Saeed Khan, (Urdu: سعید خان; born July 19, 1966) is a contemporary Urdu poet (also known as 'Saeed'), a Sydney, Australia -based writer and social and environmental advocate. Saeed's poetry is a combination of classical and modern Urdu ghazal and poems full of romance. Saeed’s idol and great Urdu poet Ahmad Faraz praised his poetry by saying "Saeed's voice is like a fresh breeze for Urdu poetry".
Khan has lived in Sydney for over 25 years. He was the general secretary of the Pakistan Association of Australia from 1999 to 2001 and for many years campaigned for refugee rights and multiculturalism.
Saeed Khan grew up reading and writing Urdu poetry in the north of Pakistan and continued his passion after he moved to Sydney during the late 1980s.
Khan started writing in Sydney and developed his poetry through reading and interactions with local and international Urdu poets from India and Pakistan who traveled to Australia for annual recitals.
Khan has been involved in promoting and developing Urdu writings in Australia since 1995 and was a founding member of the former Urdu Society of Australia and served as a vice president from 2003–2008 and played a key role in developing and project managing major international poetry recitals.
Saeed Khan is a published poet and has so far authored following three collections of Urdu poetry:
- 2003 manzar baat karte hain (منظر بات کرتے ہیں), published in Lahore/Sialkot by Bangash Publishers.
- 2007/2011 Hijrat Ke Parinday (ہجرت کے پرندے), published by Mavra Publishers, Lahore.
- Hijrat Ke Parinday meaning "migratory birds" is effectively a reprint of Saeed’s 2nd book Aik Muthi Mein Merey Khwab (ایک مٹھی میں مرے خواب) that was first published and launched in Lahore by Sham ke Baad Publishers in 2007.
- 2012 Sehra Ka Gulab (Desert Rose), published by Mavra Publishers, Lahore.
Translation of Les Murray's poetry
Khan is also credited with introducing and co-translating (with Noshi Gilani) the great Australian poet Les Murray into the Urdu language. These works were published in Tasteer literary magazine in Islamabad in its December 2011 edition.
Reviews and comments
The great Urdu Poet Ahmad Faraz praised his poetry by saying "Saeed's voice is like a fresh breeze for Urdu poetry".
Renowned Urdu poet and critic Dr Abrar Ahmad reviewed Saeed Khan's 2nd book EIK MUTHI MEIN MEREY KHWAB (A Handful of Dreams) in 2007. According Dr Abara Ahmad:
"The collection is heavily dominated by ghazal -- and unfolds a promise of going ahead with brilliance in this genre ... The strongest point he scores here is his creative ability to utilize words in their proper meaning. His stance is essentially neoclassical ... He seems deeply immersed in the greater ghazal tradition, and understands high class ghazal. All his work is meant to convey some thoughts, ideas and feelings. Subjective issues occupy the main bulk of his content. These include a longing, a sense of loss, an unquenched thirst for love and allied feelings. But he is fully conscious of the objectivity around and far from him".
"At places he offers political comments, at others he turns philosophical. A wave of romanticism runs through as an undercurrent in all his poetry".
Activism and advocacy
Khan joined the Australian Greens in 2003 as he was attracted to their environmental, social and human rights policies. Khan left politics in 2008 after one term on Marrickville Council. Some of the highlights included:
Marrickville Council, Sydney
Marrickville Council, Sydney: Elected as a Greens' Councillor from March 2004 – September 2008, chaired a number of Council and Advisory committees. www.marrickville.nsw.gov.au
Candidate for 2007 Australian Federal Election
Australian Greens candidate for the Sydney electorate of Grayndler, succeeded in gaining nearly 20% of the primary vote in Greens 2nd largest electorate in the country. http://greens.org.au/grayndler
Ethnic Communities' Council of New South Wales (ECC NSW)
Ethnic Communities' Council of New South Wales* (ECC NSW): Elected Deputy Chairman (2007–2009, 2009–2011) and Vice Chairman (2005–2007) of the ECC, the peak representative body of diverse migrant communities of NSW. www.eccnsw.org.au
The Institute for Cultural Diversity (ICD)
Founding Board Member since 2007. Co-founded the ICD, a think-tank to promote a cross-political approach to issues of cultural diversity.
Across My Bridge The Across My Bridge project concept was conceived of by Saeed Khan during his time at Marrickville Council. Saeed initiated the approach to Beyond Empathy and brokered the relationship with the lead funding body: The Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC). Across My Bridge (2006–2009) was an innovative and responsive project that was designed to provide young people from the Muslim community with a ‘stepping stone into the mainstream’. One effective way of creating a sense of balance is to provide arts and cultural interventions. Utilising a secular, integrated approach and targeting youth who (as a result of their isolation) do not access existing services, Across My Bridge provided a creative, safe space for these young people from the Muslim community to explore their lives and role in the community.,,
Sydney Airport Expansion During his time as a Marrickville Councillor (2004–2008) Khan was one of the main activists campaigning against the federal government unfair laws that protect Sydney Airport from both State and local Planning Controls. In August 2004, Khan revitalized the campaign against the Sydney Airport expansion and was successful in uniting neighbouring councils in a mayoral campaign against the Airport overdevelopment and forcing the State Government to challenge Federal Government planning powers.,,
–Founding member of Marrickville Transport Action Group www.marrickvilletag.org
–Media- Opinion Writing: His opinion pieces have been published in Sydney Morning Herald (Australia's largest newspaper), ABC Online, Inner-Western Courier, Indus Age, Online Opinion, as well as international website such as www.Chowk.com <http://www.chowk.com/>
- http://www.sadaewatansydney.com/nadeemdinner.htm Sada-e-Watan Sydney