in the half light of dawn the breeze-
laden with the scent of mango blossom-
drifts in from the courtyard,
calling her thoughts to the waiting river;
quietly she leaves her bed,
gathers her unkempt hair in a loose bun
then pauses for a moment,
listens to her husband’s measured breathing,
then silently tiptoes out,
tucking in the corner of her sari at the waist
she hastily collects the fallen Parijatak in her pallu
placing a few in her hair at the same time,
the red from their stalks rising to her cheeks;
beside the well the empty pitchers wait,
nearby the battered clay stove
recalls her own scars,
for a split second she wavers, then crosses
the threshold, her heart frantic with haste,
leaving behind the walls
that had risen around her brick by brick;
the river hears her hurried footsteps
with rapt attention, at its bend
under the shade of the mangroves,
a boat and a promise patiently wait
ready to carry her away.
(pic from Google images. Copyright credited to the photographer)
“Matta e lauh o qalam chhin gayi, to kya gham hai
Ke khoon e dil mein dubo li hain ungliyan mainne
Zabaan pe mohr lagi hai to kya, ke rakh di hai
Har ek halqa e zanjeer mein zubaan mainne.”
If they snatch my ink and pen,
I should not complain,
For I have dipped my fingers
In the blood of my heart.
I should not complain
Even if they seal my tongue,
For every ring of my chain
Is a tongue ready to speak.
As a small child I listened to my father as he recited from the great works of Urdu poets like Firaq, Faiz, Iqbal, Galib, josh malihabadi and many others. I did not understand the meanings then but the very words were music to my ears. As I grew older I started to read the Many urdu shayari books including ser-o- sukhan and fell in love with the beauty of urdu language. The sweetness, the warmth and the intoxicating feeling that I used to get was beyond anything else. Of the many poets I read Faiz Ahmed Faiz became my favorite both as a revolutionary poet and as a romantic poet. Over and over again I would read those beautiful verses and listen to the songs sung by various artists like Runa laila etc.
This is my tribute to the legendary poet of all times.
LAL SALAM !!!
Faiz Ahmed Faiz was born in Siyalkot in Pakistan in 1911 and studied in Lahore. He had a multifaceted personality. He was an activist for human rights and liberties, a famous journalist and editor of literary magazines (Urdu and others), trade unionist, and film song writer but it is his poetry which made him the cynosure of all eyes. Faiz revolutionized the classical form of Urdu poetry, the Ghazal, giving it a powerful sociopolitical resonance. He used ancient forms of poetry, such as the Qawwali and the Geet, to convey his message of humanism.
He captivated his audience by mixing traditional love with protest. Faiz did not confront injustice with hostility and anger. His protest was not direct, loud, thunderous, or deafening. He faced up to his tormentor by his moral strength, power of endurance and persistence. He believed in a soft and gradual revolution. He challenged the conscience of all human beings by showing his resolve and defiance. Even in moments of extreme anguish he avoided confrontation and invokes heavenly justice.
Faiz began writing on the conventional themes of love and beauty, but soon these conventional themes get submerged in the larger social and political issues of the day.
This turning away from romance to realism is beautifully suggested in his poem (a nazm), “mujh se pehli si mohabbat meri mahboob na maang.
He was often compared to his friend Pablo Neruda, revolutionary poet and Nobel prize winner, of Chile and was nominated four times for the Nobel prize. Faiz was honored by Soviet Russia with the prestigious Lenin Award for Peace.
One of his very beautiful gazal is
Hum parwarash-e-loh-o-qalam karte rahenge
Jo dil pe guzarti hai raqam karte rahenge
Asbaab-e-gham-e-ishq baham karte rahenge
Viraani-e-dauraan pe karam karte rahenge
Haan talkhi-e-ayyaam abhi aur barhe gi
Haan ahl-e-sitam mashq-e-sitam karte rahenge
Manzur yeh talkhi yeh sitam hum ko gawaara
Dam hai to madaawa-e-alam karte rahenge
Maikhana salaamat hai to hum surkhi-e-mai se
Tazzain-e-dar-o-baam-e-haram karte rahenge
Baqi hai lahu dil mein to har ashk se paida
Rang-e-lab-o-rukhsar-e-sanam karte rahenge
Ek tarz-e-taghaaful hai so woh unko mubaarak
Ek arz-e-tamanna hai so hum karte rahenge
Translation by Shiv .K.Kumar
Forever will I nurture pen and paper,
forever express in words whatever my heart undergoes,
forever proffer ingredients of the sorrows of love
and quicken into life the wasteland of time.
Yes, the bitterness of time will keep on spawning,
just as the tyrants will persist in their cruelty.
Cheerfully I’ll give in to bitterness, this tyranny too I’ll endure
so long as there’s breath, I’ll seek ever new cures for torments.
If the tavern still remains, I shall embellish every door
and balcony of the haram with the redness of wine.
If the heart is not drained of all the blood, I’ll color every tear
with the redness of the beloved’s lips and cheeks
This posture of indifference, let it be her prerogative-
For me it will always be my desire’s entreaty.
Faiz Ahmed Faiz writes from his prison cell:
Bujha Jo Rozan-e-Zindan Tau Dil Ne Yeh Samjha
Keh Teri Maang Sitaaron Se Bhar Gayee Ho Gi
Chamak Uthay Hain Salaasil Tau Dil Ne Yeh Jaana
Keh Ab Sahar Teray Rukh Peh Char Gayi Ho Gi
Once again, it’s love in the context of revolution.
He wrote beautiful romantic gazals and nazms also and I am putting a few of my favorites for you to enjoy.
One of my favorites
Raat yun dil mein teri khoi hui yaad aai
Jaisey wiraney mein chupkey sey bahaar aajaae
Jaisey sehraon mein hawley say chaley bad-e-naseem
Jaisey bimaar ko be-wajaa qaraar aajaae
Last night, your long-lost memory came back to me as though
Spring stealthily should come to a forsaken wilderness
A gentle breeze its fragrance over burning deserts blow
Or, all at once be soothed somehow the sick soul’s distress.
Another ghazal by Faiz that has a beautiful sher is “Shaam-e-firaaq ab na puuchh aaii aur aake Tal gaii:”
shaam-e-firaaq ab na puuchh aaii aur aake Tal gaii
dil thaa ke phir bahal gayaa, jaan thii ke phir sambhal gaii
dil se to har muaamalaa karake chale the saaf ham
kahane men unake saamane baat badal badal gaii
Aay kuch abr kuch sharab aaye
Uske baad aye jo azab aaye
Gulon me rang bhare bad -e – naubahar chale
chale bhi aao ke gulshan ka karobar chale
A small blog can not do justice to such a man, I could write about him for hours and pen down all of his poems but I want this to remain an introduction for those who want to read him more and an offering for those who love him.