Calling Faiz Ahmed Faiz a miracle will not be an overestimation. He came at a time when the world was in romance with revolution and an untiring struggle for the proletariat rule was carried out by the poor. As he walked from one battalion to another, singing his songs of hope and love, Faiz prepared the oppressed and encouraged those who were struggling, through his poetry that was awash with more than just radical ideas a revolution requires.
Faiz’s poetry is greater than the revolutionary ideas or the romantic feelings he always had for a beloved. It is but a sweet, unconventional and novel amalgamation of love and revolution that adorned his work and made it stand out.
Peculiar to Faiz is the way with which he fills his reader with hope right after making him cognisant of how grave the circumstances are, and how desperately the learned need to fight for freedom.
His poem Chand Rooz Aur Meri Jaan (A few days more, my beloved) embodies the concept as he convinces his beloved that there is no abode where life and love may find liberty. Jism per qaid hay, jazbat pe zanjerain hay, Fikr mahboos hay, guftar pe tazeerain hain (The body is imprisoned, feelings shackled, Thoughts are suffocated, dialogues detained). And, the next moment, he beautifully changes course as he goes on to depict the other side — a dream that one day may come true. Lekin ab zulm ki miyaad kay din thoray hain, Ik zra sabar kay faryad kay din thoray hain (But, these oppressive days are now numbered, Wait, for these days of pleas are only a few).
Faiz’s thoughts resonate with what once German playwright meant when he said, “Because things are the way they are, things will not stay the way they are.” This is the essence of a thinker who follows the doctrine of dialectical materialism: nothing is constant but change.
In his famous poem Aj Bazaar Mein Paabajola Chalo, which was further enlivened when Nayyara Noor sang it, Faiz covers the sorrowful part of a revolutionary, radical life. The great poet, sticking to his hallmark, tries to imbibe romance with revolution: the two enrapturing intoxicants!
Faiz struggles with his pen to present love and revolution as the same entity, as a Marxist guerilla once said a true revolutionary is always guided by a strong feeling of love. The love for a free world must be exposed to others, no matter how grotesque the consequences are.
Faiz and his poetry are the blessings of the progressive thoughts. His pen offers to the struggling dreamers a set of ideas ripe with the love of a new human, who loves his beloved yet lives for humanity.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 15th, 2015.