Urdu poet Iftikhar Arif given Lifetime Achievement Award

Islamabad, December 30, 2019 (PPI-OT): A noted Urdu poet, scholar, and litterateur Iftikhar Hussain Arif, commonly known as Iftikhar Arif, was honored with Lifetime Achievement Award for his life long struggle and matchless contributions to Urdu literature and language. A large number of friends, literacy colleagues, members of civil society and media gathered and paid glowing tribute to Iftikhar Arif. The Lifetime Achievement Award Ceremony was organized by the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) here on Monday at Islamabad.

Iftikhar Arif, while narrating his life long struggle lamented the limited space and resources for literary figures, poets and writers in the society. He said that in our society the literary class has no options but to be an employee of big owners of different newspapers and TV channels who have their own business interests.

“I have had two master’s degrees, but had no job in my early career, and used to work for 10 rupees per day in a radio program”, he said adding that he; however, was lucky to have good teachers, like Aslam Azhar and Saleem Gillani who would guide and teach him at that time. In the context of censorship and curb on media and progressive writers, Iftikhar said that he could only write or said what he can afford or have limits, though there is a lot to say or write which he could never get published.

Iftikhar said that he; however, is not a hypocrite like few others who behind the closed doors apologize and later get the credit for being a revolutionary activist. I never write a poem or poetic verse on any request or for someone special, or asked to write, he added. In the context of oppression and injustice, Iftikhar said that he used the word ‘Karbala’ in his poetry as a metaphor against injustice and tyranny in society.

“There is three type of history; one which is being written by the today’s journalist, second will be written by historian and the third which will be written and preserved in the literature. The only reliable, trusted and sustained history is the third one which a literary person will write,” said Iftikhar Arif. Iftikhar also narrated his famous poems towards the end of the ceremony.

Kishwar Naheed, renowned Urdu poetess said Iftikhar’s poetry reflects his thinking and worrisome for the oppressed and marginalized of the society. While narrating the stories of different literary events of close friends, she said Iftikhar always cared about his literary colleagues and friends and help promote their literary work. She said Iftikhar’s biggest credit was to preserve his respect, honour, and dignity throughout his life and never compromise on his principle and ideology.

Executive Director, SDPI, Dr. Abid Qaiyum Suleri said Sustainable Development defined as enjoying the quality life by every individual in a society, whereas a quality life can only be better explained or defined by a literary figure in his writings and poetry.

He said the work and contribution of Iftikhar Arif to Urdu literature and poetry was such a realistic which is still relevant to today’s situation. “Iftikhar’s writings and poetry reflects the truth of society, which I always ask my researchers’ at SDPI to not just focus on writing but to present the facts and truth which could help better diagnose the situation,” he added.

Ashfaq Saleem Mirza, noted progressive writer and a rare scholar of philosophy said that Iftikhar Arif is a self-made personality who from his childhood learn to survive in difficult times. He said that Iftikhar has attracting and appealing personality mainly due to his behaviour unique style of poetry.

He said that Iftikhar’s collections of poems including ‘Barhwan khilari’, ‘Abhi Kuch Din Lagin Gy’ and ‘Aik Khwab ki Doori Par’ reflect upon the societal attitude and behaviour. Dr. Najeeba Arif, Professor, International Islamic University, Islamabad (IIUI) said that Iftikhar has the central place among the literary circles and society as a whole remained the main subject of his literary work.

She said that Iftikhar’s migration from Lucknow-India to Pakistan was not just migration but it was migration from one ideology to other, one century to next century and one society to other society which changed the whole narrative of life. Ahmed Saleem, Senior Advisor at SDPI said Iftikhar Arif has the expertise and skill to delve deep into the literature and meanings of the words. He said Iftikhar never complains about the lack of acceptance and recognition of his literary work.

M. Hameed Shahid, Story Writer, and Critic while narrating the childhood stories and lifelong struggle of Iftikar said that a child who even could not buy his glasses for reading books and have limited resources to buy new books achieve the credential such as President’s Pride of Performance Award, Sitara-e-Imtiaz, Hilal-e-Imtiaz. This shows Iftikhar’s passion and love for the literature even in difficult times, he said.

Dr. Tauseef Tabassum said that Iftikhar’s poetic work has the characteristics of affection and politeness which attracts the readers to narrate again and again. He urged Iftikhar Arif to write his autobiography which could also be a great contribution to the literature.

Dr. Humaira Ashfaq, Research Fellow, SDPI through Skype said that Iftikhar’s poetry has the element of resistance against oppression, as well as his poetry reflects on social injustice and social unrest of the society. Mehboob Zafar, who moderated the ceremony, said Iftikhar Arif himself is an insinuation, whose contributions to Urdu literature and poetry are acknowledged not only in Pakistan but abroad as well.

For more information, contact:
Coordinator, Policy Advocacy and Outreach
Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI)
38 Embassy Road, G-6/3 Islamabad, Pakistan
Postal Code: 44000
Tel: +92-51-2278134 (Ext: 113)
Fax: +92-51-2278135
Cell: +92-333-559 2210