Youth Voices

Happy 100th Birthday, Faiz

By Ali Suleman
COMSATS Institute of Information Technology
Islamabad

Image source: user.cs.cf.ac.uk

When I sat down to write this post, the first 15 minutes passed just staring blankly at the monitor screen. That’s not because I don’t know anything about the topic, but because I have so much in my mind that I can’t decide what to place in this small post. Whether to laud Faiz’s unflinching courage, or to hail his unyielding patriotism? Whether to highlight his magnificent poetic abilities or to admire his multi-linguistic skills? Whether to salute his anti-establishment leftist political struggle or to commend his meek personality and kind nature? Whether to discuss his journalistic career or to mention his fondness for world-wide tourism? Whether to eulogize him for being the first Pakistani to be awarded the Lenin Peace Prize or to revere him for his nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize? I might end up writing a book. To concentrate more, I insert my headphones in my ears, playing Faiz’s famous “wa yaqba wajhu Rabbika”.

As Iqbal Bano’s mesmerising voice pronounces “hum dekhain gay” and the words cast their usual spell, penetrating from ears to brain and finally the heart, and the clock announces the passing of one whole hour, a tiny tear emerges in my eye. And I smile. Recalling Faiz’s comrade, Sahir’s verse

jo tere dil ko lubhaaye, wo ada mujh mei nahi
kiun na tujh ko koi teri hi ada paish karun?
(Sahir Ludhyanvi)

I decide to pay a tribute to the maestro by his own glorious words.

aaya humaray dais mei ek khush nava faqeer
aaya aur apni dhun mei ghazal khwaan guzar gaya
sunsaan raahain khalq se aabaad ho gayeen
veeraan maekadon ka naseeba sanwar gaya

ab door ja chuka hay wo shaah e gada numa
aur phir se apnay dais ki raahain udaas hain
chand ek ko yaad hay koi us ki ada e khaas
do ek nigaahain chand azeezon k paas hain

par uska geet sab k dilon mei maqeem hay
aur uski lay se sainkron lazzat shanaas hain!

-Faiz

Happy birthday, Faiz! After 100 years of your birth, we still are benefiting from the message of hope you gave through your poetry.
Love you.
Miss you.