Shaikh Ayaz

Shaikh Ayaz (Sindhi: شيخ اياز) was one of the great Sindhi poets of Pakistan. He was born in Shikarpur Sindh. By profession he was a lawyer but he also served as the vice chancellor of Sindh University. His poetry brought new trends into Sindhi literature. Shaikh Ayaz's work brings together different and discordant elements. In one of his early poems he writes of two deities from classical India: Saraswati, the goddess of knowledge and music sitting together with Kali, the goddess of blood and violence, the two of them sipping nectar in a moon-lit temple. "How have the two come together?" the poem contemplates and then comes up with the answer: perhaps a great poet has been born. Shaikh Ayaz is one of the major voices in twentieth century poetry. His literary career spanned almost six decades and covered a wide range of poetry and prose forms, ranging from the traditional bait, wa'i,Nazam,"Azad Nazam" and ghazal to plays in verse, prose poems and musings, extending to short fiction, memoirs and journals, polemical and literary essays, news articles, editorials, and a projected novel.

Activity and poetry

Shaikh Ayaz's work is spontaneous, objective and forceful. He defiantly wrote verses on topics hated by the establishment. He was incarcerated many times for his "seditious" writings.[citation needed] He wrote short stories, novel, essays, poetry, travelogues, diaries, an autobiography and the translation of Shah Jo Risalo in Urdu. He also composed poetry in Urdu and two of his anthologies, "Booye Gul, Nala-i-dil" and "Neel Kanth Aur Neem Ke Pate" were highly acclaimed.[citation needed] He portrayed the miseries of suffering humanity, the sorrows of the deprived and the wretched conditions of the exploited masses who had been suffering at the hands of an unjust system for centuries. Through his poetry, Shaikh Ayaz battled against the military dictatorship of Ayub Khan. During the anti-One Unit campaign one of his poems "Sindhri taan sir ker na deendo, sanhando ker mayar (Is there anybody who will not sacrifice his head for Sindh, and be ashamed of it)", became very popular among the people of Sindh and subsequently its broadcast was banned from Radio Pakistan. He was banned for a number of times from cities and towns where he was to participate in Mushairas. Three of his anthologies—Bhounr Bhare Akas, Kulhe Patam Keenaro and Je Kak Kakoriya Kapri— drew sharp criticism from fundamentalists and the government denounced them. He wrote against tyrannical rulers and the wars they waged. During the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965, he wrote a poem about progressive Sindhi poet Suragwasi Narain Shayam, who had migrated to India after independence :