John Elia’s Early Life and the Synthesis of Marxism and Religion:

Early Life:

John Elia (1931-2002) was a Pakistani poet, philosopher, and scholar. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest Urdu poets of the 20th century.

Born on December 14, 1931, in Amroha, a small town situated in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, John Elia hailed from a family steeped in intellectual pursuits. His father, Shafiq Hasan Elia, was a renowned scholar in Arabic and Persian, passed down a strong love for literature and culture to the family.

In his poems, Elia says that the dislike between religious folks and communists isn’t natural. He believes it’s something powerful people made up to make Marxism look bad.

Juan Elia’s poetry. Credit: Facebook/Jaun Elia Poetry

Jaun Elia’s Digital rally: A Revolution in Urdu Poetry Circles:

In recent years, Jaun Elia’s Urdu poetry has become a sensation online. While he was already famous among Urdu literature fans when he was alive, it’s only after his death in 2002 that his work really took off. Nowadays, he’s one of the most searched Urdu poets on the internet.

What made him really famous was how he recited poems at poetry events. Kumar Vishwas, a poet and politician, described Elia’s poetry as filled with pain and suffering. Urdu experts have talked about the spiritual side of his work and how it’s influenced by both Sufi ideas and the Ganga-Jamuni culture. But what often gets forgotten is that his poetry is also quite forward-thinking.

His Fame on social media:

There are many Facebook pages on Facebook and Instagram with Lakhs of Followers. People read his poetry in specially organised literary gatherings.
Despite extensive discourse surrounding his poetry, there’s a curious oversight: Jaun Elia, in fact, shaped his literary expressions profoundly under the influence of communist ideology, marking him as a Marxist poet.

Jaun Elia: Bridging the Gap Between Marxism and Religion:

Khush badan! Perahan ho surkh tera

Dilbara! Baankpan ho surkh tera

(O beauty! Here’s hoping your apparel is coloured red)

Beloved! Here’s hoping your adolescence is coloured red)

In this peotry John Elia hopes that Pakistan witness a communist revolution, which would give rise to a democratic society.

John Elia’s Perspective on Marxism and Religion:

While many view Marxism and religion as inherently opposed, Elia sees no contradiction between the two. He expresses:

We feel safe admiring Dante, even though he wrote offensive things about Prophet Muhammad and Hazrat Ali. We’re not afraid to discuss Lamarck and Darwin, even though their ideas contradict religion. Talking about Freud doesn’t make us feel unsafe, even though his ideas about human sexuality are disrespectful to religion. But when a poor German philosopher, Marx, tried to scientifically address society’s problems, capitalist societies labeled him a traitor to religion and morality. Marx, struggling with poverty, thought about solutions for human suffering until his death. When we discuss his ideas of communism to help the masses, capitalist countries call us traitors.

In his view, philosophers, poets, writers and thinkers of every age have had a common dream – they have dreamt of an egalitarian society, and he hopes that one day ‘we’ will reach our goal.

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