PWA 75th Anniversary: Fifth Progressive Writers Conference, Birmingham

5th Progressive Writers Conference – Birmingham: Celebrate the 75th Anniversary of Progressive Writers Association (PWA) – Progressive Writers Association UK in collaboration with South Asian Peoples Forum and Indian Workers Association cordially invites you to a public meeting to celebrate the 75th Anniversary of Progressive Writers Association (PWA). Saturday, 18 September 2010…

Saturday, 18 September 2010
2.30-7.00 p.m.,

Edward Street Youth Center, 21 Victoria Street,
West Bromwich, B70 8ET

The PWA, established in 1935 in London, heralded a major literary movement against imperialism, colonial rule and for the democratic rights of South Asian people. The PWA played a critical role in mobilising the masses through literature. Most of the prominent writers in the sub-continent, such as Sajjad Zaheer, Sahir Ludhanvi, Munshi Premchand, Minto, Faiz, Bedi, Amrita Preetam, Josh, Jalib, Faraz, to name a few, were in the forefront of our struggle.

The conference is to honour the heroic struggle of our writers, poets and artists who became the conscience of our people for many decades, to re-launch the PWA, to reaffirm our determination to continue the struggle for justice, equality and human rights.

Special Guests:
Rahat Saeed, Deputy General Secretary Progressive Writers Association Pakistan
Arif Naqvi, Progressive Writers Association Germany

Paper: Surjit Singh Khalsa – The contribution of Sufism to Punjabi Literature

Other Speakers/ Contributors:

Avtar Sadiq, Voice President Indian Workers Association
Prof Nazir Tabassum, Co-ordinator South Asian Peoples Forum
Abbas Malik, President British Pakistani Journalists Association
Gurnam Singh Dhillon, Co-ordinator Progressive Writers Association UK
Parkash Singh Azad, Progressive Writers Association UK
Pervez Fateh, Co-ordinator South Asian Peoples Forum
Harish Malhotra, Progressive Writers Association UK

For further information:

Gurnam Singh Dhillon: 07946647696
Pervez Fateh: 07958541672
Avtar Sadiq: 07794007863
Bhupinder Singh Sagoo: 07501038048
Parkash. S. Azad: 01215252787

7 Responses

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  2. […] This cup of tea was served by: Journeys to democracy […]


  3. I was once an active member of the PWA long ago during end of the 1940’s and beginning of the 1950’s. Faiz, Nadeem Qasmi, Qateel Shifai, Zaheer Kashmiri, Hajirah Masroor, Khadijah Mastoor, Hameed Akhtar, some of the notable members I remember, used to attend weekly meetings of the Association held in the office of the PWA at Mcleod (Maklod) Road, Lahore. There was once some problem in holding meetings at the said venue for some time and we had to shift the venue to Tahira and Mazhar Ali’s flat at Nicholson Road, where we enjoyed the hospitality of the pair along with their son, Tariq Ali, who was just a kid then. What amazing days were those! As Faiz had once said:

    “Janoon mein jo bhi guzri bakaar guzri he
    gar chih dil pih kharaabi hazaar guzri he”.

    And what a grand ‘Aman Conference’ was held in the Open Air Theatre, Baghe Jinnah, Lahore. I remeber all but wonder if that spirit can be revived now ln our youth of today. I don’t think so as the movement has done its job in changing the mindset of the world. Peoples today enjoy freedoms and powers which we could not then dream of even. As Ghalib had said:

    “Ham mawaahid hein hamara keish he tark-e-rasoom
    Ummatein jab mit gayein juzwe Eimaan ho gayein”

    Today’s problem is not the capitalism and imperialism but fundamentalism and obscurantism with their terrorist outfits threatening to take over the world to take it back to the stone age. So I think Progressive Writers movement becomes all the more necessary to fight obscurantism’s anti-human mindset and to usher in tolerance and humanism, which is must for human civilization in the world today developing into a global village.

    How I wished i could have attended the conference, but now I can only wish all the best to the success of the conference.


    • “Today’s problem is not the capitalism and imperialism but fundamentalism and obscurantism with their terrorist outfits threatening to take over the world to take it back to the stone age.”

      Hazoor,yeh masla bhi capitalism ka hi paida karda hai,imperialist aur capitalist dominance has always reflected in fundamentalism and its propogation,maybe poverty and its miseries are not any more your problem,but billions,still suffer from the inhumanity which capitalism creates,which prompted Progressive writing, we cant isolate all these interwoven issues,particualrly so,when you live still amongst them,they very heart of progressive writers movement,indo-pak


  4. Bokhari Sahib
    A number of events have been organised to celebrate the centenary of Faiz. It will be great to share your memories of Faiz with us.
    Contact me through the website.


  5. Lenin to Satan

    A dialogue from Ahmad Ali`s short story ” My Room” “میرا کمرہ”

    “But you are an egoist, my friend. You are bitter against the
    design of Nature for not creating a mate for you. We want to
    demolish the designs of self-seeking men to perpetuate superstition
    and ignorance, and overthrow the yoke of ages, and put an end to
    all forms of exploitation, mental or material. We have no sympathy
    with Anarchy as you had planned; we stand for Revolution and the
    Rights of Man. And whereas it was because of this we shall succeed
    …” (p.68)


  6. Munshi Premchand reminded the writers that society was their court of justice, and that they were answerable to it; that in this peoples court, their suit could only be successful if they sincerely promoted humanity, decency, justice and truth. He said that it was essential for an artist to possess a taste for beauty and the warmth of love, and that an artist looks for balance and harmony between nature and human society.

    Literature is the outward form of the artists spiritual balance, and what harmony creates is never subversive.

    It nurtures in us the qualities of loyalty, sincerity, sympathy, justice and egalitarianism.
    Where these qualities exist, there is stability and life.
    Where they are wanting, there is division, selfishness, hatred, enmity, and death
    Literature makes our life natural and free, it civilizes the self.
    This is its prime objective.

    Later in his speech, Premchand explained what he meant by the quest for beauty and love in literature.

    For him beauty and love were not merely personal and individual. He did not advocate the vague concept of art for arts sake

    For him the distinguishing quality of a skilled artist was that he could not bear to see a people suffering in the grip of their culture and customs,
    who would hasten to provide the means to rescue them from their slavery and distress, and would not be able to rest until he saw them free.

    The more intensely he feels the pain of this, the more persuasive and sincere his work becomes. The poise, with which he articulates his feelings, is the secret of his skill.

    Clarifying further, Premchand explained that beauty and spiritual happiness are not divorced from material life, but are very relevant to the lives of human beings; and they always have a beneficial side.

    The same thing can cause us happiness as well as sadness. Twilight, spread over the sky is a beautiful sight.
    Yet the same twilight, seen in the month of ASAARH, does not make us feel happy, because that is a time when only the sight of black clouds in the sky can give us pleasure.

    Similarly, what gives pleasure to the rich can be the cause of sadness to the poor.
    A perceptive man would see the trappings of wealth as the most repulsive things if they were stained with the blood of the poor.

    He added that the best religious, moral and spiritual leaders have always presented before humanity a model of equality, brotherhood and civilized behaviour;
    and have always attempted to change this dream of theirs into reality.
    But experience shows us that the dream of human freedom, brotherhood, and quality can only become real, and the ideal realized, when we act in concert with the forces of progress.

    We must make progress.
    We must shape a new system in which the cause of equality is not left to moral strictures alone.
    And our literature must present this deal.

    The words in which Premchand supported political and social peoples revolution proved that he had left his reformist ideas behind.

    ٘منشی پریم چند
    انجمن ترقی پسند مصنفین


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