Qasmi – Urdu literature mourns a giant 3/4

The Progressive Writers Movement

The realism and literary expression against exploitation in Qasmi’s writing gained him respect among his peers and in 1948 he was selected as the secretary general of the Anjuman-e-Taraqqi Pasand Musannifeen (the Progressive Writers Movement) for Punjab from 1948 and in 1949 was elected the secretary-general of the organisation for Pakistan, a position he held for six successive years. This wasn’t all good news for Qasmi, however, as the Progressive Writers Movement was linked to the 1951 Rawalpindi Conspiracy Case, and he was detained for six months under the Safety Act for his association with the group in 1951. Qasmi gradually distanced himself from the Progressive Writers Movement, probably because it became difficult for him, as it did for a number of other writers, to work with some of the dogmatic communist members. He tried to steer the middle path, opposing the official orthodoxies on literature as well as the radicalism of some of his peers. There is no question that he remained a progressive writer all his life; however, he avoided the supremacy of ‘ideology’ over creativity. For instance, his famous couplet angered many of his leftist colleagues:

Sabz ho, surkh ho, key unnabi
phool ka rang uski baas mein hai

Whether it is green, red or magenta
The colour of a flower lives in its fragrance

Cont. [1] [2] [3] [4]

Published on August 12, 2006 at 10:54 am  Leave a Comment  

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