Rich tributes paid to Shaikh Ayaz Speakers call for dissemination of message of love given by great Sindhi poet

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Zubair Qureshi

An eminent voice of Sindh, a towering literary figure Shaikh Ayaz (March 2, 1923- Dec 28, 1997) was remembered at a ceremony in connection with his 23rd death anniversary.
The event held at the Pakistan Academy of Letters (PAL) was addressed by Senator Sassi Palijo, senior writer and former Chairman of Muqtadra Qaumi Zubaan, Prof Fateh Mohammad Malik, noted poet and ex-DG of National Language Promotion Department Iftikhar Arif, Sindhi writer Noor Ahmed Jhanji who has written on Shaih Ayaz extensively and others. Ayaz authored 60 books of poetry, short stories, novel, essays, travelogues, diaries, an autobiography and plays in Sindhi and Urdu languages.
Prof Fateh Malik who presided over the ceremony said in the seven-decade history of Pakistan, progressive writers and poets such as Faizand Ayaz spent most of their lives behind bars. He said Shaikh Ayaz was a spokesperson of Sindhi culture, values and traditions and depicted them artistically in his poetry. Iftikhar Arif called for dissemination of the treasure of wisdom, love,social harmony and universality produced by literary giants like Shaikh Ayaz,Gul Khan Naseer and Ajmal Khattak among the people through translation of their works in all national languages. Speakers were of the view that literary genius like Ayaz had produced voluminous works and inspired generations but their works have not been given due recognition.
“Ayaz introduced a new diction, wrote on diverse themes, steeped in classical raag with contemporary tone and modern vocabulary which is unmatched,” Arifsaid. Noor Ahmed Jhanji, who has written four books on the poet, said his poetry had a universal appeal, terming it ‘globalism’. He said Ayaz’ poetry had different layers and themes containing cultural heritage, folk wisdom, Persian traditions, love, Indus civilisation and common man’s life, dreams, aspirations and woes which he studied closely as a lawyer. Senator Sassi Palijo also paid tributes to Shaikh Ayaz for reflecting the Sindhi people’s life and ordeal of common man in his poems. She also said she had family and political association with the poet.
Researcher and writer Ahmed Salim said he was lucky to have been born in the era of Shaikh Ayaz, Gul Khan Naseer and Ajmal Khattak.
He recalled his first meeting with Ayaz in Sukkur in 1967 and second time in 1970. He said he translated 100 verses of Ayaz’s poetry into Punjabi. Akhtar Hayat Qamar, a Pashto language poet who has translated selected poems of Ayaz in Pashtu, called for giving Pashto, Sindhi, Balochi national language status. Zubaida Biwani, Safeerullah Khan and others also paid tributes to the poet and described his literary contributions unmatched that transcended boundaries and spread the message of love, social justice and harmony. Mahboob Zafar, conducted the session. He said Ayaz translated Shah Jo Risalo’s 10,000 verses written by the 18th century Sufi poet Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai, from Sindhi to Urdu.