Speak, for your lips are yet free (Faiz)

by Raza Rumi

Pak Tea House is grateful to Yasmin Hosain* for sharing her recent translation of Faiz‘s legendary peom “Bol ke lab Azaad Hai Teray“. We are posting this on the eve of the shut down of two news channels. Even though these channels are not always representing people, freedom of expression is non-negotiable and therefore it is a sad day for Pakistan.

Speak, for your lips are yet free;
Speak, for your tongue is still your own;
Your lissom body yours alone;
Speak, your life is still your own.
Look into the blacksmith’s forge:
The flame blazes, the iron’s red;
Locks unfasten open-mouthed,
Every chain’s link springing wide.
Speak, a little time suffices
Before the tongue, the body die.
Speak, the truth is still alive;
Speak: say what you have to say.


The original Urdu version is here:


bol ki lab aazaad hai.n tere
bol zabaa.N ab tak terii hai
teraa sutawaa.N jism hai teraa
bol ki jaa.N ab tak terii hai
dekh ke aaha.ngar kii dukaa.N me.n
tu.nd hai.n shole surKh hai aahan
khulane lage quffalo.n ke dahaane
phailaa har ek zanjiir kaa daaman
bol ye tho.Daa waqt bahot hai
jism-o-zabaa.N kii maut se pahale
bol ki sach zi.ndaa hai ab tak
bol jo kuchh kahane hai kah le

Watch this video for a rendition by Tina Sani.

*Yasmin Hosain has been an academic, translator and broadcaster and was also an Associate of Newnham College, Cambridge.


Filed under Democracy, Literature, Media, Pakistan, poetry, Urdu

4 responses to “Speak, for your lips are yet free (Faiz)

  1. Aisha Sarwari

    This poetry and the way it was sung by Tina Sani was singlehandedly responsible for defining my image as a Pakistani, Particularly its backdrop in the PTV drama Tapish in which Shafi Muhammad aslo played a key role. Its sad that he passed away yesterday.

    Tapish is recomended vieweing for anyone who wants to understand the importance of truth in a despotic regime.

  2. Aisha

    Yes I agree with you wholeheartedly. I loved Tapish as well – it was very well made. For years I have looked for its DVD but never found it.

    thanks for reminding it.

    Why not send a contribution on Tapish – just to re-live the experience


    Raza Rumi

  3. Speak, a little time suffices
    Before the tongue, the body die.

    These words alone tell the fact that Urdu literature can never be even matched at any scale by even its translation, albeit how aesthetically done.

  4. Faiza Alvi

    In the darker days of emergency, WWW has once again proved a beaconhouse for me. Not only can I remain uptodate with the news from disparate sites, but also can read articles and views on the blogs like this.

    To contribute my little share to raise awareness, I would like to share a link, where if you want you could watch GEO New on web, even with an average bandwidth.