Ghazals of Faiz Ahmed Faiz (At A Performance)

Born in Pakistan in 1911, Faiz Ahmed Faiz is regarded as one of the most famous poets of the Urdu language and his poetry has been translated into many languages, including English, Russian and Balochi. Faiz Ahmed Faiz has also translated works of notable poets from other languages – Mir Gul Khan Nasir and Rasul Gamzatov are the examples.

Faiz Ahmed Faiz had quite a chequered career; he started a branch of Progressive Writers’ Movement; he briefly joined the British Indian Army and was even promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in 1944. After he resigned from the Army, much later he worked in the capacity as Secretary, Pakistan Arts Council. In 1962, he was awarded the Lenin Peace Prize by the Soviet Union. He was also nominated for the Nobel Prize shortly before he passed away in 1984.

Faiz Ahmed Faiz was also the editor of Pakistan Times, and as a distinguished journalist wrote articles for other newspapers and weekly journals during his career. But, he was first a poet and always a poet!

Faiz, as a poet began by writing on the conventional theme of beauty, nature and love. As he evolved, his verse became like a vehicle to bring out the flaws of society. Thus, the lamentations of love and separation got fused with the griefs of human afflictions. The turning away from romance to other realities of life earned him another status from the literary clan.

Ghazal - I

Aayey kuch abr kuch sharab aayey,
Uske baad aayey jo azaab aayey.

Let there be clouds and wine,
After that what calamity befalls, it does not matter.

Bam-e-meena sey mahtab utrey,
dast-e-saqi sey aftaab aayey.

From the roof of the wine decanter, the moon appears,
From the hands of the wine-server the sun comes.

Har rag-e-koon mein phir chiraghan hoen,
Samne phir woh benaqab aayey.

Every blood vein is illuminated with light,
When the beloved takes the veil off her face.

Kar raha tha gham-e-jahan ka hisab,
Aaj tum yaad behisab aayey.

When I was calculating the accounts of afflictions,
I received from the world… you were prominent in my memory.

Faiz ki rah sar-ba-sar manzil,
Hum jahan phunchey kamyaab ayey.

O! Faiz – at every point I reach towards my destination,
It is a goal of victory for me.

Ghazal – II

Gulon mein rang bhare baad-e-naubahaar chale,
Chale bhi aao ke gulshan ka kaarobaar chale.

Bring the flowers to bloom, let the spring breeze blow,
Come, my love, and rouse the garden from its sleep.

Qafas udaas hai yaaro saba se kuchh to kaho,
Kahin to bahr-e-Khuda aaj zikar-e-yaar chale.

Gloom pervades the prison, say something to the breeze,
Someone, for God’s sake, should talk about my love.

Jo ham pe guzri so guzri magar shab-e-hijraan,
Hamaare ashk teri aaqbat sanwaar chale.

How I fared matters not, but O lonesome night,
My tears have ensured your peace, here and beyond.

Maqaam Faiz koi raah mein jacha hi nahin,
Jo kue yaar se nikle to sue daar chale.

My heart, Faiz, could not approve any place en route,
Forced out of my love’s street, I made for the gallows straight.

Ghazal – A ghazal is a short poem in Urdu, rarely of more than a dozen couplets in the same meter. Individually, often, the couplets of the same poem may be heading off to a different stream of thought.

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