By Awanish Somkuwar
Faiz Ahmad Faiz came alive when his famous poem Hum Dekhenge was recently termed as anti-Hindu. There were explanatory write-ups and discourses about why and how it is not. In the process, what has gone unnoticed is a method in misunderstanding Faiz. If we are forced to misunderstand Faiz, then serious questions arise. Who does it and why? Misunderstanding Faiz puts a question mark on the Sense of Poetry, which India boasts of. If we fail to appreciate the poetic genuius of Faiz, then really something is wrong with us and also in question is the time=frame in which we are living.
On 109th birth anniversary of Faiz, on February 13, let us dispel some doubts for a simple reason that long-persisting doubts may transform into myths and in course of time appear as facts if not controdicted. Faiz is a poet of Humanism. He believes in immense capabilities of humans never allowing them to feel dejected.
“Tum Nahak Sheeshe Chun Chunkar,
Daman Me Chhupaye Baithe Ho,
Sheeshon Ka Messiha Koi Nahi,
Kya Aas Lagaye Baithe Ho.”
(In vain, you have gathered pieces of the mirror,
None is the owner, don’t have unfounded hope.)
The humans denied of their rights by the privileged fellow humans speak out against them. This phenomenon is universal. Therefore he says-
“Yun Hi Hamesha Ulajhati Rahi Hai Zulm Se Khalq,
Na Unki Rasm Nai Hai, Na Apni Reet Nai.
Yun Hi Hamesha Khilaye Hain Hamne Aag Me Phool,
Na Unki Haar Nai, Na Apni Jeet Nai.”
(People are habitual of staging war against injustices. There is nothing new – our tradition and their practice. We emerge victorious against all odds. There is nothing new, our victory or their defeat).
Twentieth century’s Urdu poetry is altogether different from its conventional romantic temperament. Poets of progressive movement mainly, Josh, Makhdoom, Ali Sardar Jafri, Kaifi Azmi, Majaz, Sahir and many more re-oriented the thematic design of Urdu poetry far different from classical structure and diction. The domonating theme of Beauty and Love was replaced by Surrealism. Faiz energed as torch bearer of progressive movement. His poetry has three noble objects-
1-To sustain the social identity of Man.
2-To make humans aware of deteriorating values.
3- To call upon Man to fight out exploitation and root out injustices.
Faiz makes a striking balance between Romanticism and Realism. Acorss his poetry, he is a poet of Romantic Realism and Realistic Romanticism. Amply, he makes it clear from his first anthology Naqsh -E -Fariyadi. He puts Man at the centre of his poetry. He admits that his assessment of Love as quintessence of Life was an outcome an immature mind. The early notion of Love vanishes gradually.
“Ye Baaji Ishq Ki Baaji Hai, Jo Chaho Laga Do Dar Kaisa,
Gar Jeet Gaye To Kya Kahna, Haare Bhi To Baaji Maat Nahi.”
(Everything can be betted on Love , in which victory and defeat both are pleasant). His poetic entity is shaken tremendously when he is confronted with concrete realities of Life. Then Faiz rediscovers himself. Dispelling the sorrows and agonies of Life becomes his primary task as a concerned poet. He overlooks Love and says in pain-
“Aur Bhi Dukh Hain Zamane Me Mohabbad Ke Siva,
Raahaten Aur Bhi Hain Wasl Ki Raahat Ke Siva.
(Besides Love, more sorrows lie ahead. Besides the joy of meeting the beloved, more joys lie ahead.)
And further he goes on to say –
“Ab Main Dil Bechta Hoon Aur Jaan Kharidta Hoon”
(Now I sell my heart and buy Life in return.)
Faiz gives prime importance to the empirical study of Man. His cogitation upon the causes of Man’s plight and profound study of Man’s distressing circumstances bring Faiz to a firm conclusion that existence of Man in the society of opulents is transient. He determines to fight for the dignity of humans. His Zindanama and Dast- E- Tah- E -Sang reflect his struggle for dignified survival of humans.
“Kyon Na Jahan Ka Gham Apna Len
Baad Men Sab Tadbeeren Sochen,
Baad Men Sukh Ke Sapne Dekhen,
Sapnon Ki Taabiren Sochen. ”
(Let us embrace sorrows of the world first, later think of contrivances. Later see the dreams of prosperity and their fulfillment. ).
Out and out, Faiz is a Humanist and urges Man to rise against injustices and speak out. He says –
“Speak out, for your lips are free,
Speak out, for the tongue is yet your own,
This steely body is yet with you,
This life is yet your own,
Or else, look at the furnace,
Locks are opening their mouth,
Fetters are being moulded,
Speak out for a moment is enough,
Speak out before you die,
Speak out as Truth is alive,
Spell out what you desire. ”
Imagery speaks louder in Faiz and appeals emotively. As he says –
“Fir Lauta Hai Khursheed-e-Jahantaab Safar Se,
Fir Noor -e-Sahar Dast-o-Gareban Hai Sahar Se. ”
(Once again the sun returns from day ling journey, and once again the crepuscle is struggling with the dawn).
The rebellious tone runs through his poetry. He calls upon suffering humans to rise against the suffering and alter the oddest of circumstances in their favour.
“Ae Khak Nasheeno Uth Baitho Ab Waqt Karib Aa Pahuncha Hai,
Jab Takht Giraye Jayenge, Jab Taj Uchhale Jayenge.”
(O denizens of soil, rise up as the Time is approaching when thrones will be demolished and crowns thrown up.) Let us pay tribute to the poetic genuius of Faiz.(IPA Service)