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)
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.