Faiz Centenary: The Last Mushaira

Posted on January 22, 2011
Filed Under >Adil Najam, People, Poetry, Politics, Society
28 Comments
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Adil Najam

(Editor’s Note: 2011 marks Faiz Ahmed Faiz’s 100th birthday. We will be carrying a series of posts on Faiz Sahib to mark this centenary).

From the very first post on this blog, the poetry of Faiz Ahmad Faiz has been a beacon of wisdom in which we have sought solace, inspiration and insight into understanding the reality of Pakistan today.

All great poetry, and certainly Faiz’s poetry, has the quality of timelessness. It is great precisely because it does not lose its relevance to the ravages of time. Each generation can find new meaning and new relevance in it. And each can find solace, inspiration and insight into its own context. Unfortunately, in Pakistan’s case, even the context has not changed by much.

The video I am posting today – reportedly, the last recorded Mushaira in which Faiz sahib participated – is a treasure for its own sake. But its value is made all the more great because it can help us understand how best to cope with the avalanche of crises that have been falling upon us in a steady and unending stream. As we sit in a stunned state of shock, trying desperately to make sense of the senseless, here is a voice from the past that not only helps us understand how to deal with the present, but maybe also how to chart a path to the future.

The video takes a few seconds to start, but it is worth the wait. From the very first line – from a recording that must be from the very late 1970s or very early 1980s – Faiz sahib seems to be speaking directly to us and about event happening around us right now:

Iss waqt tou lagta hai, kaheen kuch bhi naheeN hai
Mehtab, na sooraj, na andheera, na saweera

He speaks, as he always speaks, with an acute understanding of the pain of the present, but never in a tone of hopelessness. Faiz Ahmed Faiz is not a hopeless optimist, precisely because he is never without hope and never ready to give up.

Ab bair na ulfat, na koee rabt, na rishta
Apna koee taira, na paraya koee maira

Maana kay yeh sunsaan ghaRi sakht KaRRi hai
Laikin mairay dil, yeh tou faqat ik he ghaRi hai
Himmat karo, kjeenay ko tou ik umr paRRi hai

The message that Faiz always conveys, again in the three poems in this video, is not a message of angry protest. It is a message to staying steadfast to one’s convictions. To respond to adversity with resoluteness. To keep doing – to keep saying (Bol!)– that which we know to be right.

Na tan mein khoon faraham, na ashq aankhouN meiN
Namaz-i-ishq tou wajib hai, bay-wazoo he sahee
Kissi tarah tou jam-aye bazm maikaday waalo
NaheeN jo baada-o-saghar tou Haa-O-hoo he sahee

But the greatest gem in this selection comes right at the very end of this recording. It is not a message of “count your blessings”; it is, instead, the message of “never give up.” It is a verse that has been quoted on our pages often. Once again, we owe it to ourselves to repeat the sentiment. To reinforce it. To remember it.

Halqa kee-aye baithay raho iss shammaa ko yaaro
Kuch rooshni baaqi tou hai, har chand kay kumm hai

Do listen to what Faiz sahib has to say, dear readers. Please. Do listen.

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28 responses to “Faiz Centenary: The Last Mushaira”

  1. Rosheen Ali says:

    Thank you for sharing a beautiful Video! Although Faiz Sahib’s audio recording such as ‘Aa Gayee Fasal-e-Sakoon’ and ‘Aaj Bazaar Main’ are available, above is the only video I have seen so far.

    Besides Faiz Sahib’s own voice, I think Zia Mohyeddin remain the best reciter of Faiz Ahmed Faiz’s poems. Some good selection is available at https://www.thesufi.com/sufimusic/zia-mohyeddin-re ad-faiz-ahmad-faiz.html, which include:

    • Aaj Bazar Mein (0:54)
    • Aaj Ek Harf Ko Phir Dhoondta Phirta Hai Khayal (1:31)
    • Bahar Aaee (1:18)
    • Hum Jo Tareek Rahon Mein (2:13)
    • Do Ishq (3:43)
    • Mata-E-Loho Qalam (0:18)
    • Nisar Main Teri Galiyon Kay (2:42)
    • Poetry (Raat Yun Dil Mein) (0:35)
    • Subah-E-Azadi (2:15)
    • Zindaan Ki Ek Sham (2:14)

  2. Tehelkatv says:

    Ali Sethi talks about Faiz Ahmed faiz and Bulle Shah.
    Feedback would be great
    http://tiny.cc/uht8m

  3. Aymen Zaheer says:

    My Poem “In Remembrance of Faiz Ahmed Faiz Centenary”, I wish to offer a tribute today on his 100 year’s birthday.

    Watch my dedicated video on YouTube.com
    URL Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L0CnFoD3fiE

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