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After years of strug­gle, Pak­istan final­ly gained inde­pen­dence in 1947. The inde­pen­dent press *Pak­istan Times* came soon after, with Faiz Ahmed Faiz as its edi­tor. It was a pro­gres­sive, left-lean­ing news­pa­per mod­eled after the British dailies, with a strong empha­sis on dai­ly reports from nation­al and inter­na­tion­al sources.

In 1951, Faiz was sen­tenced to death and arrest­ed in what is knows as “The Rawalpin­di Con­spir­a­cy Case,” an alleged coup d’é­tat against the gov­ern­ment of Liaquat Ali Khan, the first Prime Min­is­ter of Pak­istan. Faiz was arrest­ed because of his sup­port for Marx­ist, anti-gov­ern­ment ideas, so the gov­ern­ment decid­ed to sen­sor his voice. He was banned from jour­nal­ism for the next four years.

Faiz’s ear­li­er poems had been light­heart­ed and conventional—dealing with the intri­ca­cies of love and heart­break. Locked up in a dark cell, his poems took on a polit­i­cal hue; the fol­low­ing poem, seem­ing­ly about love, should be read from a polit­i­cal perspective.

Below is orig­i­nal trans­la­tion of a poem from his anthol­o­gy titled

نسخہ ہائے وفا

(Leaves of Fidelity)


(The End)

ہیں لبریز آہوں سے ٹھنڈی ہوائیں
اداسی میں ڈوبی ہوئی ہیں گھٹائیں
محبت کی دنیا پہ شام آ چکی ہے
سیہ پوش ہیں زندگی کی فضائیں
مچلتی ہیں سینے میں لاکھ آرزوئیں
تڑپتی ہیں آنکھوں میں لاکھ التجائیں
تغافل کی آغوش میں سو رہے ہیں
تمہارے ستم اور میری وفائیں
مگر پھر بھی اے میرے معصوم قاتل
تمہیں پیار کرتی ہیں میری دعائیں

The bit­ing gusts replete with sighs
The dark clouds drown in sadness
In the world of love, dusk has set
Dark­ness, like ink, spreads

A mil­lion wish­es writhe in my heart
Dreams scin­til­late with pain
Sleep­ing in the embrace of neglect
Your tyran­ny, and my loyalty

But still, my inno­cent murderer
My wish­es still love you.

This post is part of an on-going sto­ry where each week, I write some­thing new about the Pak­si­tani poet, Faiz Ahmed Faiz, along with a trans­la­tion of his poem and cre­ate accom­pa­ny­ing imagery. Please note that this is not a lit­er­al trans­la­tion; the trans­la­tion doesn’t rhyme as it does in Urdu, and some lib­er­ties have been tak­en to bet­ter con­tex­tu­al­ize the poem in the Eng­lish language.

Tagged: Faiz · Faiz Ahmed Faiz · Urdu
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