Lies- right and left- about Faiz Ahmed Faiz

By Yasser Latif Hamdani

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.

9 Comments

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9 responses to “Lies- right and left- about Faiz Ahmed Faiz

  1. I agree with YLH concerning the well-deserved status and overdue eminence of Faiz Ahmed Faiz, RA. In my estimation he is the greatest poet of the XX century as well.

  2. Humanity

    ‘Bury Me Under Your Pavements’ (1953)

    Bury me, my country, under your pavements,
    Where no man now dare walk with head held high,
    Where your true lovers bringing you their homage
    Must go in furtive fear of life or limb;
    For new-style law and order are in use;
    Good men learn, – ‘Stones locked up, and dogs turned loose’

    Your name still cried by a rash zealot few
    Inflames the itching hand of tyranny;
    Villains are judges and usurpers both–
    Who is our advocate, where shall we seek justice?
    But all hours man must spend are somehow spent;
    How do we pass these days of banishment?

    When my cell’s window-slit grows dim, I seem
    To see your hair spangled with starry tinsel;
    When chains grow once more visible, I think
    I see your face sprinkled with dawn’s first rays;
    In fantasies of the changing hours we live,
    Held fast by shadowy gates and towers we live.

    This war is old of tyrants and mankind:
    Their ways not new, nor ours; the fires they kindle
    To scorch us, age by age we turn to flowers;
    Not new our triumph, not new their defeat,
    Against fate therefore we make no complaint,
    Our hearts though exiled from you do not faint.

    Parted today, tomorrow we shall meet —
    And what is one short night of separation?
    Today our enemies’ star is at its zenith–
    But what is their brief week of playing God?
    Those who keep firm their vows to you are proof
    Against the whirling hours, time’s warp and woof.

    F A Faiz translation by V G Kiernan
    ———-
    From Tablet & Pen: Literary Landscape from the Modern Middle East –
    A Words without Borders Anthology edited by Reza Arslan

  3. no-communal

    I couldn’t post anything in the last few days. Has anybody else had this problem?

  4. no-communal

    Oh, I guess it just worked. Sorry for interrupting your dialog on Faiz.

  5. T.S. Bokhari

    Thank you dear YLH:

    “Ham huey, tum huey, Mir huey
    Teri zulfon ke sab aseer huey”

    How people loved Faiz was evidenced during his funeral. There were too many people who wanted to give their shoulder to his coffin. It was therefore decided to let the people stand in two rows by the way leading to the burial pace, about three or four kilometers away and his coffin placed on two long bamboos was virtually slipped away on the arms of the people standing on both sides, every body having satisfaction of participating in lifting his coffin.

    What a great spirit he was! To defile him is like spitting on moon.

  6. amar

    Faiz’s tribute to Jinnah shows that even Faiz could be deceived or could fall into a bout emotional self-deceit.

    Death can cause some irrational emotions of love or grief or something like that. Or one does not want to be seen as criticizing a newly dead man.

    What Faiz writes about Jinnah in this tribute is largely sentimental weakness.

  7. T.S. Bokhari

    @amar

    “What Faiz writes about Jinnah in this tribute is largely sentimental weakness.”

    But how superb and beautiful sentiment it is!

    Excuse me dear your post is also sentimental and I love it for that.

  8. amar

    To T S Bokhari

    How is my post sentimental?

    Pakistanis have fallen into this sher-shayari stuff. They compete with one another in producing and reading (in front of a fawning-swooning wah-wah audience) some pseudo-sensations in urdu that have no reality content in them. I have observed that among muslims in India too. What does all that bring except self-deceit, victim-hood complex and smugness.

  9. T.S. Bokhari

    To amar

    Because you evidently showed soft corner for Faiz for eulogizing Jinnah by calling it sentimental weakness, whereas if there had any body else in his ….sorry loadshedding.