This week has been a spiritually uplifting one for me personally.
On Friday I was in Dhakka participating in the joint
Bangladesh-India celebration of Rabindranath Tagore’s 150th birth
anniversary. Today, I am here to release this volume. Two great
poets, both born Indian, who used the medium of verse to reflect
on issues of wider concern. One thought in evolutionary terms, the
other in revolutionary ones. The menu of options, a teasing one,
was laid bare.
It has been observed that the poetry of Faiz Ahmad Faiz blends
skilfully classical sobriety and artistry with modern incisiveness
and ruthlessness of expression in exposing to light the turmoil
and revolutionary urges of the time. Romance and revolution thus
became part of the same impulse and, in Faiz’s own words,
“gham-e-jaana aur gham-e-douran eik hi tajrabe ke do pehlu hain”.
The resulting mix is overpowering; it accounts for the popularity
of Faiz in the subcontinent and beyond.
Faiz saheb’s verses challenge authoritarian edifices and evoke
hope for a better tomorrow:
Kahaan hai manzil-e-raahe tamanna hum bhi dekhen gai
Yeh shab hum par bhi guzre gi, yeh farda hum bhi dekhen gai
Theher ai dil , jamaal-e-roo-e- zaiba hum bhi dekhain gei
Again, in the well known lines of Tarana:
Darbaar-e-watan main ek din sub jaane wale jaaen ge
Kooch apni saza to pohnchen ge, kooch apni jaza le jaaen ge
Ai khak nasheeno, uth baitho, woh waqt qareeb aa pahuncha hai
Jab takht giraae ja ain ge, jab taaj uchale jaa en ge
And, there are expressions of despair emanating from the harsh
experience of life:
Himmat-e-ilteja nahin baaqi---Zabt ka howsala nahin baaqi
Ho chuka khatm ahd-e-hijr o wisal---Zindagi main maza nahin baaqi
Jo chal sako to chalo ke raahe wafa bahut mukhtasar hui hai
Muqaam hai ab koi na manzil, faraaz-e-daar o rasan se pehle.
The time Faiz Ahmad Faiz spent in jail produced some of his most
evocative verses. He explained it convincingly: Jail khana, aashqi
ki tarah, khud eik bunyaadi tajraba hai,jis main fikr aur nazar ka
eik aadh naya dareecha khud bakhud khul jaa ta hai.
The volume before us also brings forth some delectable episodes in
the life of Faiz. One relates to his meeting with Jazbi in Lucknow
in 1936. Another to how, on being recruited in the public
relations department of the army in World War II, he developed a
motivational approach for the soldiers and for which he received
One of the contributors to this volume has summed up the
sentiments of many who read and cherish Faiz: “He makes us feel
good about ourselves. He makes our lives bearable. He gives us a
glimpse of hope.”
One last word before I conclude. In November 1984, I was wandering
in Urdu Bazar and acquired a collection of Faiz entitled Waraq
Waraq. It was edited in 1975 by a distinguished predecessor of
mine in this office, the late Shri Krishan Kant. In an erudite
Introduction, he dwelt on various aspects of the poet’s work. I
will share with you his concluding lines:
Bharat main jahan Urdu kasm-pursi ke aalam main hai, nai nasl Faiz
ke kalam ko surma samajh kar aankhon se lagaati hai. Mehnat aur
sarmay ki kash ma kash ka shaoor jun jun awam main barhta jai ga,
aane wali naslain usai ek aham tareeki aur funni dastawaiz ke taur
par harz-e-jaan banaen ge.
The poetry of Faiz Ahmad Faiz earned him immortality in his
lifetime. It is incumbent on us, all of us, to pass on this
precious heritage to succeeding generations. D.P. Tripathi ji has
earned our gratitude by bringing forth this collection of
This is the text of
Indian Vice President Mohammad Hamid Ansari's speech delivered at the release of the Faiz Centenary number of Think
In his own words, the
magazine brings together writings and impressions of a good
number of shaidaa ee yaan-e-Faiz the world over and would be of
particular value to the younger, post-Faiz, generation.