Panelists Emphasise Role of Poetry in Inspiring Positive Social Change

KARACHI: The panelists at an interactive dialogue on ‘Poetry and Reconciliation’ maintained that art and poetry plays a pivotal role in maintaining peace and tranquility in the society.

The session moderated by journalist Wajeeh Sani included veteran poet Anwar Shaoor, Ambreen Haseeb Ambar and AH Khanzada at the Media Baithak on Saturday.

Sani kicked-off the session by saying that a society without poetry would lack expression to describe itself, and added that a positive social change will remain a distant dream without poetic aesthetics.

Shaoor said that the biggest difference between poetry and havoc caused by terror is that the poetry attracts people and puts an impact on its listeners just like a nightingale bird while bombs puts fear and horror. “Poetry is an antidote to the frenzy. It brings the much-needed calm in people,” the noted poet added, “A poet can never turn indifferent as he gives language to the collective emotions. His words come from the heart.”

He said that the silence of majority towards social evils causes conflicts in the society and this is when a genuine poet or an artist comes to put his thoughts across and express the pain of many.

Ambreen Haseeb Ambar said that terrorism and conflict is not limited to a particular area or region, in fact it is a global problem hence a great poet is the one who express his care not for one particular group of people but calls for peace for everyone.

“The words expressed can never die. A good poet never surrenders to the tyranny of geography. Irrespective of the fact that poetry is not a priority anymore, the genuine poets never stop writing,” she observed. “It’s a positive change to see that despite challenges new poets are joining the literary circles.”

Ambar said that the extremism and intolerance has penetrated primarily due to the prevalent collective confusions in the society as the people at large have not yet decided where they ideologically stand.

“It’s alarming to see that extremism which was once associated with a group is now taking roots in powerful quarters,” she said.

AH Khanzada said that a poet takes the responsibility of conveying the emotions of society through his/her verses and majority of the poets call for love, peace and respect for others, adding that by doing so the poets heal the wounds of the society.

“Mir, Iqbal, Faiz ,Ghalib – they are relevant today because people connect with them. They can see that their emotions are shaped in their verses,” he said. “The poet of today is very much aware and part of the society but their perspective of life is a bit different from the majority and that’s what makes him/her unique.” 

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