi poets from other provinces. Nabeel Shaad spoke of the various qualities and trends of Khawaja Farid’s kaafis and explained the beautiful meaning found in his poetry. Mujahid Bodla also spoke on different shades of Khawaja Farid’s poetry.

Imrana Baloch of Khawaja Farid Sangat and Advocate Supreme Court said that Khawaja Farid was known for his generosity and humility. He preached the negation of self and shunned material avarice. She described many incidents of the lofty thinking of Khawaja Farid.

Hakeem Salim Akhtar appreciated the holding of further conferences of Sufi poets. Eminent writer and critic Musarrat Kalanchvi read a thought provoking article and described in detail the universal message of Khawaja Farid and his heart-rending message contained in his Kaafis.

Dr Qasim Jalal talked about the philosophy of Wahdat-ul-wajood and mentioned in a scholarly manner different aspects of ishq in the poetry of this great poet. Parveen Sajjal and Muhammad Fayyaz read poems on Khawaja Farid.

In the end, Assistant Director of Pakistan Academy of Letters Muhammad Jameel thanked the audience and assured that Academy will fully cooperate in jointly organizing the conferences on the Sufi poets of the rest of the three provinces.