25th Death Anniversary: Faiz Ahmed Faiz

Posted on November 20, 2009
Filed Under >Adil Najam, People, Poetry
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Adil Najam

Today is the 25th death anniversary of Faiz Ahmed Faiz. Maybe we can remember him by sharing the verses from him that are most moving for us.

Pakistaniat readers are well aware of the aqeedat ATP has for Faiz Ahmed Faiz. Indeed, in some ways ATP started with a tribute to him and to the everlasting power of his words.

I think when we started this site my sentiment was “aaj baazar meiN pabajolaaN challo.” Today, more than three years later I find myself still engrossed in the same poem; but, maybe a little further into it, sometimes feeling like “phir humm he qatl ho ayeeN yaaro, challo.”

But that may just be the mood of the moment. What, in Faiz, are you thinking of dear readers. Share your favorite Faiz verse with us, please, and tell us what moves you about it.

Meanwhile, to get you rolling, let me repost from an earlier post I had done back in 2007 to mark Faiz Sahib’s birthday. In it I had highlighted a few of his works (including in his own voice) that were my particular favorites. Maybe, these will spur you into identifying yours:

It is always amazing that no matter what the issue, Faiz always has something to say that is not only relevant but revalationary (often it is also revolutionary).

Something that helps us express what we really feel but are unable to articulate. Something that helps us explain what we could not understand. Something that forces us to confront what we would much rather ignore. Something that rises above our fears and speaks to our hopes.

What, then, can one say about Faiz and Pakistaniat that Faiz Sahib has not said himself:

Nisar mein teri galiyoun pay aye watan kay jahaN
Chali hai rasm kay koee na sar uTha kay chalay
Jo koee chahnay waala tawaaf ko niklay
Nazar jhuka kay chalay, jism o jaaN bacha kay chalay

As always, I can offer no better tribute to Faiz Sahib than his very own words. So, here is my very own Faiz Mela for you. A selection of poetry from Faiz that has and continues to inspire me. Poetry that assumes new meaning every time I hear it. Poetry that speaks directly to the state of my existence, to the nuances of my aspirations, and to the core of my convictions.
First, these three poems, presented here in Faiz’s own voice, each of which is as much a credo for this blog as hum daikhain gay:

Nisar mein teri galiyoun pay…
[audio:http://lcweb2.loc.gov/mbrs/master/salrp/082 06.mp3]

Aaj baazar mein pa-bajoulaN chalo…
[audio:http://lcweb2.loc.gov/mbrs/master/salrp/082 14.mp3]

[audio:http://lcweb2.loc.gov/mbrs/master/salrp/082 05.mp3]

A fourth poem that I would have added to this list is Intisaab. It has been most beautifully sung by Nayarra Noor, and I recently stumbled on this wonderful video based on part of that poem (I wish it had used the entire poem):

Along with Nayarra Noor, Tina Sani is someone who sings Faiz with a heartfelt passion and understanding; both, of course, are at their best when singing Faiz nazms composed by Arshad Mahmood. There are many Tina Sani renditions that are worth celebrating, but here is a relatively new one – on the poem mairay dil mairay musafir – which like everything above seems to speak personally to me (and to so many others). For those of us who are living in diyar-i-ghair, this is a particularly pertinent poem which is sung particularly well:

Of course, no Faiz Mela can conclude without Iqbal Bano singing Hum Daikhain Gay. Long-time readers of this blog know that ATP and its notion of Pakistaniat (also here) is inspired by Faiz and by this particular tarana of Pakistaniat. Our very first post was based on my own amatuerish effort to visualize that vision, and probably no one except Jinnah has been quoted more often at ATP than Faiz Ahmad Faiz. I have posted it a number of times since then. Let me please do so again. This time, not as much for my visualization as for Iqbal Bano’s wonderful rendition.

Yes, Lazim Hai Kay Hum Bhi Daikhain Gay:

47 responses to “25th Death Anniversary: Faiz Ahmed Faiz”

  1. Naveed Abbas says:

    Vintage Faiz!

  2. Shahran says:

    Great post.

    Here is a very interesting column on Faiz Ahmed Faiz written by Ibne Insha and


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