This is a short post connected to Faiz’s death anniversary. As most of you are aware I consider Faiz not Iqbal to be the national poet of Pakistan. The contribution of Faiz Ahmed Faiz to Pakistan right from the inception of the new nation is second to none.
Yet crooks on the right and the left have a habit of lying about Faiz Ahmed Faiz. Both these groups claim – quite inaccurately – that Faiz Ahmed Faiz was implacably opposed to the creation of Pakistan, quoting his “Subh-e-Azadi” as evidence. Subh-e-Azadi, written some time after partition and not on the night of independence as some geniuses would have us believe, was written not as much about partition as it was about the meaninglessness of independence which did not bring about a socially just and egalitarian order which was the cornerstone of Faiz Ahmed Faiz’s politics.
In an article today, the Express Tribune falsely claimed that Faiz Ahmed Faiz took over as editor of the Pakistan Times after independence. Nothing can be farther from the truth. Faiz Ahmed Faiz, being a committed member of the left and under instructions from Communist Party of India which supported the Paksitan Movement, had become the editor of the Pakistan Times in January 1947 when Iftikharuddin founded it with Jinnah’s patronage. Pakistan Times- a mouthpiece of the resurgent left within the Muslim League- was instrumental in bringing down the Khizer ministry and Faiz’s editorials show the remarkable patriotism of the man in the closing stages of the Pakistan Movement. It is also forgotten that Faiz Ahmed Faiz and M D Taseer were part of the three member negotiating team sent by Quaid-e-Azam to Kashmir to convince the Maharaja to accede to Pakistan.
While the geniuses at Express Tribune mentioned – rightly – Faiz Ahmed Faiz’s touching editorial “Long Live Gandhiji”, for some reason Faiz Ahmed Faiz’s more relevant tribute to Quaid-e-Azam Mahomed Ali Jinnah on his demise has been omitted:
13 September 1948
The Qaid-i-Azam has passed away, after long years of toil and sacrifice and service in the cause of his people, his frail body has at last been gathered unto rest and his soul called back to the abode of eternal blessed. No name in the history of Indian Muslims has been loved and acclaimed as the name Mohammad Ali Jinnah.
No man in living memory evoked such unquestionable loyalty, such unqualified devotion, such unbounded faith, for the one-time oppressed, rejected and broken Muslim nation, Mohammad Ali Jinnah was much more than a political leader. He was the father and the brother, the friend and the counsellor, the guide and confidant, the comrade and leader all combined into one. Millions hopefully whispered his name in hours of anguish and blessed him in moments of joy. For the best portion of his life he carried on his shoulders the burden of all their cares, in his heart the ache of all their sorrows and in his bones the weariness of all their labours. And now he is gone. The nation has been deprived of his love and his wisdom that guided and sustained them, of his leadership that held them so closely together, of his incorruptible rectitude that set the standard for their moral and political conduct.
It is difficult in the shadow of this fateful hour to discourse dispassionately on what consequences his bitterly mourned death will engender for Pakistan and the rest of the sub-continent. The horizon has never been so dark and cloudy as it is today and the people of India and Pakistan have never faced more anxious days than the days we are now passing through. Not only has the social, cultural and economic renaissance that the dawn of freedom was expected to bring not yet materialised but new dangers to national freedom and national happiness have arisen that have to be fought and overcome.
A million homesteads are still drenched in tears for the loss, during the dark and bloody days of a year ago, of whatever was dear to them on this earth, and already the rumblings of fresh trials and new conflicts are audible from a distance. Short-sighted fanaticism and heartless greed are preparing to plunge both the dominions into another suicidal devil-dance and the voice of the common man is getting feebler through exhaustion. Both India and Pakistan need at this time all the wisdom and humanity they can muster to save themselves from the cataclysm that threatens, and it is a cruel irony of history that at precisely this time both countries have been deprived of the two most wisest and most humane men in the sub-continent. Ours is very much the greater and more grievous loss.
We can show no greater devotion to our beloved leader and give no greater proof of our loyalty to his memory than to base our conduct on the pattern that he has immortalized and to conduct ourselves in a manner that accords with his life-long preaching.
From the great grief that envelops the nation today, must emerge a new courage and a new determination to complete the task that the Quaid-i-Azam began, the task of building a free, progressive and secure Pakistan, to restore our people the dignity and happiness for which the Quaid-i-Azam strove, to equip them with all the virtues that the nobility of freedom demands and to rid them of fear, suffering and want that have dogged their lives through the ages.
(Faiz Ahmed Faiz)
So this attempt to alienate Faiz from the mainstream of Pakistan by both the left and right is shameless to say the least.