HomeWorldAsiaA Literary Partnership for Peace: Faiz & Tursunzoda's Lasting Influence

A Literary Partnership for Peace: Faiz & Tursunzoda’s Lasting Influence

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Mirsaid Rahmonov

The relationships and meetings of writers can lay the foundation for developing and connecting human love and affection. Memorable moments are often published in memoirs, celebrated on important dates in their literary lives, and serve as lasting testaments to their friendship. Here, we present an article for lovers of science and literature in honor of Faiz Ahmed Faiz’s birthday (February 13, 1911) and his literary friendship with the renowned Tajik poet and advocate for peace, Mirzo Tursunzoda.

Remembering important dates and personal stories of writers allows us to appreciate their achievements and dedication to social progress. These masters of language, through their unique styles, eloquently articulate knowledge, wisdom, and critical perspectives. By tirelessly addressing pressing societal issues, they earn a place in our hearts and guide us towards a brighter future.

Faiz Ahmad Faiz (1911-1984) and Mirzo Tursunzoda (1911-1977) were noteworthy figures in poetry, literature, and politics. Articles and collections discussing their lives and works in Central Asia, particularly Tajikistan and the Indian Subcontinent (including Pakistan, India, and Bangladesh), have been published. These works delve into the creative talents of these writers. Notably, both were born in 1911 and experienced their time’s events and state policies.

At that time, contemporary India was under British colonial rule, and modern Tajikistan was part of the former Soviet Union. Later, in 1947 and 1991, these regions emerged on the world map as autonomous countries: Pakistan and Tajikistan.

In 1977, orientalists Habibullah Rajabov and Abdullojan Gafforov selected and translated four poems by Faiz Ahmed Faiz: ‘Screaming Role,’ ‘Dasti Sabo,’ ‘Zindonnoma,’ and ‘Dasti Tahi Sang.’ Tajik poets Maston Sherali, Qutbi Kirom, and Gulrukhsar then adapted them into poems published in a book titled ‘Free Spirit.’ This collection is considered the only collection of Faiz Ahmed Faiz’s poems.

Emerging from different environments, Faiz Ahmed Faiz and Mirzo Tursunzoda shared a passion for humanity and artistic expression. Faiz nurtured in a complex social landscape, poured his heart into themes of love, freedom, and social justice. Tursunzoda, raised in a newly formed socialist nation, championed peace, patriotism, and cultural exchange. Both wielded the power of their pens to address human struggles, historical events, and the fight for their people’s well-being.

Through their creative weapons of wisdom, literature, and culture, the remarkable writers matured into influential figures of their time – writers, thinkers, and even politicians. Their legacy of powerful words, insightful ideas, and impactful actions continues to resonate with their people, etched in hearts and minds to this day.

The honorable writers understood the world’s suffering with deep empathy and wisdom. They consistently advocated for the protection of their nations, urging their fellow citizens to stand together in defense of their borders, cultural heritage, and shared values with words like:

Tu zinda bosh ai watan khonai umedi khalq,

Ki be tu nest dilu joni shodmon hanuz.

Long live the homeland – the home of people’s hope.

Without you, no hearts or souls shall ever find true happiness.

In his story “Sweet Soul,” Mirzo Tursunzoda, exploring themes of patriotism, compassion, friendship, peace, justice, and opposition to war and violence, mentioned the poet and peace advocate Faiz Ahmed Faiz. He then went on to express:

Yod dori az muboriz shoiron,

Faiz bud dar khonai mo mehmon

Az watan gap sar kuni dar megirigt,

Dar misoli hezumi tar megirift

Do you remember the struggling poets?

Faiz was once a guest in our house.

If you spoke of the homeland,

His emotions would churn, like flames licking wet wood.

He stressed the importance of raising children with knowledge, good manners, and love for their country. He believes that such upbringing fosters peace, happiness, and societal development. Only in a peaceful nation can people thrive, have influence, and mothers find joy, ultimately leading to societal progress.

For centuries, the people of the Ferghana Valley dreamt of liberation from the tyranny of foreign rulers, yearning for peace in their homeland, where children’s laughter could echo freely and the downtrodden could find solace. As Mirzo Tursunzoda poignantly reflected in his story:

Sulh gui misli gul khandon shawand,

Jang gui az ghazab tufon shawand

Say “peace,” and they bloom like flowers.

But call for war, and they storm with anger.

The life of a poet and his fight for peace and homeland serve as a powerful example for young people, a model for self-knowledge and resilience. His poems, brimming with love for his nation and strong bonds of friendship, reflect this commitment. According to Faiz himself:

Oshiqi rui watan kori man,

Ishqu umedi hama afkori man.

My homeland’s passion burns within my soul,

Hope and love’s fire consumes me whole.

People across Central and South Asia, particularly in Tajikistan, Pakistan, India, Iran, and Afghanistan, readily connect with the rich works of Mirzo Tursunzoda and Faiz Ahmed Faiz. The shared linguistic heritage enables them to understand the meaning and content deeply.

Both literary and political figures, Tursunzoda and Faiz dedicated their lives to promoting freedom, peace, and prosperity for their homelands. Their evocative works celebrate the hardworking people, the land with its majestic rivers, valleys, mountains, and fertile fields.

Their travels and encounters with diverse lives fueled their creative fires, sparking new works and forging deeper bonds among people. This sincere friendship and literary connection between Mirza Tursunzoda and Faiz Ahmed Faiz, ignited upon their first meeting in Lahore, Pakistan, in November 1949, continues to resonate between the citizens of their respective nations to this day.

After the death of Mirza Tursunzoda in 1977, Faiz Ahmadi Faiz wrote about the poet in his memoirs: “I remember, once in one of the cities of Pakistan, he spoke to workers and shopkeepers in Farsi-Tajik, and they understood him easily, because he could talk to people with eyes and heart. Ustad Mirzo Tursunzoda was not only a great Tajik poet, but also the most respected and beloved representative of this people. Everywhere he is sincerely respected. The poet loved his homeland and his people. He spoke and wrote in the classical Persian language, that is, Tajik, which was a Ghazal dialect. Although Mirzo Tursunzoda is not with us, he is in our hearts.”

In memory of his dear friend, Faiz Ahmad Faiz Tursunzoda presents a verse in Bedil’s ghazal as a gift:

Biyo Yoram ki chamshmam muztarib bahri tamoshoyat,

Kujo rafti ki yoron dar taloshi omadanhoyat

Come, beloved, for our eyes yearn to behold you.

Where have you vanished that friends seek your return?  

In October 1981, the Tajik Society of Cultural Relations, research institutes, and the National Academy of Inspirations joined forces to organize a grand celebration in Dushanbe’s Palace of Friendship for Faiz Ahmed Faiz’s 70th birthday. It was a night dedicated to the renowned poet, with Tajik scholars and writers like Mehrubon Nazarov, Habibullah Rajabov, and Maston Sherali presenting insightful reports on his life, work, and translated poems. Warm memories of their literary friendship with Mirzo Tursunzoda were also shared.

Among the highlights was Urdu scholar Qurbanov Haidar’s article on Faiz Ahmed Faiz and Mirzo Tursunzoda. He observed how both poets captured crucial moments in history, life’s struggles, and the beauty of art and literature, even through their quiet verses. Haidar suggested that this reflected the immense depth and expansiveness of their worldviews.

The deep friendship and literary connection between Faiz Ahmed Faiz and Mirzo Tursunzoda transcended borders and languages. These literary giants, champions of peace and harmony, viewed the world with wisdom and compassion, their words aiming to ensure freedom, prosperity, and security for their people. Through the power of cultural diplomacy and their insightful works, they left a lasting legacy that continues to inspire and unite diverse communities.

*The author is affiliated with the Institute of Asian and European Studies, National Academy of Sciences of Tajikistan.

**The opinions in this article are the author’s own and may not represent the views of The Diplomatic Insight. The organization does not endorse or assume responsibility for the content.

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The Diplomatic Insight, Pakistan's premier Public Diplomacy Magazine, has been at the forefront of promoting Peace Through Informed Dialogue since its inception in 2009. With both print and electronic versions, this decade-old media house is offering research, analysis, and public diplomacy outreach to clients in Pakistan and across the globe. TDI is now offering Amazon Kindle Self Publishing Services to diplomats, ambassadors, political leaders, academicians, and other civil society leaders to be the next best-seller authors. With access to 11 global markets and the option to translate your work into 11 languages, you can reach up to 300 million readers worldwide and unlock your personal and country branding.

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