Remembering Faiz: A Pinnacle of Progressive Thought

Faiz Ahmad Faiz

Bol, ke lab azaad hai tere: Bol, zabaan ab tak teri hai,

Tera sutwan jism hai tera – Bol, ke jaan ab tak teri hai.

This poem has always deeply moved me and encouraged me to be true to myself, to oppose oppression and the injustices happening around us. Faiz’s work has been incredibly important in guiding the oppressed towards a path of freedom and kindness. I discovered Faiz’s writings in a book fair at University of Kashmir in 2019. After that I had the opportunity to participate in many conferences discussing marginalized issues and where Faiz’s ideas were frequently debated. He deeply resonates with the underprivileged and disadvantaged because his entire life has been devoted to those on the fringes of society.

Faiz Ahmad Faiz was born on February 13, 1911, in Narowal, Sialkot, Punjab, British India. He was a prominent Urdu poet, writer, and intellectual whose literary contributions continue to resonate globally, even beyond his death anniversary. As we commemorate his legacy, it is essential to reflect on his profound impact and enduring significance.

Faiz’s poetry reflected a unique blend of romanticism, social consciousness, and revolutionary fervour. His verses often explored themes of love, oppression, social justice, and humanism. His mastery of language, intricate metaphors, and profound imagery established him as one of the most celebrated poets in Urdu literature. Faiz was not merely a poet but also an active participant in socio-political movements. His poetry became a tool for activism, advocating for the rights of the oppressed and marginalized. He fearlessly critiqued societal injustices, oppression, and advocated for the rights of the common people. This suggests that he was never hesitant to express his true feelings. He remained resolute even when faced with adversity.

His involvement in progressive politics led to imprisonment and exile, yet he remained unwavering in his commitment to championing democratic values. His poems echoed the collective aspirations of the masses and inspired many to fight against tyranny and authoritarianism. Faiz’s works transcended borders and languages, influencing not only Urdu literature but also inspiring artists, writers, and activists worldwide. His poems have been translated into multiple languages, introducing his powerful voice to a global audience.

On Faiz’s death anniversary (20th November), his contributions are remembered and celebrated through literary events, seminars, and readings. It serves as a reminder of his enduring influence on literature and his unwavering commitment to social justice. His death anniversary is an opportunity to introduce Faiz’s works to new generations, inspiring them to engage with poetry that transcends time and remains relevant in contemporary socio-political landscapes. The occasion also prompts us to introspect into the values he stood for – freedom, equality, justice. It encourages a reevaluation of societal norms and challenges individuals to work towards a more equitable world. Even after leaving for the heavenly abode, Faiz’s poetry remains relevant in addressing current socio-political issues, fostering empathy, and advocating for positive change.

In essence, Faiz Ahmad Faiz’s death anniversary serves as a moment to honour his literary genius, his unyielding dedication to social causes, and his lasting impact on shaping culture, literature, and activism. It prompts us to carry forward his legacy by embracing his ideals and working towards a world envisioned through his verses – a world free from oppression, filled with compassion, and guided by justice. I would like to end with a verse that consistently fills me with enthusiasm and inspiration. It never fails to ignite a sense of passion and motivation within me:

Bol, ye thoda waqt bahut hai, Jism o zabaan ki maut se pahle;

Bol, ke sach zinda hai ab tak – Bol, jo kuchh kahna hai kah-le!

The author can be reached at [email protected]

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