Born in a village; Kala Qadir near Narowal in 1911, bordering India. Faiz Ahmed Faiz was a Pakistani Marxist poet. He beautifully blended the grief of love with sorrows of life in his poetry which struck a chord with youth. He has been described as a committed poet who used his simple verse to probe not only beauty and love but also humanism and justice. His imprisonment was evident in more than his two collections of poems written during his political detention.
Faiz was known for his revolutionary poetry against the repression and social injustice in the society. Faiz is part of a collective heritage, a shared past, and irrespective of borders and tags. The literary world was rocked with the echo when Faiz’s first collection ‘Naqsh-e-Faryadi’ was published.
Faiz Ahmed Faiz was inspired by Patras Bukhari. Faiz mentored under him as well and Muhammad Deen Taseer was Faiz’s brother in law.
Faiz and Madam Noor Jahan
While spending time behind the bars and being a core part of various left movements in Pakistan, Faiz Ahmed Faiz left a blemish on the society as a whole. He was not poet of a country or a generation. Faiz wrote a poem as a mark of defiance in 1979 “Hum Dekhengy”, taking on the might of Pakistani President; Zia-ul-Haq.
Faiz was great friends with Madam Noor Jahan, known as the queen of melody. When Faiz Ahmed Faiz was released from the prison after serving a term due to his influential views on communism in Pakistan, Noor Jehan stood outside, waiting for the poet to appear.
The party of friends and family that had gathered to celebrate moved to his house to rejoice. Faiz, who had spent his time in jail listening to her songs on the radio, requested her to sing. One of the songs she sang was based on his nazm, Mujh Se Pehli Si Mohabbat Mere Mehboob Na Maang. This nazm took Noor Jahan to a different echelon of fame and prominence. This particular nazm is the epicenter of modern Urdu poetry and have been recriminated at various platforms i-e Coke Studio.
Faiz and the Lenin Peace Prize
Faiz was a nominee for the Nobel Prize and in 1963 was the first Asian poet to win the Lenin Peace Prize (an award named in honor of Vladimir Lenin). The prize was mainly awarded to prominent Communists and supporters of the Soviet Union who were not Soviet citizens. Faiz Ahmad Faiz was also awarded the Lenin Peace Prize in the same year. At that time the Lenin Peace Prize was equivalent to the Nobel Prize in the then USSR.
Faiz is still alive; a foretaste at CAA
Faiz Ahmed Faiz is a not just poet but a struggle. A struggle against the autocracy, dictatorship, censorship and freedom of expression. Recently this has become the anthem of the resistance to the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) in India.
Protestors march past Jamia Masjid, Delhi Gate against CAA while singing “Hum Dekhengy”
That was the life of Faiz, full of ironies. Many sought to possess him. Many were outraged by his works. Faiz need not be elevated to the level of a superhero. He ate and drank. He fell in love and fell out of love. He loved to write poetry. He did not believe in any dogma. He transcended the limitations of any one ideology.
One of the famous compositions of Faiz’s poetry are: “Naqsh-e-faryadi”, “Dast-e-saba”, “Zindaan Naama”, “Dast-e- Tah-e-Sang”, and “Mere Dil Mere Musafir”. His complete poetry has been published as ‘Nuskhahaae Wafa’. Faiz passed away on 20th Nov 1984 in Lahore.
We are happy to reveal that author’s father was the student of Faiz Ahmed Faiz. His father used attend meetings with Faiz Ahmed Faiz and his grandfather shared a part of his life with Faiz in Jail. However, the information, given here, on life of Faiz is based on both research and personal remarks.
Stay tuned to read about Rawalpindi conspiracy and Faiz Ahmed Faiz’s arrest in our next article.