Liberty Books’ Meet the Author Program with Anjum Altaf - Sindh Courier

Liberty Books: Meet the Author Program with Anjum Altaf

Book Review

Liberty Books’ Meet the Author Program with Anjum Altaf - Sindh CourierThe Liberty Books Karachi will go live on Facebook on Friday January 15, 2021 at 3.30p.m bringing Anjum Altaf in its program ‘Meet the Author’ for an interesting conversation on the book ‘Transgressions’, compilation of his poems inspired by Faiz Ahmed Faiz.

Dr. Anjum Altaf, is the former Dean of the Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS) and Provost at Habib University Karachi. His book ‘Transgressions’ contains 30 poems and each poem is followed by notes. The poems correspond to the poems of Faiz Ahmed Faiz but are not translations. The poems reflect the author’s thoughts on the themes of the poems of Faiz Ahmed Faiz. It is a good tribute to a great poet like Faiz. The book was first published by Aakar Books in 2019 in Delhi. It was reprinted by Liberty Books in Karachi in 2020.

The author has tried to converse with Faiz Ahmed Faiz through his tributary creations and desires to convey the thought of resistance to the succeeding generations and says, “The poetry of resistance needs to be constantly refreshed to make it speak to our times.” In his words, it is “the engagement with poetry to make it congruent with the present.” Let us go through some examples. In the first poem ‘Why’ (Kutey), these lines are very influencing …..


What myth is it

That keeps you


Amongst yourselves

That keeps you


To your strength

It corresponds to the poem Kuttey written by Faiz and in that poet he has symbolized laziness of dogs and asked to tug on their tails as they might awaken. Anjum has used the theme with interrogation ‘why the myth has kept people divided and they are not in a position to realize their potential. ‘Resist’ is taken from the poem ‘dar e umiid ke daryuuza gar’ by Faiz and it tells the human dare and courage that enables them not to kneel down before others. People become used to with their cage and don’t want to leave it. They show all of the left overs of the servitude with pride. It reads as:

Hordes swarm the streets

Goose stepping, flaunting steel

Threatening, intimidating those

Who dare to refuse to kneel!


We collect the shreds they tore

Dyed red in our blood

Sew them back in a banner

Bigger, brighter than before


Some other examples are as follows:

Speak ( bolبول )


For truth and honor shall not wait


Say all that needs be said today


Go (aaj bazaar mein  pa ba jaulaan chalo آج بازار مين پابجولان چلو )

Unwept tears, inner torments


Hidden desires, silent accusations



Killing fields (ham jo tareek rahoon mein maarey gaye هم جو تاريک راهون مين ماري گئي )

Sweet was the seduction

To live to die for a promise


Memories and desires

Shall cast

Again and again

Legions of lovers

In the killing fields


Bangladesh (Dhaka se waapsii par ڊاکه سي واپسي پر )

What would it take

To trust again

To feel

Without the need

To say


Beauty (mauzu e sukhan موضوئي سخن )

Wait, you say

There are words

Beyond henna and anklet

Beyond lovers and beloveds

Pestilence, war, death, deprivation

Inequality, injustice, oppression, starvation


Click on the Facebook link for live program

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