Friday, 20 November 2009

The Curve of Memory

Faiz Ahmed Faiz (1911-1984)

Today is his 25th Death Anniversary

He was the man and the poet that captivated my imagination all my youth. His poetry casted a spell and showed me the path in utter serenity of love for humanity. Faiz not only raised Urdu poetry to new heights of perception and eloquence but also filled it with the sensibilities of human touch. As it is said there is no final view of things in Faiz; he is supremely aware of man’s vulnerability and yet he believes in the possibility of happiness.


Wearing necklaces of the hangman’s noose
The singers kept on singing
Tinkling the ankle-bells of their fetters
The dancers merrily jigged their dance.
We in neither one group, nor the other
Stood by the roadside
Watching enviously
And wept silent tears.
On returning home
The erstwhile red flowers
Had turned deathly pale
And where there was once a heart
Now there was only pain.
Round our necks hallucinations of a noose
And on our feet the dance of chains.
Then one day came Love
And like the others haltered and enchained
Dragged us into the same caravan

Translated by Faiz Ahmed Faiz


  1. I loved the Intro and what a perfect choice of poems. I love this poet from here this far from his homeland and this far from the grave - Crazy about him already!

    From another Pakistani friend, Asim Ghani Sahib:

    Here's a couplet which is never quoted, although it's so applicable to South Asian society: "bajuz deevaangi vaaN aur chaara hi, kaho, kya-hai,/jahaaN aql o khirad ki Ek bhi maani naheeN-jaati?" (What alternative is there to insanity/Where rational thought is prohibited?)

  2. In the memory of FAIZ aur jab yaad ki bujhti hui shammon main
    nazar aya kahin aik pal
    akhri lamha teri dildari ka,
    dard itna tha kay is say bhi guzrna chaha
    ham nay chaha bhi magar dil na tharna chaha

  3. Connie and Tasneem Thanks.
    @Tasneem: This is Faiz's answer:

    Last night
    I thought of you,
    All the deserts
    Became fragrant with zephyrs
    Spring was everywhere
    My dying heart
    Suddenly came back
    to Life.

  4. I hope yu didn't mind me using your post and this Faiz' answer on my blogpost ? I gave credit to you. Tasneem, if you want me to credit you, I will. IF you'd like more on Faiz, there has been quite a "thread" on another list-serve...just let me know. Speaking of literary and profound poetry, be sure not to miss Faraz' next to last! Took me his explanation in Comments to get it yet now it all makes perfect sense and is quite illuminating. I hope Dr. Safi sees both this by you and Faraz'.

  5. Connie, please go ahead. will love any thing on Faiz.

  6. I left pertinent little comments under Khurram Sahib's and under your's on oneheart...

    Be seldom here this week but will "peek in"

    if you're on facebook, ask to be my friend, ok?

    Why not see Faraz blogs as one or two lately have been simply profound and he needs someone of your calibur and temperment to notice, I intuit...

  7. hmmm...Dar Sahib....nice and lovely post.

    Why is in Pakistan we have this habit of not giving people enough credit for their great work?


  8. Thanks Thinking. Creativity thrives on appreciation; unfortunately our educational system severely deficient in cultivating this culture and therefore generally our educated are short on accepting anything good. Appreciation and gratitude not only encourages creativity but also brings about environment of cheerfulness, joy and happiness, which so much our society lacks.

  9. hmmm....Dar Sahib...thanks.

    I think our educational system even lack education.

    Our educational system usually failed to developed ressoning and questioning habit in the students.

    Thats is why they want everything in same familiar way. When after they get educated (so called) if they found anything which require them to think about or to research about they reject it instantly.