LAHROE  - The Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS) Mahbubul Haq Centre Wednesday launched a book ‘A Withered Spring’ having a number of Faiz Ahmed Faiz’s political poems that had been translated in English by late Dr Mahbubul Haq.

The launching ceremony held at LUMS’s Saeed Saigol Auditorium was chaired by Mahbub ul Haq Centre President Khadija Haq. Faiz Foundation Trust Chairperson Salima Hashmi was the chief guest on the occasion whereas noted journalist and Director of Human Rights Commission of Pakistan IA Rehman and Special Advisor to the Secretary General of the United Nations Iqbal Riza were among the speakers.

‘A Withered Spring’ by Dr Haq comprises a meticulous selection of Faiz’s poetry from Naqshe-Faryadi, Daste-Saba, ZindanNama, Daste-Tahe-Sang, Sare-Wadiye-Seena, Shame-Shehre-Yaran and Merey Dil Merey Musafir. The book embodies Dr Haq’s renderings of Faiz’s political and social thoughts.

For Dr Haq, translating Faiz’s poetry was a meaningful diversion and a passionate pursuit, as he finds meaning in Faiz’s poetry for a lifetime spent in advancing the development dialogue and articulating the philosophy of human development. Faiz’s political verses had ‘a more universal idiom and a more universal message.’ He “always felt strongly that the basic message of Faiz - so relevant for so many of our poor nations in the Third World- must be made more familiar to western audiences.”

When Dr Haq started translating Faiz’s verses in the late 1970s, he was affiliated with the World Bank as well as the Third World Forum. These were testing times for Dr Haq. His growing discontent with the policies of the World Bank and the IMF and their dealings with the Third World compelled him to envision an alternative paradigm where people could be brought to the centre of development.  In the foreword, Dr Haq writes that “Faiz was a poet first and everything else afterwards – whether a philosopher, a revolutionary, a humanist, an intellectual, or a torchbearer of human freedom. Perhaps each one of us feels a certain void in our own lives and we have let Faiz carry our burdens for too long. We have credited him with roles he least relished. For he was essentially a poet, who distilled life’s experiences through his sensitive verses – a poet who had the courage to rip aside all the curtains of hypocrisy and to explore the reality behind the mirages of this world as the only very great are destined to do.”  Faiz himself was pleasantly surprised by Dr Haq’s translations. In a letter addressed to Dr Haq in April 1983 (which appears at the end of this book), Faiz writes, “one never imagined that your grueling preoccupations could offer the luxury of such self-indulgence…I found the quality of your renderings very satisfying.

I feel gratified by this wonderful compliment.”

Through this publication, the Foundation for Human Development aims to share Faiz’s message of peace, tolerance and justice with the youth of Pakistan, especially those who may not have had the opportunity of reading his work in Urdu as yet.